Cyprus Village Life
There are no trains, crowds, or food stands. You won’t find any of these signature city attributes in a Cypriot village. The average traveler visits the popular attractions of a destination, soaking in local culture and history, but rarely engages with the true personality of the area. Cyprus is certainly not the exception because when you visit the city of Limassol you’ll find the promenade, the water park, and the ancient ruins, but will you truly understand what Cyprus has to offer?
My parents, who grew up in Cyprus, were raised during a time when villages still operated as fully functional societies. Each village had a school, a doctor, a church, and market, so everyone was able to meet their needs without having to travel to another village. My grandmother lived in one village her entire life and only left once when she was married and another time when she visited us in the United States.
During my visit to Cyprus, I had an amazing time living the simple life in a tiny village named Tris Elies. The day would begin with a breakfast consisting of cereal, eggs, fruit, and halloumi If you’re not familiar, halloumi is a wonderful cheese that does not melt when fried, creating a deliciously unique dining experience. After, breakfast, my family and I would venture down to my grandfather’s coffee shop. Since most of Cyprus consists of mountainous terrain, walking to the coffee shop from the house was always an adventure. The roads were narrow and the cement was patch worked together over dozens of years by local village dwellers. Beautiful grape vines grew everywhere from any crevice or crack in the cement, crawling up walls and over awnings.
The coffee shop was the center of village recreational life. During my visit, anyone who lived in Tris Elies was retired so for most, the coffee shop was where much of the day was spent. Everyone who visited was brimming with interesting stories and wonderful personalities. The coffee shop bred a friendly atmosphere were everyone was relaxed and looked forward to chatting with their neighbors. In addition to talking, time was passed playing backgammon and poker. There’s nothing like spending an entire day playing backgammon with a few friendly guys while they sharing entertaining stories from their pasts.
Memories and Changes
Even though I visited the village for just a few months, I created many fond memories of my own. A man by the name of Anixagoras became very good friends with my brother Paul during our short stay. They would meet each other every night for a walk around the mountains and then sit and talk in the coffee shop for some time. Before one of their walks, Anixagoras offered my brother a piece of chocolate. My brother thought the chocolate looked a little odd so he took it to my grandfather who said it was perfectly okay to eat. My brother tasted the ‘chocolate’ and immediately fled to the nearest sink. After witnessing this, my grandfather took a taste forcing him into a similar situation. As it turned out, the infamous candy was in fact, a cube of chicken bouillon and the reason why Anixagoras made such a mistake was because he was 92 years old and nearly blind.
Cyprus is a rapidly changing country shifting from a dominant rural village structure to an urban cityscape. Currently, we are witnessing an exciting change which will allow everyone to get a better idea of what village life in Cyprus is like. With the aging of the last generation of village dwellers, developers are being invited to renovate homes and upgrade transportation systems to create the authentic village experience for all. Hopefully, within the next ten to fifteen years, Cyprus will be the place to be when you want to sit down at a pleasant coffee shop, play a game of backgammon, and relax the day away.