Friday, August 05, 2011

The Tale of the Cypriot cats

First time we drove around Akrotiri peninsula was a few weeks ago. It's a quite weird place if I may say, but in a positive way. A twilight positive way.

There's the unusual nature, so fascinating with all the green such as the large pine tree avenues, a huge salt lake, a desert like area used for rally, and the popular Ladys Miles beach. Then, as it is British base area, there's all kinds of impressive military things and a lot of huge planes lifting and landing that are mostly erased from Google earth and forbidden to photograph. So I won't go into detail on these things here.

Also there's some historical stuff, for example the Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats, which I've been curious to visit for years. Behind it is the tale of the special Cypriot cats Cyprus shorthair.
For me it all started with my uncle in Limassol who always used to attract the neighbour cats through calling for them with a 'ts ts' or tapping with his foot on the ground. From the shadows they immediately emerged and where prancing around him while he was stroking them with his foot.

He called these tiny skinny cats with their characteristic Egyptian style profile 'his cats'. During summers while we where staying with his family they where also 'our cats', especially the kittens.

Eventually I heard the story of how these ravishing cats arrived to the island, brought by some prominent person a long time ago from Egypt. This story has been dwelling in my mind ever since.

So this day we finally got to visit the monastery, which today appeared to be a nunnery with a church containing beautiful icons, fabulous colonades and of course plenty of cats. Nothing spectacular but still interesting.
This afternoon we continued to the popular Lady's Miles Beach where practically every Limassolian seem to be hanging out during weekends. Some people are getting there by boat, some are bringing pavillions and chairs, others are more focused on water sporting. We had a date with my dear cousin with family, the daugther of my cat-loving uncle, and had a lovely time together chilling out.

At sunset we headed to the parking to start our drive back home when this colourful ice-cream car drove to where we where standing. Could we say no to the kids? Well they had some softies while we chatted with this super enthusiastic elderly Brittish man. He was almost surreal. In a twilight way.

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