Our holiday in Cyprus, and a cruise to Egypt to see the Pyramids.
We stayed at the Arsinoe Beach Hotel in April 2001. The hotel is in the Amalthus area of Limassol, which is at the far end of the tourist area. It was a bit quieter than we expected, with just a few bars shops and hotels nearby. The centre of the tourist area was about ten minutes away by local bus, and was much livelier. Limassol town centre was a further ten minutes bus ride beyond that.
First impressions were a bit misleading – one of the letters had fallen off the hotel sign at the front (fawlty towers style), and the waiter for our first meal could only say “beef or chicken?”. The sign was fixed by the next day though, and the meals had more variety through the week – some evenings were waiter service from a limited selection of main dishes, and other evenings were self-service buffets. Breakfast was self-service, and we were able to sit outside near the swimming pool to eat.
The hotel has been refitted to a reasonable standard – we had air conditioning in our room, and a balcony with a sea view. Satellite TV is standard, but we couldn’t find any channels broadcasting in English. Mini fridges can be hired for a small weekly charge. There are two outdoor swimming pools; the original rectangular one in an enclosed courtyard, and a newer freeform one in the hotel’s rear gardens, complete with children’s paddling pool, waterfalls, fountain and a bridge. The indoor pool has been incorporated into a health club with a well equipped gym, sauna and beauty treatments. It seemed a bit dark and gloomy, so we stayed outside.
We made our own way to Kourion, a Roman site on the other side of Limassol. The bus service from Limassol centre took about 45 mins, and was full of locals, boxes of chickens, etc. The site at Kourion features a small amphitheatre which is still used for occasional theatre productions, and various other ruins. Watch the timetable – buses go to Kourion every hour, but only come back every three hours (no, I couldn’t figure it out either!), so we ended up walking to Episkopi the nearest village for an ice cream and some shade.
Cruise to Egypt
As part of our holiday in Cyprus we arranged to take a two day cruise to Egypt, to see the pyramids at Giza and the treasures of Tutankhamun at the Cairo Museum. We sailed on the Princessa Marissa from Limassol to Port Said, then by coach to Cairo. Take a look at the pictures on our Egypt page.
We went to Cyprus so we could do Egypt on the cheap ! Apparently kids have to be twelve to appreciate the Nile cruise, so a three day excursion to the pyramids seemed to be the best solution. The tour arranged through our travel rep would have been ridiculously expensive (around £500-£600 if my memory serves me). I had already done some research on the net before we went, and we arranged the trip through a local agent for £280 (2 adults, 2 kids). This included coach transfers to and from the hotel, and the coach excursion to Giza. We only had to pay for booze on the boat, and the inevitable souvenirs!
Some useful links…