Thursday, 17 December 2015

Trip to Paphos, Part 3 - A Christmas Surprise!

After our trip to Paphos Zoo, and the dinner and general amazement in the mall we were just about ready for the drive home when we were asked by a festive looking member of staff if we wanted to see the fairy tales.  At our slightly bemused expressions she said 'It's free,  take your children, it's just outside'

Still being none the wiser, but encouraged by the fact that whatever we were going to see would be free we wandered outside the main entrance of the mall.

The boys were then distracted by the lights, and the comment from Louka was brilliant...

'This is quite interesting Mummy'

They got even more interesting....

Then we discovered what the fairy tales were all about,

A magical display of fairytales, which was one of the most impressive things I've seen in all the years I've been in Cyprus!

It was like stepping into a fairytale world as you entered through the curtained doorway with its dark walkway illuminated with twinkling fairy lights.

There were moving scenes from Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, The Ice Queen, Alice and Wonderland and more.

We stopped as we went round to read each story excerpt on a sign below each display, with me reading the Greek to Leo and him translating it to us perfectly.

I was so impressed, it was a lovely thing to see, and for Cyprus absolutely amazing!  It's pretty much unheard of for something to be this impressive AND free!

We left the fairytales, and I got the boys to pose for a photo underneath a giant toadstool, (as you do!)

As we started to walk to the car, Leo said how brilliant it had been and asked me ever so nicely if we could go in again.

I got the look again as I said 'Yeah, come on then', the look of surprise as he clearly had expected me to say no!.

'Thank you Mummy, Thank you!' was the excited reply!

It turns out it was just at the Paphos Mall for a few days and so we timed it perfectly,  it is now in Nicosia Mall until 13th December, and then in Limassol from the 17th December until the 3rd January, from 2pm until 9pm each day.

It was called 'Christmas Magic' and was created by Gevorest Cyprus, which I've now discovered are a Cypriot bed and mattress manufacturer.

Well done Gevorest, and thank you for this unexpected magical end to our perfect day out!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Trip to Paphos - Part 2, Let's go to the mall!

Last month we finally took a trip to Paphos after 6 years of living in Cyprus and took the boys to the zoo. It really was a fantastic day out, and as such I couldn't fit it all into just one blog post!

The second part is actually the bit that I most wanted to write about, the bit that made the day the most memorable for me in some ways and also made me realise how different my boys lives are to mine as a child.

We decided to stop for dinner after leaving the zoo, and I optimistically suggested going to Kings Avenue Mall.  For someone who once felt my heart sink every time I drove into Bluewater Shopping Centre in what now feels like someone else's life,  the idea of going to a mall is stupidly exciting! There are only 3 malls in Cyprus, one in the capital, Nicosia to which I have been (never with the boys) maybe 4 or 5 times in 6 years, one in Limassol (which I have been to once when Leo was a baby) and the one in Paphos. 

I didn't think for a second that it would be a fun idea with the kids, I thought they would moan for a playground or want to buy everything they saw but I was very wrong!

The reactions and comments from the pair of them were absolutely priceless and I hadn't realised that they had lived in such a different world.  It started as we drove into the car park, a multi level basement one underneath the mall.  As we entered Leo exclaimed 'Woah this is SO cool',  at first I thought he was somehow being sarcastic but I turned round to see that he was genuinely amazed and impressed at this car park!

Having never been before Aaron drove around the busy car park deciding where best to try and park, I quietly asked him to drive to the lower level even if he didn't need to. He gave me the 'look'  but did as I asked. It was more than worth it as Leo couldn't believe it!

Everything amazed him, with Louka copying his comments and getting caught up in his excitement, and I mean everything - the shiny floor with the different colours for different parking bays, the signs, the lifts and the best thing of all..... the moving walkway to take you up to ground level!

Well, as you can imagine, if the car park made such an impression the mall was a huge hit with them!

We had timed it well, as the Christmas decorations were already up and of course this added to the excitement as it was the first they had seen this year.  

You couldn't help but share their excitement as they shouted (yep, so every passerby could hear our poor deprived children who have never been shopping) 'WOW ITS THE BIGGEST TREE EVER'

There were some great decorations, but I only managed one photo, enjoying their amazement rather than taking photos of a mall - which I sure you can imagine well enough. 

I hesitated briefly as we approached a toy shop, wondering if it would cause huge tantrums when we refused them presents but I remembered the fun of going to them with my Dad and wishing for the amazing toys to be my own, and I decided to take them in. 

To my amazement they were both fine, even Louka who is not quite old enough to really understand.  I explained that we were just looking, not buying but maybe they could get some ideas of what they might hope to get for Christmas (hoping we wouldn't have to go back to Paphos to buy it!) 

Although we chickened out of going in any other shops (the day was going too well to make the boys bored while we looked at stuff, and we didn't have money for shopping!) I was happy just wandering along window shopping and marvelling at the fact I was in an actual shopping centre!

We stopped for pizza for dinner, which also went surprisingly well.  Of course there was moaning about being hungry while it was cooking, and lots of requests from us to sit down, stop fighting and be quiet but we have had considerably worse restaurant experiences!

After dinner, we stopped for the obligatory toilet trip at which point I realised they had never been in public toilets with more then 2 or 3 toilets! With wide eyes Louka counted the cubicles in amazement, while Leo played with automatic taps.  They rushed back out to Aaron with their tales of the amazing toilets!

I couldn't believe how new and amazing it all was to them, to think that if we lived in England that all this stuff would be as normal as getting dressed.  How many times would they both have been to Bluewater, Lakeside or the high street shops in our old home town had we not have moved here, they'd have never have known any different, never been impressed by a row of toilets or an escalator. 

And how much is it going to blow their mind when we ever get round to taking them for a trip to England!

Monday, 7 December 2015

The Christmas fun begins...

T'is the season to be jolly - and I declare that the season has started!

We have now been in Cyprus 6 years, and it's been just over 6 years since Leo was born, meaning that our family Christmas traditions started here in Cyprus.  I wouldn't want to go to England for Christmas now as it just wouldn't seem right!

For most people there is a thing or a moment that suddenly makes them declare 'Now it feels like Christmas!'  it might be the first Christmas advert (although in England that is stupidly early so maybe not!)   or the first Christmas card hitting the mat, or the tree going up,   or in Aaron's case getting up on Christmas morning!

I would imagine that for many expats it doesn't feel like Christmas until they go 'home', until the temperature is way below 20 degrees, but last year the 'Christmas moment' hit me as I walked into the square in Agia Napa for the traditional lights switch on.

I had decided not to go this year at first but after seeing so many posts about it on facebook and the fact I wasn't actually doing anything else I had a last minute change of heart and decided to go.

It was worth it, yes it was busy, yes the pushing and shoving for Santa was crazy but that's part of the fun surely!

The boys enjoyed it, they had fun playing in the playground with their friends and enjoyed the atmosphere even if they weren't particularly fussed about what was going on on the stage.  I drank some free wine,  had a chat to my friends, and listened to Christmas music - what's not to like!

I had warned Leo that we would not meet Santa as I couldn't stand to fight through the crowd which pushes and shoves their way to get a free present, after a while they run out and change to giving out Santa hats so I was not about to stand in the scrum holding Louka who is now very heavy and trying to make sure the Leo didn't get squashed when we have tons of them already! 

Leo was perfectly happy when I explained and enjoyed seeing his friends and watching the dancing on the stage. Louka was interested in the lights at first and then nothing could tear his attention from the play area!

It may have been November still, but it was a good start!

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