I’m faced with the same dilemma every year around early September. Deciding upon a holiday destination is one of the tougher decisions I’ll make all year. Yes, I am ridiculous, but I can’t help it, I want that perfect holiday. For one month of the year (October) I can get let go and just do whatever I want to do. No routines, no diets, no set training sessions or places to be, nothing, nada, a bit of freedom you could say. So when I’m trying to plan that “perfect” holiday, I definitely feel the pressure not to disappoint my roommate, best friend, life partner (joking) Carlee. I’m the planner in this household, so most of the responsibility rests on my shoulders. You may ask why? Well last year for our 10 day Greek holiday (dubbed “Our big fat Greek holiday”) Carlee had one job to do for the whole holiday as I had booked and organized everything else. Choose a hotel in Athens for 3 nights that is central. Well Carlee picked a cracker of a hotel. You know when you’re driving in a cab through a dodgy neighbourhood and you want to reach over and lock the doors, not make eye contact with anyone, and then your cab driver reaches over and double checks you got the address right? Yep, Carlee picked that hotel in possibly one of the dodgiest areas in down town Athens. So much so the cab driver told us not to wonder out too late, and to be safe. Our Hotel was right next door to a brothel. Pretty sure most people staying in our hotel were paying an hourly rate. But hey, no one’s perfect, it’s not like we were spending all day there, it’s just a place to sleep, so I shrugged it off. Next I pull up Google maps to see just how far we were from the Acropolis. Remember how I said pick somewhere close? Well our hotel probably couldn’t even be classified Athens the walk was so long. On the plus side, I got fit in 3 days with all the “hiking”. So this is why I plan the holiday, to avoid being drawn into a brothel ring, even though a little cash on the side is always handy (again, joking).
In all my years of travelling (I sound so old, wise and well-travelled), the “Aussie card” is always a good one to have in your hand. I’m now going to sound slightly arrogant (so Aussie right?); however it is of my opinion that, most nations I’ve travelled to around the world love Australia, so they have a love of the people too. People hear the accent and if they can’t quite place it at first, once you speak those words “Oh I’m from Australia”, you will get any one of these responses, sometimes all of them. “Australia! The land down under, why don’t you throw another shrimp on the barbie, do you ride kangaroos to school, you travelled all the way from Australia…how long did that take you! “I’ve always wanted to visit Australia, but it’s just too far away”. Ok I’m taking the piss a bit now, and really, it is mainly Americans that would ask these sorts of questions. I must admit I do play up on it a bit, particularly because I have a gnarly scar on my left elbow that looks like I was bitten by a shark. The story is believable, trust me. When travelling with Carlee I become the translator. It must be her South Aussie twang because generally no one understands her. There is a constant look of confusion in the eyes of the check in lady, taxi driver, the waitress talking our order. I see the “look”, the squinting of the eyes trying to read Carlee’s lips, hoping that maybe they can make out the words better. Being South African born and living with my South African parents my Aussie accent is perhaps slightly different. I always joke and say I’m a well-spoken Australian. If they then can’t understand either of us, then it’s the old smile, point, and smile again, mouthing thank you, which in Greek is “Efharisto”.
I’m on a boat- (Girl photo bombing in background is in fact posing. I believe this was pose number 635, wardrobe change 7)
So this year I settled on Cyprus for a few reasons. I originally wanted to visit Turkey, however over protective parents and friends strongly advised against it due to what’s happening currently. So what’s close to Turkey with a Turkish influence in its culture? History has always been a favourite subject of mine, particularly ancient, and Cyprus has quite the history, both modern and ancient (here’s a small article on what’s going on in Cyprus http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17217956). Carlee is not so much of a history buff, she wants a holiday with sun, surf and sand (side note* I live on the Gold Coast in Australia, I can have my sun, surf and sand any day of the week), and I’m all about compromise. Lying on a beach doing nothing is something I cannot and will not do. It turned out Cyprus had everything we were looking for, history, culture, adventure, beautiful beaches, and of course endless sunshine. We had found that perfect holiday destination!
Quad biking- saving a local. He challenged me to a quad bike race. I put him in cliff side, he fell, I won.
Our holiday didn’t disappoint, although sadly we didn’t stay in a hotel situated in the brothel district of Cyprus this year. Instead Carlee got to experience my unique dancing skills that scored us free drinks. It was an action packed week from the get go with cliff jumping, quad biking, kayaking, fly fishing (not the type of fly fishing you’re thinking of), snorkelling, epic hikes (I dragged poor Carlee on), karaoke, dancing (earning our drinks from our dancing skills), and a boat trip (*insert “I’m on a boat”, and yeah we did video ourselves singing it, much to the displeasure of the other passengers”).
With only a couple of weeks left off the bike for me, I’ll be chilling out in Girona, trying to recover from our adventures in Cyprus, all before heading to Barcelona to kick on the off-season celebrations with the OC crew. Another story, for another time, and no doubt it will be epic.
Words: Loren Rowney