Travel Log – October 2009

Sunday 25 October 2009

Well, the journal starts here. After a few quiet family drinks last night, it’s now 7am and we are up, getting dressed and checking once again, that we have everything we need.  Off to mum and dad’s for breakfast and then taxi booked to take us to the airport. Can’t wait to get through baggage control, then we can relax (update – how wrong was I?)

Mmmmm….relax and wait for the plane. We checked in (where we were checked in by an Indian guy who was fluent in Polish) and made our way to the exec lounge where we got comfy with a drink and biscuits. Eventually, our flight was flashed up at gate 215 and we dutifully trooped down, got out our boarding cards and began to wait in line…. To be told that we had been wrongly called and the plane was experiencing technical difficulties. We would be delayed and called back later…. Much later it turned out.

We had time to watch Man Utd lose, and then read all of our newspapers, have a meal and do 20 laps of the terminal.

Long story short, seven hours later we boarded. And then the captain dropped the bombshell that we would not be flying tonight and we would have to wait until the next morning – urgh, we were devastated.

A call to Cyprus to check if appointments could be re-arranged (they could) and we were whisked to a hotel for the night. It has been a day of mixed emotions. We started the day excited then had a real treat when everyone clubbed together and bought a bottle of champagne for us to share. After that gesture even the bitter disappointment of the lost flight could not stop us being thankful for having family around us.

MONDAY 26 OCTOBER

Really early start today. Up at 5am and onto the bus by half past. We had been promised an 8.30am flight and at 8.30am our pilot catapulted us skywards and we breathed a sigh of relief.

After the rollercoaster of yesterday we were shattered and soon after take off we discovered that there were empty seats behind us. Mich laid herself out over three seats, put her eye mask on, and her ear plugs on and caught up on some serious snoozing.

The skies twixt Manchester and Paphos treated us to plenty of turbulence but the flight passed largely event free and surprisingly soon we found ourselves stepping out in to the Cypriot sunshine. We have met with the exciting holiday mix of warm humid air and smell that all foreign places seen to share.

We tried to pay attention to the scenery on our transfer ride but we were excited and a little anxious to get to our hotel and knowing that we were booked in safely…relax.

Check in was a breeze, the staff were very friendly and warm, putting us instantly at ease.

The room is fantastic with a sea view and a balcony from which we could enjoy the sights sounds and smells.

We took our little hire car out for a spin and found Paphos harbour.  The area looks very exciting and quite lively. We are looking forward to more exploring.

Dinner was great, good food and lots of choice. After dinner we watched a spectacular thunder storm which eclipsed the evening entertainment which we happily sang along to.  Eventually, we retired to bed, exhausted, relieved and excited about the week ahead.

TUESDAY 27 OCTOBER

Excitement woke us before our alarms and we washed and dressed quickly and went for breakfast…a combination of continental and cooked breakfast was on offer and we took full advantage. Our plan was to meet our wedding organiser Jackie and then representatives from the yacht. We had braced ourselves for a long and tiresome procedure but in fact ten minutes and loads of signatures later we were done and all our legal paperwork was prepared.

Trial hair doos were scheduled and we returned to our hotel to meet the boat people. Once again all went smoothly and it seems that we have been given a number of upgrades free of charge. We finalised arrangements and decided that the afternoon should be spent soaking up the sun.

The beach is small but clearn and sheltered and we settled down into the routine of reading and snoozing, snoozing and reading.

Damian eventually went for a swim in the sea – which was quite warm, and then we enjoyed the feel of the sun on our skin.

After tanning and our fill we got washed and changed and picked up Lisa for the hair trial. Lisa and Michelle ran though some ideas with the stylist… who then told them what he was going to do (and did an incredible job) while Damian went to meet his mum and dad at their hotel.

Late on we had booked a meal in the hotels a-la carte restaurant. It was amazing. We finished the night with a few drinks and trying to get a persistent kitten to understand that it couldn’t sit on Damian’s knee or he would choke.

WEDNESDAY 28 OCTOBER

After a hearty breakfast we collected the picnic that the hotel had prepared for us. We had decided to explore up into the Trodos Mountains and so, guidebook and Mich-nav at the ready, we set off for the highest village in Cyprus.

The three hour drive had everything from dusty scrub to pine forests and even ski resort.

The road twisted and turned up long sections of switchbacks, providing breathtaking views at each corner.

We had no idea that the route would be as spectacular as it was and as we drove we chattered and reflected on the holiday so far and the days to come and the wedding.

On our return we changed and hit the beach where snoozing in the sum was order of the day. After an hour or so the sun was obscured by cloud. So we returned to the poolside and read magazines until it was time to get changed to meet the wedding photographer. One very friendly and chatty meeting later and we were all set and happy that our photos were in safe hands.

After a typically delicious dinner we went to meet mum and dad Z for a coffee and game of cards.

Our relaxation levels had finally caught up with us and by 11pm, we were ready for bed. Night night.

THURSDAY 29 OCTOBER

Today was going to be a fun day. We started with breakfast and then dug out our geocaching gear and set off to pick up Lisa and Craig.

We had brought a travel bug to drop off. Its mission will be to travel to as many weddings as possible on its way back to Manchester.

We picked caches in local places of interest or beauty. The first was at the catacombs outside Paphos. These are a series of caves outside of Paphos which were used as a burial chamber.

The second was on the beach with a view to a ship that ran a ground and has been left to rust. It was here that we set off our travel bug and we are looking forward to watching its adventures. The final cache was in Lemba. This cache had interested us as Eva had lived locally and had contributed to the “wall of art” at the Art College. We stopped at the college to see the wall and to try to locate Ev’s bit. Unfortunately we didn’t (despite phone calls to Ev for directions)

We found the cache and well pleased we headed back to Paphos. On the way we picked up Ev and Ran who were walking the 10 minutes (yeah right) So with our little car crammed with six, we drove the 15 minutes to Paphos.

After dropping everyone off we headed up to our hotel to make the most of the afternoon before meeting up with everyone in the evening for a pre wedding drink.

Everyone arrived at the bar just before the heavens opened. We spent a pleasant evening chatting and having a drink. It was great to have family and friends around us as we prepared for our wedding day.

FRIDAY 30 OCTOBER – OUR WEDDING DAY

Our day started together. We exchanged gifts and went for breakfast. We both felt emotional and very moved by our gifts but not nervous or worried. In fact, we were excited about our day. We had heard tales of people unable to eat before their wedding due to nerves – not us. A full breakfast later we swung into action.

After breakfast I headed into old Paphos to spend some time with mum and dad. Before I could settle I picked up Janette and Lisa and dropped them at our hotel so they could be pampered and then get ready with Michelle.

I spent an hour with mum and dad chatting and looking forward to the day.  I was still surprised by the absence of nerves. I don’t often get nervy but thought I would feel nervous. Happily not.

I left mum and dad’s hotel and joined Arthur and Craig at theirs. We say and chatted for a while over a beer and then realised we only had 45 minutes until our taxi arrived. Being blokes we were scrubbed, showered and dressed in no time and ready for the taxi. Arthur left to join the girls and we went to the harbour. The relaxed tone of the day continued as guests arrived and we all boarded the Sea Star.

Me and my best man Steve sat in the wheel house and the nerves came – all at once with a million questions flying through my head. What if the official gets the names wrong, or insists on my ring going on my left hand – or the rings get carried off by a seagull (no really!)

Steve was awesome and kept me calm then I was ushered out to take my place as Michelle arrived.

The nerves ended and everything was going to be great. I was about to marry the love of my life in a dream setting, surrounded by my family and best friends – it doesn’t get better than that.

The ceremony was a dream. It all unfolded seamlessly. Michelle looked more stunning than I have ever seen her, and I admit to having tears of pride and sheer joy in my eyes. Michelle smiled at me and (soppy though it sounds) that everything was right. That smile is the brightest memory of the day. It was one of the most expressive smiles ever and in an instant I fell further in love.

It wouldn’t have been our wedding without a lighter moment. As were we signing the registered to the romantic tune “Moon River” another boat pulled up to the wharf – full of tourists and blasting out Zorba the Greek. They quickly shut it off, leaving our laughter.

The lasting impression of the day was smiles. Of our families and friends but for me the best and happiest was my stunning new wife’s smile.