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Thursday 13th June
Cyprus College of Art
The Cyprus College of Art is a small college in the village of Lempa, north of Paphos town. It was founded by British and Cypriot artists in 1969 and is still run by artists today.

One of the main founders of the college was Stass Paraskos, a Cypriot artist whose paintings can be seen in the Byzantine Museum in Nicosia. Stass Paraskos' philosophy is that "creative art is not just confined to the museums, but is a continuous living process".

2nd August: Early Days

We arrived at the art school in Lempa at 1.00 am on 1st August. It was a long journey travelling via Amsterdam. We had left home at 5.00 am on 31st August but had a nine hour delay over flight changes at Heathrow.

Today we started the day at 8.00 trying to find the local supermarket. When we arrived in Cyprus it was almost 90 F and the air conditioning of the supermarket was very welcome.

We spent til midday cooling off in the sea being thrown about by the strong waves, burning our feet on the sand, before returning back to our accommodation for a siesta.

The Art School is set in a beautiful location, surrounded by trees although there are a lot of large insects. The free accommodation at the art school can be described as "rustic" but the outside area is lovely, complete with stone topped table and stone seats which are very cooling and a hammock.

5th August: Daily Routine

The weather is unbelievable: bikinis at midnight and still we are hot. The beaches are fantastic and the sea refreshing.

So far we have been going to town in Paphos about once a day to visit the harbour, banks and use the internet cafe. This is usually followed by a trip to the sea and by then it is usually time for a siesta.

The late afternoon is spent working, drawing and taking photographs or collecting materials. Evenings are spent relaxing, keeping cool, going for drinks and visiting one of the many local tavernas.

6th August: The Tourist Thing

Today we did the whole touristy thing with the college.

Firstly we went to Kourion Museum in Limassol which houses the excavated remains of a community hit by a major earthquake on 21 July AD365. This was followed by visits to the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates to see the remains of the temple and Kolossi Castle. We finished the day visiting the Rock of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, where we swam in the surrounding sea.

All in all, a jam packed hot day spent in a rickety Cypriot bus with a driver who spoke little English - but brilliant fun was had by all.

8 August: Getting Hotter

We spent the last couple of days finding a hotel for our last week in Paphos when we do not have any accommodation. We found a surprisingly cheap hotel, the Apollo, which is very close to the town and has a swimming pool.

Today we went for our usual swim and walk and I took photographs for my work. It was very hot and difficult to walk for long in the heat. It is hard to believe but we have found out that Cyprus is entering a heatwave - as if it could get much hotter!!

10th August: Sight-Seeing

The plan for today was a trip to the north coast to swim and visit a monastery along the way. The monastery is set in a hillside and is a spectacular sight. We had to take extra clothes to cover ourselves when we went inside.

After leaving the monastery we drove to a small town called Polis and on to the Grove of Aphrodite, a small grotto where the goddess of love and beauty is said to have bathed. We had a reasonably short but steep walk to the grotto which was was not big enough for swimming! However nearby we found a beach path down to a spectacularly clear cove and spent the rest of the day swimming and cooling off from the heat before returning to the art school.

17th August: Working

This week I have been mainly taking photographs and making sketches for my college work. I have also attended slide shows organised by the college.

As well as visiting the beach we have been going to Paphos to email friends and family and this week watching the football matches in the bars.

18th August: The Beach Party

We heard about a beach party on the Lighthouse beach in Paphos. We had an amazing night. There was a bar on the beach front, canopies covering dance areas, a DJ in the lifeguard tower and red lights on the sea. People were swimming and dancing barefoot on the sand until well into the morning.

We left the beach - early in the morning or late at night - crushing six of us into a four-seater cab. We must have found the only Cypriot taxi driver who does not feel that it is necessary to drive at 70 mph on country lanes.

We had a fantastic and memorable night, an experience guaranteed not to be had in England, or at least not in the same weather conditions.

20th August: Thinking Back

Many people here are entering their last week but we are lucky enough to have another week. It is strange that people are starting to leave. On the one hand it seems like an eternity since we arrived here and on the other, it seems like yesterday that we faced the daunting prospect of living in Cyprus for five weeks.

In our time here we have learnt a lot about the island, its history, people and culture - and I have actually managed to do quite a lot of work (apart from my written dissertation!!). We have also made a lot of new friends with whom we have shared a once in a lifetime experience.

This adventure may not be everyone's cup of tea with outside toilets and cold showers; more ants than you can count and a 1 km uphill walk to our accommodation but most of us have found that we hold Cyprus very dear to us and would not exchange this time for the world .... although, at this moment, quite possibly for a warm shower and air conditioning.

26th August: Nicosia

We spent a day on a coach trip to Nicosia (a three hour drive) spending four hours in the town. Nicosia is a divided capital city - the division of Nicosia between the Greek and Turkish communities took place in 1963.

We visited the wall and the old part of the town and climbed the Observatory Tower for a bird's eye view of the city.

The weather peaked at 103 F although we were told it was not the hottest day that the city has seen.

Nicosia is very different from Paphos and not so geared towards tourists. We could eat in cafes and restaurants not specially designed with tourists in mind. A fantastic glimpse of the real Cyprus which is definitely worth the effort of a day trip - even if you have to bear the arctic-like air conditioning on the coaches.

1st September 2001: England 5 - Germany 1

This is our last week and we are staying in the Apollo Hotel in Paphos. We are the only ones left from the August summer school and are spending our time relaxing by the pool and visiting our favourite places such as Timothy's Art and Bar - an interesting bar full of black and white photographs in a place much akin to someone's house in a small, dark, back-alley near the old town.

The other highlight we have been looking forward to for weeks is the football. There is nothing as sure as English people abroad becoming ridiculously patriotic when there is the prospect of England playing an international match.

We went to the Rose, a bar with a large screen tv, and watched from outside as the pub was crammed to bursting point with people spilling onto the street: people were even sitting on cars and tour buses en route to the airport were stopping to find out the score.

We all watched in desperation as the German goal went in - the mood turning to jubilation as Michael Owen scored the first goal for England. The place shook - "Three Lions on a Shirt" blaring out; people jumping up and down and pints spilling everywhere. We would have been content with a mere 2-1 win but not the England Squad - they battled on - a hat-trick for Owen and an unbelievable 5-1 victory for England against Germany.

The place erupted and celebratory drinks were consumed well into the night watching the re-runs and commentary with sporadic cheers and a general sense of elation.

3 September: Going Home

We spent our final morning by the pool as we are checking out on the 4th and returning home after five weeks.

In the afternoon we looked around the Tomb of the Kings exploring all the underground structures and having a really enjoyable time. Tomorrow we face the journey home and the prospect of cold weather, but it will be good to be home.



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