After a hectic month at the school, I felt I needed a break before starting to mark final exam papers, writing final reports and doing some more extra lessons for my Cambridge ESOL students in June. As you may know, I am incurably in love with Protaras. It's like a magic spell I'm unable to resist to. This is where you can enjoy some of the best sunkissed sandy beaches in the Mediterranean Sea. I've travelled a lot to Greece and to many other European countries but never have I come across more beautiful beaches or such crystal clear blue waters as in Protaras. Protaras has been my haven of peace and the ideal place to relax for the last 28 years.
Since 1985, I've always stayed at the Golden Coast Beach Hotel - actually since it was built! And I'll certainly never change it for any other hotel in the area. Alkis and I had a lovely time there despite the fact that Alkis had to attend an important meeting at work on Saturday morning. On Friday evening, we had dinner at Koi Restaurant. I love sushi and sashimi, so I had an assortment of sashimi together with nigiri, maki and temaki sushi - 16 pieces in all. Alkis, who is allergic to fish, had a chicken curry which he said was just as delicious.
On Saturday night, we went to a traditional local taverna in Paralimni - Ttappis Tavern - which serves excellent local meze. We were unable to finish all the dishes but we tried a little bit of everything and loved the homemade red wine.
Protaras is a magical resort, a pole of attraction for many tourists who come to spend a holiday there from all over Europe. For me it's simply my favourite haven of peace and an ideal resort to spend a weekend away at about 61 km from home.
By Time Out editors
Agritourism is a growing trend on the island, but it hasn’t yet caught up to the high visitor numbers the coastal resorts attract. Consequently, a holiday in the Troodos Mountains is recommended for anyone in search of a laid-back break beneath the shade of cedars and pines, interspersed with walking, cycling or sightseeing. Make your base a restored traditional house such as the charming and eco-conscious Spitiko tou Archonta (which also offers Cypriot cooking demonstrations), and look forward to languid days exploring sleepy villages and the many fantastically frescoed Byzantine churches scattered across the slopes. Notable examples include Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis near the picturesque village of Kakopetria. Housed beneath the steep-pitched, tiled roof typical of churches in the region, this eleventh-century monastery church has snagged perhaps the most enchanting setting of all the religious buildings in the area, perched high in a lush glade beside the gurgling Karyatis river. Church-going is rarely this scenic.
See all venues in the Troodos Mountains
With Agia Napa’s heyday as the clubbing destination of choice a more distant memory every year, a new breed of fairweather going-out options is vying for the crown. Lemesos is making a name for itself with its sophisticated beach bars, most of which have replaced run-down, soulless pubs along the main drag of Germasogeia.
Brand new Cote D’Azur combines floaty white sails and comfy couches for an impressive alfresco clubbing experience on a wooden deck. Another popular nightspot on the stretch is Breeze, where its street level café/restaurant provides a bird’s eye view of the dancefloor.
For daytime scenesters, Greek coffee chain Flo Café combines seaside views, a wide selection of caffeine-rich drinks and tasty food. Further down the coast, the beach at Agios Tychonas hosts Drops, a laid-back option serving cocktails and iced coffees with a smile.
The hottest seaside spot du jour, however, is Guaba, where a hip crowd dance on the beach to tunes spun by international DJs. At the time of going to press, Guaba’s licence had not been renewed for its location at Agios Tychonas beach, but the organisers were confident a new venue would be found; go to www.guababeachbar.com for info.
Not even the most anti-sightseeing sun-seeker will be able to resist a trip to Cyprus' big three: Ancient Kourin is one of the island’s most important archaeological sites. The Greco-Roman amphitheatre perched on the clifftop, constructed in the second century BC, has undergone extensive renovation in recent years – mostly to protect the spectacular floor mosaics; Pafos Mosaics, discovered in 1962, have been acclaimed as some of the best examples of Roman floor mosaics discovered to date; and the remarkable site of Ancient Salamis, where visitors can easily spend half a day exploring the surrounding city walls, gymnasium, theatre, Roman baths and villa, forum and agora, as well as the Basilica of St Epiphanius and the temple of Zeus Salaminios.
The island’s capital has only recently emerged as a tourist destination, thanks to the opening of the Green Line (the no-go area also known as the ‘dead zone’ that divides Cypriot and Turkish areas). Even if you don’t stay here for your holiday (there are only a handful of hotels in Nicosia), it’s well worth making a detour from wherever you’re staying. Spend the day exploring the labyrinthine, beguiling streets of the old town within the ancient Venetian walls, then make your way to the Shacolas Tower Museum and Observatory for panoramic views across both sides of the last divided capital city in Europe.
More than 50 boutique wineries are dotted across the Troodos Mountains, and a day sampling their products is thoroughly recommended. An ideal place to pop the cork are the Krassohoria (Wine Villages), where you can check out the Agia Mavri Winery (Lemesos, +357 25 470 225)and its award-winning white muscat. September visitors should make a point of visiting the annual wine festival in Lemesos (see Join the party below).
Cyprus’s geographic location in a ray-catching corner of the Mediterraean makes it a failsafe target for end-of-the-summer-sun seekers. The country’s most alluring beaches – sugary shores lapped by translucent waters – are in the south-east, in the area around Agia Napa and Protaras. May and September are the best times to go, when the crowds have thinned out but it’s still warm enough to swim and tan. Follow the locals and flip-flop down to Konnos beach, a bijou bay at the foot of the spectacular cliffs at Cape Greco.
Read more about beaches in Cyprus
Sidestep the tourist-trap tavernas and seek out one of the small-scale operations offering creative takes on traditional dishes. At Mageirion to Elliniko, a picturesque eaterie secreted away in the old quarter of Pafos, you can look forward to a table crowded with little-seen plates inspired by the traditions of Greek-era Constantinople, such as yaourtlou chicken and Pera kebab. All served to a thrice-weekly soundtrack of live rembetika.
Outside Pafos, in the village of Kathikas, Araouzos Taverna offers stifado (casserole) of wild boar and tsikles (wild fowl), which are neatly rounded off with little sweet carob rusks for dessert.
For an authentic and filling smörgåsborg around Larnaka, head to Kalo Chorio. Here, the tables at Koutsonikolias groan under the weight of delicacies such as kerpasto (salted lamb on charcoal), baked asparagus, deer and wild boar.
If you want to sample exquisite seafood dishes involving sea urchins, crab and pandora fish, you need to call two days in advance, thus guaranteeing a fresh catch.
See all restaurants & cafés in Cyprus
For those with adventurous appetites, the Akamas peninsula in the west of the island offers mile after mile of untamed wilderness studded with craggy Aleppo pines. This is the largest undeveloped area in Cyprus and richly rewards exploration. Have a field day cycling over rocky off-road tracks; joining a tour with a company like BikeTrek is a sound idea if you’re nervous about venturing into the unknown.
See all tours in Cyprus
The British may be famed for their love of tea, but in Cyprus the most revered caffeinated beverage is definitely coffee. Trendy cafés and old-school coffee shops line the streets of every city and village on the island, and it’s not just the old folk that like to sip the good stuff and watch the world go by.
Traditional Cypriot coffee is similar to its Mediterranean cousin, the espresso, in that it’s taken short and strong. It is also drunk black and in some villages you may still find it cooked slowly in a tray of hot sand placed over the cooker, to give the drink a fuller aroma.
You will also
undoubtedly encounter the ubiquitous frappé. Served in tall glasses with
lots of ice, this milkshake-like concoction is what summer on the
island is really about.
Join the Cypriot posing posse at Nicosia hotspots like Da Capo or Le Café, where the drink is made to last as long as possible; gossiping, people-watching (and, more crucially, being seen) are the main events. Alternatively, try Oktana or Kala Kathoumena for a more laid-back vibe, where a leisurely coffee is the perfect accompaniment to a lively game of backgammon or a fragrant shisha pipe.
In Latsi, a small community near Akamas, you can hire a motorboat and set off on a solo trip round the picturesque peninsula with no more than a quick lesson and a wave goodbye from the hire company. Powering along the coast from Latsi to the Blue Lagoon for a spot of snorkelling, dolphin-watching and sea turtle-spotting is an exhilarating experience. A driving licence is all that’s needed and four hours’ hire of a 40 horse-power boat costs €83.
Latsi Watersports Centre, Latsi Harbour, Polis Chrysohous (+357 26 322 095/www.latchiwatersportscentre.com).
Get properly pummelled with an old-school massage at the spruced-up Omeriye Hamam, the most luxurious Turkish baths on the island. The spa offers seven steam rooms at different temperatures, plus indulgent body wraps and a chill-out space on divans.
If you thought Cypriot cuisine was all about tavernas, you’re in for something of a surprise – the island’s culinary evolution has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years.
Excellent restaurants are legion in the gastronomic capital of the island, Lemesos. Mavromatis, in the super-swanky Four Seasons hotel, combines elements from Greek and French cuisine. Beige has been voted the best international restaurant in Cyprus for three years running. The Japanese Zen Room is always busy with both locals and visitors – try the divine tempura ice cream. For imaginatively presented hearty Mediterranean meals, head to Artima and the Columbia Beach Resort near Lemesos for a highly creative molecular cooking.
Considered one of the most stylish and atmospheric restaurants in Lefkosia, Domus Lounge Bar offers stunningly executed dishes. On chic Stasikratous street, Seiko has a menu with more than a hundred choices of freshly prepared and prettily presented sushi and sashimi. Another great bet, Cos’altro emphasises pastas and assorted Med delicacies. Alfresco Marco Polo offers fusion cuisine with excellent views of the city from its seventh-floor vantage point. Polynesian Pago Pago, the only place of its kind in Cyprus, cherry-picks from Thai, Japanese and Chinese influences to transport you to the South Pacific.
In Larnaka, Japanese bistro Nippon is one of the most reputable restaurants around.
For excellent sushi in Pafos, Asiachi is a good bet. Its minimalist decor, friendly staff and vast array of dishes score big points. In the same area, there are two reasons for choosing Risto La Piazza: it serves authentic Italian cuisine and has won awards for two consecutive years for its peerless selection of wines. Sommelier Vasos Manoli will gladly guide you in matching your food and wine.
See all restaurants & cafés in Cyprus
Keen walkers have dozens of nature trails to choose from. Cedar Valley in the mountains is bisected by a European Ramblers Association long-distance walking path that stretches from Budapest to Larnaka. A picnic area with majestic views serves the less active. Alternatively, the Kalidonia trail in Platres offers a not-too-taxing trek along a refreshing stream.
Cedar Valley is reached by unsealed road from Kykkos Monastery, or from Pano Panagia if approaching from Pafos.
If you’re on the hunt for locally produced, hand-made gifts, then the Cyprus Handicraft Centre should be your first and only stop. Based in Nicosia, Larnaka, Limassol and Pafos, this organisation is sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce in order to preserve traditional craftsmanship. It proffers quality objects, from pottery and dolls to lacework and woven baskets – first-class options for souvenirs that last.
See all shops in Cyprus
The warm, clear waters and lack of strong tides and currents around Cyprus make the island an ideal place to learn to dive. Scuba diving schools have surfaced in every coastal town; ask at your hotel for recommendations or try Dive-In (www.dive-in.com.cy), a company with centres in Larnaka, Lemesos and Pafos; Sunfish Divers (www.sunfishdivers.com) in the Agia Napa and Protaras area; or the Pafos-based Cydive (www.cydive.com). Courses for both beginners and more experienced divers can be worked into your holiday, after which you’ll be qualified to explore the rich underwater world of sea caves, shipwrecks and marine life.
The most famous Cypriot dive site is the Zenobia wreck off the coast of Larnaka, which is considered the finest dive site in the Med. The sunken Swedish ferry has remained remarkably intact since it sank with a cargo of over 100 articulated lorries in 1980. Divers can snoop around the ship in the company of creatures such as conger eels, barracudas and groupers which have made the wreck their home. Nearby is a British Army Air Corps helicopter wreck and a sunken boulder-carrying barge, which has created an artificial reef known as Fraggle Rock.
Between Agia Napa and Protaras, Konnos Point and the sea caves offer plentiful opportunities for wanders through tunnels, canyons and interesting rock formations. The waters are rich in marine life, including octopus, starfish and a variety of hunting fish, which provide quite a spectacle if you’re lucky enough to catch them in action.
At the Akrotiti Fish Reserve in Lemesos, you can hand-feed species ranging from bream to bass. Pafos dive sites worth checking out include the Amphorae Reef and the 100-Foot Reef, known for its exceptionally clear waters. These suggestions are the tip of the iceberg: the good tidings for scuba fans are that scores more intriguing sites are ripe for exploration.
Cafés serving up a side of cultural stimulation alongside daily doses of caffeine are on the rise, with exhibitions popping up at coffeehouses and bars as a way of keeping the feel fresh, fluid and fashionable.
In Pafos, Casa has put the culture into coffee drinking. Occupying a restored mansion, it adds a contemporary twist with an outdoor, granite-topped bar and transparent green seating. This restaurant/bar/café exhibits mostly photographic work by Pafos artists, spicing up the internationally-inspired dishes on the menu.
Over in Lemesos, Dino Art Café is another arty spot for a caffeine fix. The pieces on display are all by Lemesos-based artists, and change monthly. The stripped-down surrounds let the paintings, photographs and sculptures set the mood; plus, everything’s for sale.
In Nicosia, Oinohoos sits right on the border of the dead zone. Fittingly, it has teamed up with various UN agencies to showcase works that highlight human rights and refugee issues. Meanwhile, Scarabeo sets the standard for the gallery/nightspot hybrid. Head here to hang with the cool kids amongst paintings, photos, sculptures or jewellery by local bright young things. Gallery-going has never been so hip.
See all art venues in Cyprus
If you're on holiday on a small island, it stands to reason that there are going to be plenty of fresh fish around. Spartiatis is renowned for its fish meze and for using sparklingly fresh ingredients, the restaurant also commands stunning views over Cape Greco; Ta Psarakia tou Nikou is a simple, authentic fish taverna serving impeccably fresh food; and Pyxida, one of the best recent openings in the fish taverna sector, the setting is stylish and the service professional.
Despite its relatively small size (the entire population could fit into London seven times over), Cyprus is becoming a hotbed of up-and-coming fashion talent and style.
Three hotly-tipped designer of the moment are Stalo Markides (4 Pygmalionos, www.stalo-markides.com), who puts her name to burlesque-inspired handbags and clutches, embellished with bold colours and leather pieces exquisitely cut to resemble feathers; Kyriaki Costa (Plateia tou Manoli 70, 99 471 107, http://kyriakicosta.net), an acclaimed Cypriot artist and fashion designer whose sleek and flattering cuts have caused a buzz internationally as well as on the local scene; and jewellery gallery Krama which showcases Skevi Afantiti’s highly original and sought-after necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings.
See all shops in Cyprus
The two most anticipated events on the year are Carnival and the Lemesos Wine Festival.
The former provides the biggest street events in Cyprus, which last for almost two weeks. Although festivities take place in towns all over the island, Lemesos hosts the most famous merrymaking. Carnival begins 50 days before Easter, on the second Thursday before Lent. On Green Monday, after the last day of Carnival, it’s customary for Cypriots to head to the fields to begin the 40-day countdown to Easter, when tasty vegetarian food is on the picnic menu to mark the first day of fasting.
The latter celebrates the island’s most precious natural produce, the grape. Wine making has an extremely long history on the island and is toasted every September in the town’s Municipal Gardens. The feast of tastings and buffets attracts over 100,000 people, accompanied by music and dancing at the gardens’ open-air theatre.
Read more about these and other festivals & events in Cyprus
Aromatic mastic or masticha resin is produced on the Greek island of Chios. The properties of the gum have long been known – the Romans used it to whiten teeth, and Christopher Columbus declared it should be valued by its weight in gold rather than silver.
The milky sap of the mastic tree forms translucent crystals when dried in the sun which soften when chewed, making it the original chewing gum. Apart from its refreshing and interesting flavour (an acquired but addictive taste), the gum is heralded for its medicinal and anti-bacterial properties.
You can buy toothpaste and face cream from the official shop of the growers’ association at Mastiha Shop. The association has also teamed up with Korres skincare to develop a series of luxe lotions. Across the street Mastic Spa specialises in delicious-smelling hair, skin and body care ranges.
Mastiha Shop also stocks traditional edible products, like sweets, biscuits and the original Elma brand chewing gum. If the unique scent of mastic wins you over, try some of their stranger products like the mastic-infused pasta or the intensely flavoured liqueur – perfect served with fresh cream over ice.
See all shops in Cyprus
SOURCE - Time Out Cyprus
Tags: Agrotourism, Akamas, Archontiko Papadopoulou, Colossi Castle, Cyprus, Cyprus Coffee, Cyprus Tavernas, Cyprus Wines, Espresso, Espresso, Italia Spaghetteria Larnaca, Konnos Beach, Le Meridien Spa Resort, Lefkara Lace, Limassol Wine Festival, Mastic Spa, Party Barefoot, Platres, Protaras, The Green Line, Time Out Cyprus, Tsipoura
Located on the old road Nicosia-Limassol, between Skarinou and Kofinou, at about 25 km from Larnaca, Ktima Georgiadi is probably one of the best options in Cyprus for a night out with good friends or family. The well-known Greek Cypriot singer Stella Georgiadi and her brother Pieris have made their father's dream come true: the return to innocence, the return to their roots, the return to tradition far away from the bright lights of the city.
Pieris and Stella have turned a traditional, old mansion into a Greek taverna where you can let off steam, eat, drink, dance and sing with Stella and her band. In the summer, you can enjoy the show under the stars and the orange trees where Stella and her siblings played when they were kids.
Last night, Alkis and I had a great time there with good friends. After a long week at work, it was THE perfect night out. Stella will welcome you to her mansion with an old Greek song which she sings amongst her guests without music or micro. A big hand follows and then the show begins with Stella and her band. Prices are reasonable, yet the food needs to be improved.
Photos and video by Anastasia Marou for Anastasia
The Limassol Carnival is one of the most important events in Cyprus, related to the Dionysian Festivals of the classical antiquity. It is a joyful and colorful event that attracts both young and old, locals and visitors, making Limassol the carnival center of Cyprus.
The festivities begin on Shrove Thursday (February 16th) with the entrance of King Carnival in town and last for ten days. The Limassol Municipality organizes various events such as open-air parties, children’s parades and serenaders evenings.
Τhe Grand Carnival Parade on Sunday, February 26th, is the culmination of the carnival events. It will start at 13.30 from St. Nicholas roundabout and will proceed along Makarios III Avenue.
In Nicosia where I was born and reared, the Carnival was certainly not as popular as it has been for years in Limassol. As a child, I never used to dress up or go to fancy dress parties. Having been to the Carnival in Limassol about 10 years ago, I had so much fun that I decided to dress up for Carnival and go to fancy dress parties in Larnaca! Neredless to say I had a great time! But just like in hometown Nicosia, the carnival isn't very popular in Larnaca either, so I haven't been to a fancy dress party since 2008!
Is Carnival popular in your area?
Here are the correct answers to Cyprus Trivia questions:
Here are the results:
So , the winner is Jeff who will receive a bottle of Commandaria which you can see in the photo above.
It seems that my biological clock hasn't been set to summer-break-time yet, so I got up at 6:00 this morning, as I always do on Saturdays when I work. After a hearty breakfast taken on the veranda with Alkis, Alkis went to work and I was left to decide what to do with the rest of the day.
I decided to spend the day at the beach, but I suddenly remembered my long-forgotten "Things-to-Organise" list in My Documents. I opened the file and here's what I found:
THINGS TO ORGANISE BEFORE SEPTEMBER 2011
However good I am at organisational issues at the workplace, I'm rather negligent, in this respect, when it comes to organising my home computer and the house in general. I'm not trying to make excuses, but this happens because of the bulk of work during the school year. At work, everything is in the right place and I never have to hunt for it. If you could see my computer at the office, you would be impressed by my organisational skills in file management. Often one click is enough to find in a flash specific documents, students' files, homework assignments, absentee lists, teaching material, audio and video files, test / exam results and many more - all updated without delay. I've never taken up computer lessons - I sometimes wish I had - but learned the basics by clicking on Help or by asking questions online.
I am well aware that we should never postpone for tomorrow what we can do today. So I finally abandoned my plans for the beach today, printed my list and got down to work. To begin with, I set myself the task of organising My Pictures. I have more than 10,000 photos on my computer and, although I created a folder per upload, I came up with more than 150 folders. More often than not, it took me ages to locate a certain photo - I often forgot where I had put it! Today, it took me only 2 hours to create folders and subfolders in such a way that I can now locate a photo...by the pricking of my thumbs!
Next task: My Documents. I partly organised my documents as you can see in the photo below, but I know I can do better! Any ideas are more than welcome.
Then I moved on to the File Manager on TypePad. It is in such a terrible mess that it will take me days to organise it properly. I guess most of you know perfectly well how to organise your File Manager, but assuming that some others might be new on TypePad or computer illiterate like myself, here's how to organise your File Manager efficiently as explained in TypePad for Dummies by Melanie Nelson and Shannon Lowe. This is by no means a sponsored post as I have purchased their book and found it extremely helpful.
A. To Create a Folder
B. To Create a Subfolder
Having finished with the computer, I noticed that many of my books and dvds were lying all over the room. I had a coffee break, took a deep breath and ..tidied up the shelves of my bookcase.
Carrying my precious list, I went into the kitchen to organise my cupboards. As you can see, the cupboard with the glasses looks neat and tidy, but I made a mental note to re-arrange the glasses according to utility - a kind of ..."folders" and "subfolders" . For instance: wine glasses / red wine glasses / white wine glasses, then water glasses / juice glasses / soft drinks glasses and so on. See what I mean? I do hope I won't break any in the process!
Finally, I organised my wardrobe and one of the two places where I store my shoes. I put sandals and summer shoes on the lower shelf, so that I can reach them more easily and winter shoes on the upper shelf. But , to be honest, I envy my friend Bing's immaculate organisation of her wardrobe as described in her post Mission Organization and Surprise No2 . It was this post that reminded me of my "Things-to-Organise" list!
Most of the items of my "Things-to-Organise" list still remain unchecked. But I hope to check them all by the end of August - such as the drawers in my study and the kitchen cupboard where I am supposed to keep pans, cake tins and various pots and dishes. I guess I'll need some kind of "folders" and "subfolders" in this area as well.
WARNING! THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS MIGHT CAUSE SEVERE SHOCK TO WELL-ORGANISED PEOPLE.
Are you organised or disorganised? Do you know where everything is in your house or do you need to hunt for it in order to locate it?
If you are in doubt take the following quiz and find out!
P.S ~ It's not like me to write such long posts. Hope you enjoyed it, anyway!
Protaras is by far my most favourite summer resort in Cyprus and, more generally, in the eastern Mediterranean. With 300 days of sunshine, golden sandy beaches, clear waters, great hotels and a myriad of restaurants and bars, it's no wonder why European holidaymakers flock to Protaras every summer. For the party animals, Ayia Napa nearby (about 16 km) boasts the best clubs where you can dance into the small hours.
Situated at about 64 km east of Larnaca, Protaras is a tourist village - just a breath away from Ammochostos (Famagusta) - illegally occupied by Turkish forces for 37 years now. Protaras occupies about 5km of the golden Ammochostos coastline. Having lost Kyrenia and Ammochostos - our two greatest summer resorts during the Turkish Invasion in July 1974, we had to do something in order to revive our economy which largely depends on tourism. Or else we'd die. The Greek miracle happened again and Protaras was created in the early 80s out of nothing in those difficult years following what I call "the war of the cowards." The Turks,you see, unlike Hitler, did not declare war!!!
The main reason why Protaras is my favourite summer resort in Cyprus is because it reminds me of my beloved Ammochostos where I used to spend my summer holidays as a child and as an adolescent. What's more, after a long school year and long hours at work, I took the time to relax and unwind and enjoy the sun and the sea and those gorgeous sandy beaches!
This is what I got in my inbox yesterday and had such a good laugh that I thought I'd share it with you. It was sent to me by my friend Walid who I'd like to thank for brightening up my day.
These fit so well they should be in a dictionary.
A person who has stopped growing at both ends
And is now growing in the middle.
A place where women curl up and dye.
The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.
A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.
Mud with the juice squeezed out.
Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.
Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.
An insect that makes you like flies better.
A grape with a sunburn.
Something you tell to one person at a time.
A bunch of bones with the person scraped off.
The pain that drives you to extraction.
One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.
An honest opinion openly expressed.
Something other people have,
Similar to my character lines
I closed the door behind me and from that very moment I felt that there was somebody there and that this somebody was very friendly and pleased to see me.In my heart of hearts, I hoped it was Paul Belinsky..Pauk Belinsky? No, no, not him! In 1968, Russia ruffled her feathers and showed her power to the rest of the world when in August she and members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country of Czechoslovakia. Paul Belinsky was one of the members of the Warsaw Pact. No, no ,no!! It can't be him! So I turned my head, and to my utter surprise, I was looking at a woman who looked exactly like me. I was speechless. I kept staring at her not believing my own eyes!
" Won't you ask me in?" , the woman said with a fixed, abstract expression on her thin face.My heart was still racing as I finally managed to mutter:"Who are you?" The woman smiled at me and said:
" Belinsky...Francesca Belinsky."
" I am a woman, she added, who has, for some years contended against the pressure of pecuniary difficulties. Sometimes I have risen superior to my difficulties, sometimes my difficulties have...floored me."
I didn't know what to think. Seeing that I couldn't understand, she went on with her narrative: August 21 1968. Soviet Union and members of the Warsaw Pact allies invaded my country...our country, Czechoslovakia, to stop the reformers of the Prague Spring. OUR father, Paul Belinsky, was the leader of the Pact. We were born in September 25 1968. I was sent to France in a foster family who abused me. You were sent to America. You were much luckier than me. You were received by a wealthy foster family that loved you and spoilt you. See...sis? All my life, I had to cope with money problems to make ends meet.
Words were failing me. "I.... I.... I.... have a sister? A... a... a twin sister? ... And our father.... is..... I.... I..... I have to sit down" ..I sat down feeling as if I was in a dream. I plucked up the courage and asked angrily: " How the heck did you get in?"
"Right Vicky or should I say Victoria? After all, you are Victoria Belinsky - my twin sister!"
"Apparently so..." I mumbled, still in disbelief.
I was silent for a moment. Then our eyes met - the same deep green - and locked."There's something else you should know." she said, maintaining eye contact.
She paused for a while and then added:"I know you have a lovely family and I'm sure you wouldn't like any of them to get hurt....not for $500,000. Once I get the money, you'll never hear of me again, dear sis."
"I'm afraid it's too late, Miss Belinsky." Surprised, I turned round and saw a police officer standing at the door next to Mrs Gibbs-the housekeeper. "The French police have been looking for you since you left the country. You are under arrest."
Petrified, I stood there looking out the window. The sun was now bright and warm and the air was filled with the children's happy laughter playing by the pond. Teddy was sailing a model boat and Linda was playing with her dolls on the grass. My heart leapt as I watched them play knowing that no one would ever harm them. Yet deep down I knew that I would probably never see Francesca again and felt so sorry for her - my twin sister I had known for a while and had only just lost.
Written By ( in alphabetical order):
I would like to thank you all for your great contribution to this story. As promised, I'd love to send you a small thank-you gift from Cyprus if I could have your address.
This story is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the authors' imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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