Tag Archives: summer

Discovering Pafos

Pafos (or Paphos) is a popular destination in southwest Cyprus, famous for its beaches as well as its archaeological sites. Thanks to the lovely Mediterranean climate, when I visited at the end of September the weather was still great, with warm temperatures and sunny days and without the excruciating heat (and huge tourist crowds, too) of the summer.

The first thing that I learnt when I arrived is that Pafos is made of two main parts: Ktima (Upper Pafos), up on the hill, and Kato Pafos (Lower Pafos), where the harbour is.

Ktima
This part of town currently looks like a building site because of lots of renovation work that is preparing the town for the events of next year, as Pafos has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2017. Saying that at the moment it all looks like a big mess is probably an understatement! Yet just walking around you can get the feeling of what this area is like, with beautiful colonial buildings and a much more relaxed atmosphere compared to Kato Pafos.

Kato Pafos
This is the main tourist area, very popular (and crowded!) thanks to the restaurants, bars, shops located mainly around the harbour area. The promenade is a great place for walks and people watching at any time of the day (sunsets here are beautiful!) and the castle at one end of the harbour offers good views of the area from its upper level (Euro2.50 entrance fee). The beaches in this part of town aren’t that great, yet they can get quite crowded during the day.
Behind the harbour lie the Pafos Archaelogical Park and the lighthouse.

But one of my favourite parts of Pafos was the coastal walk that leads from the Pafos castle  to the Tombs of the Kings, the other main archaeological area in Pafos. I walked it at different times of the day – even after dark – and always loved it!

Do you want to know more about the archaeological sites in Pafos? That’s for the next post :-)

At the “Festa de l’Unita’ “

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When I was a child, for me and my friends “Festa de l’Unita'” was synonymous with: summer, evenings out, food and dancing.

ItalyPhotogallery_022Despite its political connotation – it used to be organised by the Italian Communist Party, and now by the Democratic Party – the Festa de l’Unita’ is seen by most as a big annual social event. Together with the myriad of festivals that characterise Italian towns in summer.

In the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy all towns and villages seem to have their own Festa de l’Unita’ during summer, and all local events culminate in a main final event that takes place in one of the major cities (like Bologna) in late August-early September.

But for us children, politics was of no interest. All we were interested in was the opportunity to be out until late (well, later than the usual 6-7pm), eat lots of traditional food like crescentine and tigelle, perform our own version of polka, mazurka and waltz at the live music events, and buy raffle tickets in the hope of winning those nice toys that were on display.

During a recent visit to Italy I went to a Festa de l’Unita’ with some friends. It must have been at least ten years since the last time I attended one of such events. The village hosting it was small. The event was quite large. Nothing seemed to have changed since the 80’s.

Two ladies handing out stickers welcomed us at the entrance.  They always give you a sticker when you enter a Festa de l’Unita’.  You get labelled.

Next was the funfair. Not a big one but enough to keep kids and teenagers entertained for a bit. I was tempted to pay a couple of Euros and throw plastic rings around the necks of very colourful plastic swans, but the idea of using my money to buy food seemed more appealing…

Food. One of my main priorities during any visits to a Festa de l’Unita’ as a child. This has not changed with time.  Who can resist some crescentine fritte, freshly made in front of you? They may almost drip with oil, but they are delicious! So of course I had a couple.

 And then there was the live music. There was a large dancing area, a stage and a band playing. The female solo singer was pretty good. But the music was the same as 30 years ago. Ballo liscio, with its polka/mazurka/waltz, dominated the scene. Some group dance songs from the 60’s featured too. The dozens of people dancing seemed to have loads of fun, though!
Looking at how well prepared they were, how in synch they moves appeared, and how no one ever seemed to miss a step, I wondered if the locals spend the whole year taking dance classes with the only purpose to show their abilities at the Festa de l’Unita’ over one week in summer…

We left before the end of the evening, with the feeling that some things have never changed and probably never will.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

 This is my summer lovin’: Italian Ice Cream!
Or as we call it: Gelato!!!!gelato, ice cream

Having been living abroad for well over 10 years now, Gelato is probably what I miss the most from back home. And a regular and unmissable treat during my brief summer visits.
No, don’t tell me that we can have Italian ice cream in most foreign countries now. I know. But it’s not the same.
Gelato eaten on Italian soil on one of those warm summer evenings that still smell of childhood and school holidays is the best!

Featuring in the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.