Probably some of you wonder why I went to Cyprus alone for such a long time. Some even wondered if I’m going to stay there for good 😉
Now it’s time to introduce myself, not only as a sportswoman.
I bought tickets on December 16, under emotions… I had enough, my friends had not been recognising me for the last few months. I wasn’t myself. I lacked energy that I’ve always had. I decided for a longer stay and not a week or two as people usually go on holiday. For the first time completely alone… (well, maybe not completely, because with my bike).
I wanted to leave, to get some distance and find the joy that was “killed” by other people. Away from deceits, lies and not being fair. Away from selfish people who present themselves as the good ones and me as the bad one (not telling the actual truth). Manipulators and people constantly complaining. And worse, away from the closest… energetic vampires.
I wasn’t taking a leave nor going for any training camp as some thought. I worked remotely and was able to join business with pleasure. During my stay I actually had one free day, which I used for sightseeing one of the cities of the island.
Why Cyprus? I was considering countries warmer than Poland in order to use the weather and be able to train. I was choosing between Spain (Majorca, Canary Islands) and Cyprus. I chose the latter for financial reasons. Initially, I booked accommodation in Polis, near the Akamas park. However, the issue was getting there from the Larnaca airport. After discussing it with Poles living on Cyprus (they didn’t recommend a small town in winter) I continued searching for other accommodations. I was considering accommodation in Larnaca but also in some other village. All in all I chose the city and it proved to be a good choice. To tell you the truth, after some time I wanted to rebook the flight to Majorca or the Canary Islands, as I read about better weather and better routes for riding alone… Eventually, I decided that I could fly to Majorca once the flights from Poznan are re-established (besides I’ve already been to Majorca, though without a bike, but not on Cyprus). Still, Poles on Cyprus were not recommending their winter, as it supposedly rains a lot at that time of year there… (I guess I was lucky 😉 ). The closer it was to leaving, the more fears I had concerning how I would feel there and if it is a good decision at all etc. After all, I could always rebook the ticket and get back to Poland earlier ;-). Besides, one of my friends told me it’s going to be an adventure… and it actually turned out to be so, another adventure in my life… 😉
I remember some people telling me that I would not make it two months in a hotel but to tell you the truth it turned out to be better than some airbnb where I would not feel natural spending most of my time in the room, cooking meals etc. Plus the hotel option is probably safer than living with a stranger.
Before Christmas I borrowed a bike case from a friend. I was scared when I saw it… The case itself was 14 kg and it looked like a small “coffin” as high as my shoulders… Packing is the least enjoyable part of any trip. Distributing weight and volume of my baggage was a real challenge. I didn’t even have any place for a bottle or anything else, typically Polish, to take. One 20-kilogram suitcase, the 32-kilogram bike case + of course the hand luggage.
I got to the hotel in Larnaca in the evening of the 2nd day of January. When I was a leaving Poznan it was -10 centigrades ;-). Already during the first day I met Poles and we spent the night enjoying various drinks… I decided to avoid people from my country because I didn’t go to Cyprus to “train” my liver or for holiday as they did… The next day my vodka friends helped me assemble my bike (later on it turned out it wasn’t done quite properly 😉 ) and I went for a little ride. Scared by the left-side driving on Cyprus and the roundabouts, I returned to the hotel. I began searching for bike trails but it seemed to be a problem. I even went to tourist information, got some maps in German (the only ones left) but they didn’t include bike trails. I started searching the web for bike groups and so I signed up for the 1st ride with some locals, scheduled for the subsequent weekend. Everybody had road bikes, so I was standing out with my mountain bike They found me strong and the next day I got invited to a trail ride. Wonderful views, great weather. We had to be careful not to be shut at 😉 because on Sundays people on Cyprus illegally hunt birds, which they eat afterwards. We were riding through hills but without pressure. Bikers there ride in a more reasonable way than my cycling friends (it was easily visible on downhills 😉 ). After a ride it was time for a beer and food in some bar in a village.
I normally worked during business days on Cyprus but 1-2x a week I went swimming in the sea (despite the fact that sometimes at 7 AM it was only few centigrades outside, the water temperature was 17-18 centigrades 😉 ). I lived close to the sea, just a matter of one road crossing after a training. Additionally, on other days after work I was doing my running or cycling training. During two weeks I probably met more people than during the whole last year ;-). Sometimes I had enough of spending time among people. On such a day I used to stay in my room to find some time for myself.
I used to meet new people from our country from time to time in the hotel (although I usually avoided it 😉 ). There were also many Russians there.
I was mainly spending the weekends with my bike. I wouldn’t call it a training as it were rides with many stops, drinking coffee (and I wasn’t used to drinking coffee) or even beer ;-). These rides were great for sightseeing towns, villages etc. On Cyprus I also changed my attitude to being active a bit.
Next weekend we made it to Aya Napa. During that time, the Lech Poznan team was supposedly there on a training camp. My new bike friends took me around to show lovely places, for example Cape Greko. And so we made 125 km.
During the stay I was meeting more and more people, including locals training cycling and people from the hotel (from our country). I was also training, sightseeing, learning a different culture etc. I must sadly admit that many Poles give our nation a bad reputation with their behaviour… During the rest of the stay I rode through many villages and the following cities: Limassol (I went there by bus but later also got there by bike 🙂 ), Paphos and Nicosia (the capital of Cyprus). Nicosia is divided into a Greek part and a Turkish part (one needs a passport to switch sides!).
Beside regular trainings I also had the chance to try trail running during which… despite just few terrain kilometres I did feel my legs. Focusing on the trail and the views near Stavrovouni from a different perspective (earlier I was there by bike) also changed my way of thinking about activities… 😉
I spent most of the following weekends road riding (people from Cyprus were riding road bikes and I was riding my mountain bike) but I also managed to ride a part of the Sunshine Cup race (Maja Włoszczowska raced it during few seasons and this year other Poles were taking part in it):
Had I known earlier about this stage race (it was taking place during the last weekend of my stay) I would have rebooked the flight to go there.
February on Cyprus is supposedly very rainy. I was lucky because during 2 months of my stay I only had like 5 days of rain (mostly in the beginning). The warm weather was a surprise for people on Cyprus themselves. They were warning me that snakes would wake up 2 months earlier. For me the way nature was waking up was amazing. There was a total difference between what I saw at the beginning of my stay and at the end of it (in terms of green, plants everywhere etc.). It was fantastic to feel spring and summer during winter, to avoid snow and freezing, and to get so much sun.
I also managed to take part in a “typically Greek” party (Greek music and dances). The only shame was that the music was so loud that it was impossible to speak freely.
Thanks to the courtesy of people on Cyprus I had the chance to try a home-made wine called Koumandoria, a stronger drink called Zivanija and even a bird during one lunch at home…
When travelling to another country it is worth to get to know the mentality of locals and to get used to differences. What people say about other people from different countries is another story. It’s better to check for yourself. Some parts are true and some are not. This concerns our nation as well. But I must admit, many Poles bring shame to us… People on Cyprus are very friendly, helpful and nice. They enjoy little things (not like in Poland where I mainly see sad faces and hear complaints).
Few friends wanted to visit me during these two months but nobody managed… Me, though being there alone, I wasn’t feeling lonely. I had had many doubts but now I see a new way of living ;-).
What I missed on Cyprus was the Polish food (I put 5.5 kg on weight there and after a week back another 3.5 kg because of missing our cuisine) and parties I thought I would make up for after my return (but I don’t have time for it 😉 ).
Travelling builds characters, especially travelling alone. And it is true that you meet more people while travelling alone. This trip was also a kind of a lesson of how to cope in some situations, not always the easy ones… I also hope some people learned something from me.
Although goodbyes are not joyful moments, saying bye to some people made me realise how close to some people I became to be. They wanted to personally say goodbye, to say a few words face-to-face. A 15-minute hug and tears made me realise that for some I wasn’t just “a tourist” (Larnaca is a tourist place, so it’s normal to pick up girls on the streets; I even got to know some of their methods but they don’t work for me…) I recommend such a trip for undervalued women. I was actually getting sick and tired of the amount of compliments ;p) and some wanted to get to know me as a person, not only seeing a “nice body and beautiful eyes”.
I came back happy again and satisfied with my life as before.
Tears that had been coming to my eyes for the previous few months were changed into a smile… with a lot of memories, feelings and emotions I experienced there. This is something nobody can take away from me.
I’ve once read that items we collect block creativity, new ideas and making dreams come true. I think there’s a lot of truth in this saying… After all we are the directors of our lives… I came back to my country to begin a new chapter of my life, with carte blanche.
I’d like to say thanks to all who contributed, thanks to whom a smile got back on my face.
I’d also like to thank Paweł and Maciej for their help before the trip.
Special thanks go to people who were worried about me and asked if I was okay when I wasn’t in touch. I know that I will probably never see many people met on Cyprus again in my life, perhaps even all of them. And perhaps I will return to Cyprus some day (but if so, it will be a different region in order to see new places). In such case I will visit places I’ve been to this year. Maybe next time I won’t be flying only with my bike? 😉
Now, concerning sports statistics (since this is what this website is about) during my stay on Cyprus I did 25 km of swimming, 230 km of running and 1350 km of cycling