Getting to Larnaca and my first right-hand drive experience!?#@*&!
Larnaca Travel Blog› entry 1 of 26 › view all entries
Well, Rob left for the
I know that this was compounded by the fact that I had great fear of my first experience in driving a right-hand drive car, in an unfamiliar place, at night, in a city center that is thousands of years old (tiny one-way streets that only get you lost). Iâ€™m sure that stress wasnâ€™t helping.
My flight was a late oneâ€¦â€¦really late. I was packed departed from the Herengracht at .
The fight takes off about 30 minutes late and itâ€™s a little less than 2 hours to
We are late arriving! There are a handful of people an myself racing through the airport to make the connection as we have arrived at the time of boarding for the flight to
We arrive as the line is making its way into a holding room which is quickly sent down to a bus to take us to the plane. This plane is significantly smaller as I had the same seat in both planes and on the first flight it was mid-plane and on this one it is the very last row. Itâ€™s still row 21, so not too small.
We leave on time () and FULL. I am surprised by this. I didnâ€™t expect that so many people would be traveling at this time of night. I guess itâ€™s a good thing and will keep Malev (Hungarian Airlines) in business.
I read another car magazine. I save them for my trips but, on planes I seem to read them in record time. I finish and am left with the map of Larnaca to study the plan from the airport to the hotel. I study it until I have a headache but, we still have an hour and a half, to go. I turn down the sandwich this time as I didnâ€™t feel that my stomach could take more food, even though I was hungry.
We finally touch down, which was a little iffy for a moment or two. We were gliding more horizontal for a bit instead of feet first at a decline so we hit the runway very hard. That was the only drama so, good landing!
It is a small airport and we are the only flight that has landed and itâ€™s after but, our luggage still take about 15 minutes to start down the baggage area. I get my bag and head to the Europcar counter.
The lady is very pleasant and I am given a much, much nicer car than I had paid for. It was at least 2 classes above. I did have to pay for the gas upfront (56 euro, 84 dollars). This is a small economical car so; I was surprised at this prepayment price. I got a Nissan Note which we had on the last trip to Sicilia. I had driven that one but this one was a bit different.
I walked the parking lot of the airport weaving in and out pressing the carâ€™s key fob and looking for the blinking lights. I found it after a bit of walking, loaded in my luggage and proceeded to study the map, again. I knew that it would be impossible while I was driving.
I put the car in gear and have a moment of prayer. Just making it out of the parking area took more than I expected, increasing my stress. Then leaving the airport, I turn in the wrong direction, because I wasnâ€™t sure if I could turn in the direction that I wanted.
So, I drove west along the salt marshes until I could find a place to turn around. So, now headed east back to Larnaca, I doing ok, driving well under the speed limit, but with virtually no cars, my stress is lessened for the moment.
I recognize the roundabout before me from the map. I choose the correct direction but, hereâ€™s where the difficulty begins. After the second traffic light, I am now in the oldest part of the city with its wacky streets. There are no street signs. So, as I proceed, I am unsure of the correct turn. I am too afraid of ending up driving down a one-way the wrong way so, I continue. I remember that I can stay on this road and it curves at the marina and runs south west along the beach. The hotel is just 2 blocks off this road and behind a McDonalds.
Now I see the McDonalds but due to the one way streets, I am unable to access that street form the beach side. I have to come at it from the other side. This sounds easy but, itâ€™s far from that. There are no street signs in the maze of streets behind the beachfront.
I drive around and drive around and drive around. At one point I have to stop down one of the tiny streets due to three guys that had just gotten out of their car in front of me and started fighting. Three cars stop behind me, so there is no backing up. The guys even fall onto the car during their brawl at one point. I tried turning down another streetâ€¦no idea if it was the correct direction but, it got me away from there.
Ok, by now it is almost . There are people sleeping on benches, people stumbling down the streets drunk, and finally some police stopping to deal with the brawl. I try several more times but am unable to locate the proper street.
I call the hotel. The guy barely understands English and speaks even less. He keeps telling me â€śbehind the McDonaldsâ€ť, which I already know. The guy hung up on me.
I had tried to prevent all of this by contacting Booking.com and the hotel directly. Neither one could give me directionsâ€¦â€¦believe it or not!
I pulled into a loading zone in front of the McDonalds and called, again. This time the guy said he would come and get me. Ten minutes later, heâ€™s a no show. I call back and he says that there is a check in. Itâ€™s now and Iâ€™m thinking that I will have to just sleep in the car, soon.
I make one more round of the old city and see a police man out of his car. I pull up and wave him over. He speaks English and direct meâ€¦â€¦.to the very next block, taking a right. I was now there. Why someone couldnâ€™t have given directions, I do not know.
I park the car, mostly in the street but, there really isnâ€™t much traffic other than the cops and the street cleaner. I brought my bags inside and asked the guy about my car. He comes outside and helps direct me into the tiniest of spaces in which the butt of the car is only bumper in the streetâ€¦..whatever. This is there â€śprivate parkingâ€ť. What a joke.
Anyway. I give him my passport and get the key. The hall way is scaryâ€¦.so dirty and dim.
The room is spacious for a studio. Everything is old looking but operable. There is a desk area, a couch with coffee table a kitchenette (with barely more than a cup and a plate), a dining set, and a decent sized bath.
Iâ€™ve been in worse. This place is cheap, centrally located, a kitchenette, and two blocks from the beach, oh, and cheap.
I check to see what the view is out the window, I wonâ€™t do that again. It looks like a slum!!! The window was open on both ends (slider). Actually all of the windows (living, kitchen, and bath) were open. Two of the three I was able to lock. The otherâ€¦..well, I just couldnâ€™t.
I unpacked, text Rob, and had a snack. I realize that I hadnâ€™t thought about the fact that this whole British influence would, of course, extend to the electronics!!! I didnâ€™t bring an adaptor.
Rob calls and I tell him of my trauma / drama. He tells me of a trick that I can use to get my European plug to work. I will not share it as it is potentially dangerous. It did work and I was able to plug in my computer but, did have a jolt or two each time I touched anything metal on it!!!
I put in a DVD (The first season of the Adams Family) and lay down. I donâ€™t even remember the episode starting.
Iâ€™m not thrilled with my first experience in this city. I hope for a better tomorrow. Pleaseâ€¦â€¦.a better tomorrow.