Getting to Larnaca and my first right-hand drive experience!?#@*&!

Larnaca Travel Blog

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Well, Rob left for the USA on the 11th and ever since, I’ve been stricken with a stomach bug. It was so bad that I quarantined myself to the house. I abandoned my friend, Jorge, in fear of him contracting whatever I had.


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). I’m sure that stress wasn’t helping.


My flight was a late one……really late. I was packed departed from the Herengracht at 18:15.

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I was at Schipol Airport by 19:00. I checked in and was through security be 19:30, not bad. The flight was to leave at 20:30 so, I stopped and had a piece of Starbucks carrot passion cake. I was disappointed. I’ve had carrot cake at Starbuck many times and it’s been great. In Schipol, they are serving a different version that is dry and has less cream cheese icing. I won’t buy it again.


The fight takes off about 30 minutes late and it’s a little less than 2 hours to Budapest, Hungary for my connection. I read a car magazine and thumb through the Cyprus guide but, can’t concentrate. I’m stressed! We are given sandwiches and a drink. Mine was spinach and cheese. It didn’t smell too good but, it tasted much better. I was also given an apple that the meat-eaters didn’t get.

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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 Cyprus.


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. It’s still row 21, so not too small.


We leave on time (23:30) and FULL. I am surprised by this. I didn’t expect that so many people would be traveling at this time of night. I guess it’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 didn’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 it’s after 03:00 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 car’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 wasn’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, here’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, it’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 street…no idea if it was the correct direction but, it got me away from there.


Ok, by now it is almost 04:30. 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 “behind the McDonalds”, which I already know. The guy hung up on me.


I had tried to prevent all of this by contacting and the hotel directly. Neither one could give me directions……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, he’s a no show. I call back and he says that there is a check in. It’s now 04:50 and I’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 me…….to the very next block, taking a right. I was now there. Why someone couldn’t have given directions, I do not know.


I park the car, mostly in the street but, there really isn’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 street…..whatever. This is there “private parking”. What a joke.


Anyway. I give him my passport and get the key. The hall way is scary….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.


I’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 won’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 other…..well, I just couldn’t.


I unpacked, text Rob, and had a snack. I realize that I hadn’t thought about the fact that this whole British influence would, of course, extend to the electronics!!! I didn’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 don’t even remember the episode starting.


I’m not thrilled with my first experience in this city. I hope for a better tomorrow. Please…….a better tomorrow.  

ekrimoa says:
Very informative, thank you! It gave me a good idea of what Cyprus can be like!

Have you considered writing reviews on other travel sites like trivago ?
Posted on: Mar 22, 2010
ptrjakson says:
Cyprus cyprus holidays has gained the attention of many tourists and holiday guests around the world for its popular well year round sun.
Posted on: Jan 25, 2010
Biedjee says:
congrats on your feature today!
Posted on: Dec 06, 2009
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