Miranda Ioannou, Operations Executive, Cyprus
What makes you a local?
I consider myself a local and I live and breathe the spirit of Philoxenia (which means genuinely sincere hospitality and friendliness) a trait that Cypriots are known for worldwide. The words Kalosorisate (Welcome!) and Kopiaste (Come join us!) are on the tip of every Cypriots’ tongue whether you are a stranger or an old friend – and considering it’s the first thing I say to everyone I meet, I know I am a local!
What are your first memories of Cyrpus?
I always remember the old town in Lemesos (Limassol) – it’s the beating heart of the city, with its narrow streets radiating out from the old fishing harbor. It is steeped in heritage and there have been significant historic events taking place here for hundreds of year, such as the royal wedding in the Middle Ages between Richard the Lionheart, King of England, and Berengaria of Navarre being held in Lemesos Castle.
I am from Morphou, which is a town close to Nicosia, the largest city on the island of Cyprus; however, I grew up in Limassol since we had to move away from Morfou in 1974.
I live in Limassol city center because I love this city. It is full of history, life, culture and there is always so much to do. Limassol, a city on the southern coast, is the second largest urban area in Cyprus with a population of 250,000 and is the capital of the eponymous district.
How does Cyprus affect the senses?
A local delicacy in Cyprus is Souvla – Lamb and Chicken marinated with an assortment of spices slowly cooked over a fire charcoal pit called Foukou. This smells even better than it sounds. The sight of smoke leaving the Foukous of kitchens and the scents of slow-cooked chicken & lamb waft through the streets at all times – but especially during Tsiknopempti, a holiday that takes place on the Thursday before Easter – where locals cook all their meat to avoid it spoiling during the 50 days of fasting.
Do you know any local “characters”?
I know the best local characters of all – the Gods!!!
According to myth, the Goddess Aphrodite which means diving from the foams = Aphros (Foam) Dite (dive), originates from Cyprus, as her birthplace is the Rock of Aphrodite situated in the near the coast of Paphos where she sprang out of the foaming sea. What you won’t have heard anywhere else is just how that came to be and the local legend of infidelity, revenge and the king of gods – Zeus himself:
What many don’t know is that Zeus was a ladies’ man, and would often use his powers to transform himself into any form he wanted to seduce ladies. Hera, Zeus’ wife, quickly realized that Zeus was fooling around with other women and, in turn, seduced the God Apollonas (Apollo). However, while Zeus was a ladies man, he wasn’t the understanding sort – so when returned home and discovered that Apollonas had been with his wife, Zeus chased him all over earth until he finally caught him at Paphos, where Zeus struck him with a lightning bolt, causing Apollonas’ genitals to fall into the sea and thus, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation was born on the coast of Cyprus in Paphos.
You won’t hear that version of events anywhere else in the world except on the island of Cyprus.
What do you enjoy about your Intercruises role?
I love serving people and putting a smile on their faces. Working for Intercruises gives me the opportunity to be on site experiencing the customer satisfaction on first hand.
What does the future hold?
If you ask the locals they will tell you that the destination has already changed in the past couple of years. The island has developed and experienced economic growth over the past few years with many new and modern buildings and hotels. If we take that into consideration, I would say that in the next 5 to 20 years Cyprus will continue to be a perfect combination of culture and modern amenities, offering the true local experiences in even more comfortable and modern ambiance, while keeping the traditional character alive.