Thursday, 10 November 2011

Cyprus - Coral Bay to Oniro By-the-Sea: 16th November 2011

Hooray - a whole week away in sunny Cyprus!
However there is always the opportunity for a walk to a bar, and when I was in Cyprus last year I 'discovered' this recently opened beach shack/bar a couple of miles out of Coral Bay - Oniro By-the-Sea (facebook link only). It was was perfect for watching the sunset, relaxing whilst having a beer, and then walking back to the villa in Coral Bay (hopefully before it got completely pitch-black).
This year I was back in Coral Bay, but on the the other side of town in comparison to Oniro. So a slightly longer walk, but I guess I could always take an additional 'comfort-break' stop on the way.

View Cyprus - Coral Bay in a larger map

Coral Bay is ~10km north of Paphos on the coast road, and still pretty busy in November. As I started off on the walk at just after 2pm, the bars and restaurants on the main drag were still serving late lunches to both tourists and locals. My recommendation for anyone looking for food - The Palm Grove for the best Cypriot food in town (hmmm - time to minimise this travel magazine speak).

After the main strip ends there's a bit of a drop towards the coastline - this is the start of the Coral Bay 'blue-flag' beach. As a beach it's not quite St Andrews, Ayr or Lunan Bay, but it's decent enough and (I hate to say it) the temperature of the sea is still more than acceptable even at this time of the year.

After the main beach the road splits of off - right goes back to the main road, left heads out to the huge Coral/Coralia Beach Hotel complex and onwards to Oniro. Just at the split there's a number of bars and restaurants and I was hoping for a seat at O'Solomans Irish Bar, last year's main haunt.

However it wasn't open - strange - although a sign stated that it would open at 4:30. OK - I'd try again on my way back.

I therefore carried on out past the Coral Bay town limits. Even out here there were still a number of signs to isolated tavernas and glimpses of larger villas for rent - some quite impressive with what must be great views. And there's also fields of banana plantations - the best villa name I saw combines these: Bananarama!

After 30 minutes or so from Coral Bay I came to the sign for Oniro and turned down towards the sea.

The place was pretty well as I remembered from last year, a few more tables perhaps, but that was it.

Beer-wise I was given the choice of either a bottle of Keo or a draft Carlsberg in a frosted glass. This induced a moment of definite brain paralysis. The Keo's a better beer, but the cool, frosted glass sounded great - but I couldn't order a Carlsberg, could I ? Well obviously my hindbrain decided that I could, and I heard the words I never thought I'd utter - "I'll have a Carlsberg, please" - without much conscious thought.
As expected it didn't taste of much, but it was cold and pretty satisfying at that particular instant in time and space.

The view from Oniro is still tremendous. I was a little early for the sunset, but the view out to the shimmering Mediterranean past the sea caves was still great.

Chatting away to the really friendly staff, the place seems to be doing very well. It's obviously closed when the weather's bad, but this year those days have been few and far between, so business (especially at weekends) has been good. The kitchen's been added since last November and they provide light bites such as soup, brushetta and mussels at a decent price - actually a very good price compared to some of the restaurants in Coral Bay. I think it's a great place and hope it continues for a long time.

There was only time for one beer before starting the (fairly rapid) walk back to Coral Bay. You can walk all the way from Oniro past the sea caves and along the shoreline to the Coralia Beach Hotel, but it gets pretty rocky in some places and is only worthwhile doing when you have the time.
I deliberately made sure I went past O'Solomans at well past 4:30, but it was still not open (and there no sign of it opening). I had a look through the windows, noted that all furniture was still present, but also found the following notice - not good.
(a Google afterwards has indicated that the place can be yours for 885,000 Euros - a bargain when I win the Euro millions !)

Since I was thirsty I took a short walk up the road to the Frog and Toad, which I hadn't been in before.

It's most definitely an ex-pat bar with an array of regulars propping up the bar, but a friendly enough place. I had a pint of Keo and a packet of Bacon Flavour Fries whilst the twilight fell - great.

I then wandered back to the centre of Coral Bay. The rain that's been following me all year started to fall fairly dramatically and so I took shelter in Hector's Bar, another ex-pat bar just off the Coral Bay main strip. It seemed to be a Spurs bar, but the WiFi was free and the beer cheap so I stayed until the rain stopped.

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