Saturday, 02 January 2016 19:43

You’ll get there eventually – one way or another

Cyprus intercity buses are now large and modern Cyprus intercity buses are now large and modern

As a bike rider by choice, I generally get to my in-town destinations long before my driving friends. I always have the best ‘parking spot’ and probably fitter legs. With very few exceptions, I feel I do not need a car.

This past week, though, has been one of those ‘few exceptions’. Getting to and from the capital in a time-efficient and reasonably enjoyable manner has proved challenging. I used to take the occasional bus to Nicosia – back when they were small 20-seater vehicles that took a bit over an hour.

Things have improved in many ways: the buses are now modern 50-seaters, the Nicosia central station is nice and new, one-way tickets are still €5. But a ride between the centre of Limassol and the centre of Nicosia now takes about 90 minutes. Or as it says online: ‘journey duration from start to finish: 1 hour and 45 minutes approximately’.

This week I thought booking a door-to-door ride with a Travel Express mini-bus would be a good idea. The ride used to cost €8 but now they are €11, which still seems fair considering they really are door-to-door. It had been a while since I used the service and had completely forgotten that not only are you picked up at your doorstep, but six to seven other passengers are picked up from their homes as well.

Driving around on a ‘passenger collecting mission’ for 30 minutes can be unnerving. I was also unlucky for the arrival part in Nicosia. Somehow everyone else was dropped off before me and we did a curvy tour of the outskirts. I arrived at my destination almost two hours later, feeling rather carsick as our driver seemed to have visions of an alternate life as a rally driver.

I decided right there and then, pale and a bit shaky, that for my ride back I’d take a regular bus. And so I did. I enjoyed the 20-minute walk to get to the bus station through a comparatively green Nicosia and discovered the station to be even more modern, with clear signs and schedules and even a manned info booth.

I only had to wait for about 40 minutes for the almost-hourly bus. Having been on the road for over four hours for a 30-minute meeting, I was getting edgy. The bus came and I managed to secure a seat in the front and settled down to watch the bus fill with people from around the globe – and a bus driver who was rude beyond words.

I had memories of drivers in both directions being polite and cheerful, so this one came as a surprise. He was literally barking at people – if he answered at all to the basic inquiries of passengers. I tried to tune out and almost wished myself back onto a little van curving at hair-raising speed through back roads…

We stopped several times on our way out of town with no other incidents apart from continuous, uncalled-for rudeness. Back in Limassol there were several more stops, more barking and, 90 minutes later, I got off the bus to indulge in a taxi ride home.

Having spent a total of €22 and 4 hours of my time on the trip, my ‘day out’ made me decide that I shall create a database of friends and acquaintances who do drive between Limassol and the capital regularly for those ‘exceptional days’ when one really does need a car.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of December 25, 2015 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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