Sunday, 13 March 2016 20:41

Let’s just walk there

Walking is not Limassolians' most favorite activity Walking is not Limassolians' most favorite activity

‘Let’s just walk there,’ said no Limassolian, ever. Especially not this past Thursday. It was ‘Fat Thursday’ and Limassol’s old town was packed. The Carnival Serenaders were out to kick off the season with their joyful songs.

The Queen of Carnival and her entourage, dignitaries and many, many carnival fans were quite literally having a ball. Meat and sausages were being grilled on every sidewalk, outside every café. The atmosphere was jovial and very lively… For those on foot, that is.

Most streets in the centre were also packed with less-happy carnival-lovers in their cars; traffic on one of the streets had even come to a total standstill, with annoyed drivers honking and shouting.

Everybody was trying to get to the centre and be part of the fun; yet, nobody wanted to walk.

As usual, I was on my bike and I passed parking spaces on my way there and on my way home. But I guess a 10- or 15-minute walk is just deemed ‘not fashionable’? Unsafe? Too tiring? Surely it would be more fun to walk a few blocks than being stuck in your car for 30 minutes only a 100m from where the party’s at?

People keep complaining that there ‘isn’t enough parking in town’, but one has to be realistic; Limassol is a small town with many shops, offices and narrow, old streets. Most other cities around the world with an old city centre and no underground parking will also require you to walk. True, most towns do have some form of public transport, but I will keep insisting that the majority of locals would not get on a bus, even if it picked them up outside their living room door.

Friends keep telling me that people are just lazy, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for all either.

The sea promenade is filled with avid walkers in the mornings, evenings and at the weekend.

Or maybe that’s a way of making up for a week of physical inactivity, seated behind the wheel, driving round the block 10 times, looking for that parking spot less than 20m from that shop or office.

As one friend pointed out, this obsession with driving everywhere also has to do with the fact that one needs to go everywhere by car because, at one point in the day, one will have to pick up one or more children at school, take them some place, pick them up again… They, too, are not used to walking and will grow up to be adults who also won’t walk anywhere.

This would now take the whole discussion back to the topic of ineffective bus systems and non-existent sidewalks. But not wanting to open that can of worms, I will continue marvelling at how utterly unpopular walking is in downtown Limassol and at the great lengths people will go to, to avoid it.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of March 11, 2016 

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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