We spent most of our time in Cyprus in Pissouri, a village in the south part of the island. On our first morning, we walked into a charity shop in search of decent cookware. I recited γεια σας, γεια σας, γεια σας (hello in Greek) over and over in my head to prepare myself…
… before being greeted by two British woman.
According to that quick search on the Internet that I didn’t make before arriving, the Pissouri population is about half Cypriots and half expats, mostly British. Interestingly, this doesn’t make it feel touristy (we visited other villages whose kitschy shops and postcards were much more what I imagine as a tourist town), even though it does feel like a large portion of the economy is designed to cater to the retired British who call Pissouri their home.
For example, the food. While walking through the village one day, I was cajoled into a small shop whose main product is meat flown weekly from the UK, because of its perceived superiority over Cypriot meats. (I have no opinion on this question of quality; I’m not really the target audience since I don’t cook meat.)
The main grocery store also has tons of traditional British imported products, from clotted cream to sharp cheddar.
For historical reference: Cyprus is a former British colony who fought a bloody, guerrilla warfare style battle for its independence (and its right to join Greece, which for many complicated reasons, did not happen) in the 1950s . Just knowing this, I would not expect the British to still be there in such large numbers. Then again, perhaps it’s as Lawrence Durrell (British) writes in Bitter Lemons of Cyprus; it’s not that Cypriots wanted the British to leave. It’s that they didn’t want them to be masters over them. (This seems like a pretty reasonable desire to me.)
As English-speakers, we were generally just assumed to be British, so we embraced it and frequently paired hard cider with our halloumi and pita. Overall, Pissouri was a lovely, relaxed place to call home for a month. The shots below are from my walks to and within the village.