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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Went to Cyprus by tube

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. Even travelling around the London tube you get hints of other places - this time Cyprus.  This post is by Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about books and blogs). 

I went to Cyprus - by tube - this weekend. And so can you, if you live in London - or are visiting - as a few stops from City Airport on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) you can make a detour to Cyprus. It's named after a nearby long-demolished Victorian estate, that was named after Britain's successful conquest of the third largest island in the Mediterranean, in 1848, see more here or here. It's all very modern: and quite hard to imagine being in Cyprus (no olive trees, no tourists) but there's an underground bar, a university campus (University of East London) which is absolutely empty on Sundays. But it does boast the best spot for sunbathing by the Thames - so long as you don't mind watching planes take off and land. Actually that may be what makes it just a little bit like Cyprus - watching the people come and go.

Lola, 13: "One of my friends is part Cypriot and talks about her papou (grandfather) and because I'd been reading on the tube it was really weird to look up and see a London station called Cyprus because I know it is a country. Then we went to a place opposite the airport which was really interesting - you could see how planes took off and landed. I wonder how many had come from the Mediterranean?"

Postcard summary
Quick summary about Cyprus - it's tourist heaven, but has been constantly fought over throughout history. There is still tension between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Britain also has two airbases there. Lots to find out at wikipedia.

Cheapo tourism is changing?
It's just £234 per person for seven nights half board with flights from Stansted for a week in a Cyprus resort hotel. But the popularity of this type of holiday seems to be on the wane. However tempting a dose of hotter sun can be in February (or many other months in Britain!), being stuck in a resort is becoming less of a holiday fashion. This is anecdotal - but it seems that adventure and experience holidays are on the up - great news as this type of experience can be easily done in the UK.

News reports suggest that many of the eastern Mediterranean holiday providers, such as Turkey, are now more interested in paying attention to Arabic visitors from the Gulf states because they are more generous spenders than Europeans. The trend started after 2011 Arab spring, see the Guardian here. By January 2012 tourism in nearby Istanbul was changing, see story here, but the quote below shows that it's all about money:

Ramazan Bingöl, head of the Association of All Restaurants, Eateries and Suppliers and owner of the Ramazan Bingöl Et restaurant, said: "Ten Arab guests spend as much money as 40 guests from a western country. They don't come with tour buses, and do not want to eat fixed menus at a fixed price." 
According to numbers published by the Turkish tourism industry, Arab tourists spent approximately £1,700 per person in shops and restaurants, nearly four times as much as western tourists.
It is probably better for everyone that generous-spending Arab neighbours get to know their area better than us penny-pinching Brits take up the cheapo package deals involving a long flight from home.
The good news is that a quick Oyster-card funded trip down the Docklands Light Railway to take in Cyprus is going to be very light on your carbon footprint. Here's to a safe journey!
Over to you
What's your favourite train station name that reminds you of somewhere else? I've been through Wellington recently (just near Wolverhampton, not in New Zealand), and now Cyprus. What gives you a little frisson of travel pleasure without having to leave home?

1 comment:

Pete May said...

We also went to Atlantis, walking down Atlantis Avenue on the way to Gallions Reach on the Thames and then the woolwich Ferry. The first sighting of Atlantis since it appeared in the Jon Pertwee era Dr who story The Time Monster!