Cats of Paphos

Since we canceled our trip to Morocco, we chose another destination – and the odds brought us to Cyprus. Are we glad we changed our mind? Hell, yes! I’m sure Morocco would have been fun, too, but our week in Paphos was just definitely another highlight to our year.

Why, you ask? Oh, it’s because of the cats.

img_1288

For this trip, as for every other trip, we left our two cats at home. Don’t worry, they’re being taken care of while we’re away, spoiled even, by my aunt who is also our next-door neighbor (I swear they always seem to have gained weight every time we come back from our trips and they seem annoyed by our presence).

So did we really fly all the way to Cyprus to take care of other kitties? Absolutely!

When we looked up our possible options after we canceled the trip to Morocco, Paphos came to mind right away. The airline I work for offers direct flights to Paphos even in winter so the discount on tickets didn’t hurt, not to mention the accommodation rates this time of the year are awfully cheap. What really sealed the deal, though, was the tips on several travel forums and blogs I stumbled upon that featured this one place – Tala Monastery Cat Sanctuary.

img_1407

This cat sanctuary accommodates about 450 cats where they are fed, cleaned, and cared for by volunteers. You can drop by anytime within their opening hours to play or just snuggle up with some furry friends, and you can also volunteer to help feed them and clean the place up. There is no entrance fee to the park but donations are well appreciated.

We even came prepared with treats we brought all the way from home which we ended up giving to the strays we met along the way (there are really so many of them) since we were also not allowed give it to the cats inside the sanctuary to avoid starting a riot among them, understandably. So we went inside and there where cats literally everywhere. We made one round to see the whole place then found a place to sit. Almost automatically, a cat comes around to cuddle. Then another one. Then another one. Repeat a couple of times and now you’re the crazy cat lady you’ve always dreamt of becoming. I seriously never felt more loved before that moment and I couldn’t help myself wishing I had more hands to pet them with.

If only my own cats knew just how lucky they are!

img_4102

But cats are just everywhere in this city and it’s a good thing we always had treats ready. Most of them aren’t even shy so they are probably used to being fed by the people that come around randomly (it’s always a good sign to see an empty can of cat food nearby).

giphy

Even outside our apartment we found a little family – a mother and her four young kittens. We made sure mummy was well fed so she can nurse her little ones and they can grow up strong and healthy. We got her a feeding bowl to encourage other people to feed her as well.

But one evening they just weren’t sitting at their usual spot. Soon enough the mother showed up but without her kittens. We have no idea where they are or if they had been rescued, which raised the question, why only rescue the kittens and not take the mother? It just didn’t seem fair. I hope the mother just found another hiding place for them but I guess we’ll never know. We kept feeding her anyway until our very last day and hoped that other tourists will do the same.

img_1469

Here are some other photos of the cats we have met during our week in Paphos.

Rome and Cats

I don’t believe there is anything that I can tell you about Rome that you don’t already know or haven’t already seen so I’ll keep this short.

So after our trip to Santorini, we flew out to Rome to spend one night there before going back to Berlin. So with two whole days to go roam around, we tried to make the most out of it.

aP1080449
But first, lunch. Buffalo mozzarella is an essential part every trip to Italy. It’s just sooo goood.

After lunch, we took the mandatory tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Obviously, it was fantastic and worth a visit – just probably not on a summer’s day because it just gets really hot in Rome this time of the year. We would have wanted to see more if it hadn’t been 40C outside.

aP1080473
But this is just gorgeous from all angles.

We were surprised by how cheap a cab ride is in this city – to a point that we even let ourselves be toured by a local cab driver, showing us the most important attractions in this city. We didn’t have to pay more than 10 € for a 10 minute ride with light traffic.

For more flexibility, we decided to rent Vespas – one for each couple, to complete the whole Italian experience.

IMG_3029.jpg
And realised they are not exactly comfortable for riding in tandem…

At night we drove around Vatican City, and then to Fountain Trevi. Some attractions in this city are just so busy even late at night.

The next day, our friends woke up to some bad news from back home and they had to leave for LA with the next flight. We were supposed to leave Rome at night then spend the whole day in Berlin the next day and drive them to the airport the day after that. The wife and I then decided to make a quiet day of it, just driving around on our Vespa.

At some point in the afternoon, we went to Torre Argentina. Today it doubles as a cat sanctuary that houses around 150 gatti. It may be visited in the afternoons during which you may choose to adopt a little feline of all ages. They also sell some goodies like towels and mugs made by a few volunteers to help raise some money for the cats’ needs. Don’t forget to leave a donation!

aP1080507

 

aP1080520
They are so lucky to be taken care of by volunteers, surviving off donations from locals and tourists alike. And they get to live among ancient ruins of this historical city!

aP1080523

From there, we walked towards the Pantheon, which in my opinion, was the most beautiful attraction in this city. Seeing the inside of this building is free of charge and it’s just amazing how it’s still standing hundreds of years after it was built.

aP1080544

And after we have satisfied our eyes and tastebuds with all the best of Italy, we took our ride to the airport to take our flight back to Berlin. It was a short holiday indeed, but so eventful.

Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 22.46.30
All these in less than a week!

 

Ah, but before we go…

aP1080540
Gelato!

Cats of Airbnb

I talk a lot about Airbnb on this blog, I know. I swear, they don’t pay me to promote them but I do it anyway because the people I like are the ones that are okay with sleeping at someone else’s home and not looking for 5* hotel kind of service (especially when they don’t have the 5* hotel kind of budget, you know) when traveling. I salute everyone who prefers to travel cheap to see more.

Another thing that I really like talking about is… CATS. One great advantage of booking an Airbnb is meeting the hosts’ pets (if they have any). Whenever we travel, we miss our cats because we can’t take them with us so it’s nice when we get to seek some comfort from other people’s pets. LOL

Amsterdam, Netherlands (2014)

IMG_1463
This beautiful Maine Coon’s name is Pookie. She was only a kitten at the time, hence, was very curious and she kept sneaking into our room to sniff around our stuff.

 

Sintra, Portugal (2015)

IMG_4103
He is the king of the beautiful estate we stayed at. Our hosts said he was 13 years old at the time we were there. I hope he’s still doing well!

 

Zadar, Croatia (2016)

P1010078
The friendly one. She greets everyone who comes in and demands to be cuddled.

P1010081
The tricky one. She doesn’t like to be touched. Instead, she wants you to just watch her roll around on the spot you were just about to sit on.