The number 16 changes course on its way back from the 4,000 year old ruins at Kourion, outside the Cypriot port of Limassol. It heads down towards the coast in the other direction, leaving you in its dusty wake on the other side of the road, wondering how long til the next one and where to catch it.
Salvation is at hand with a tiny local taverna visible through the trees and down a slope, the only building as far as the eye can see. A sign for Ouzo 12, a modern mural of Grecian lovers playing the harp, a cheesy cherubic fountain, beautiful cascading white and pink hydrangeas and the bases of two ancient pillars are its decoration.
Three old boys – easily 75 plus – sit on plastic orange chairs drinking cold beers, talking to each other, but all at separate tables, not making eye contact. Each to their own, a world away.
A sign saying ‘Bar service’ makes it clear where to order, while ‘fish meze’ are on special. An enormous ice cold bottle of Keo – ‘Proudly brewed on the island of Cyprus’ comes with its matching glass.
A halloumi and ham sandwich in a pillowy bun comes with good fries and salad that reminds you what tomatoes should taste like. The halloumi, everyone’s favourite squeaky cheese, is fried til tinged with brown. This being the Med, oil, vinegar and seasoning are entirely down to you. The fries are hot and in need of salt, then perfect. The beer remains cold as lunch is finished. The total cheque will be 7.40 euros, i.e. $HK63.There is nothing not to like about this nondescript little joint at the foot of a cliff on which sits one of the Mediterranean’s finest archaeological sites. Maybe it was busy once upon a time, but certainly not today. The warm and affable owner with very good English seems happy with his world. So he should be, in the shade of the Cyprus sun.
He points me towards where to take the elusive bus, but not before saying: “You still have five minutes, please, finish your beer”.
Address: It’s the only tavern off the road at the foot of the Kourion ruins, before it leads towards the beach.