If you feel you won’t have enough communication with your fellow Cypriot compatriots FEAR NOT. A small trip to North London (Enfield, Southgate etc.) and you’ll be reunited with them.
According to the London Cypriot Embassy there are currently around 200,000-250,000 Greek Cypriots in London. Here are some places you can visit to feel right at home 🙂
The food market
If you’re craving a typical Cypriot market (pantopolio opos to lalumen) then Despina’s supermarket is the way to go. You’ll literally feel you’re in the agora tou Agiou Antoniou (if you’re from Nicosia). As soon as you enter you’ll be greeted by the familiar noise of news by RIK playing on the TV AND radio.
If you take a look around, you’ll see familiar products, kafe pou ton laiko kafekoptio, halva, soutzoukko, tashinoppittes (pano apola), koupes and anything else your heart desires. you can even buy vegetables imported from Cyprus. AND you can do your online shopping on the website. Although the products are a bit overpiced, it’s worth it. By the way, no, I’m not sponsored by the shop. You can find more Greek-Cypriot specialised shops in London, for example, Andreas Michli & Sons in Harringay who were also featured in the ‘Top 10 things to do in Harringay’ list. You can find also products produced by Cypressa, a Cypriot company based in the UK, in one of the big supermarkets over here, like Asda or Tesco.
The clubbing / Bouzoukia
If you’re dying to go to bouzoukkia, then the restaurant/club, Elysee is the one for you! For those who don’t know what “Bouzoukia” is, it’s a Greek night club playing a specific type of music called “laika” live. Meanwhile you drink, dance, throw napkins and break plates (I think they still do that if i’m not mistaken). Upstairs you will also find a small yet cosy (and when I say cosy, I mean really cosy!) club playing the latest Greek hits. Although I do warn you, it can get hot in there to the point of sweating so dress lightly and if you’re claustrophobic then DO NOT GO!
The Cypriot Wine Festival
Every year the Greek-Cypriot community organises a two-day wine festival, because we all know how much we like wine, accompanied with souvlakia and other traditional delicacies. Cypriots from all over London, as well as non-Cypriots gather to eat, drink and listen to music (basically what we like to do most lol!).
The Cold – the good and the bad
For us Cypriots the word ‘cold’ is unknown and doesn’t exist in our vocabulary. If it’s 20 degrees we think it’s freezing which is ridiculous.
In the UK you’ll soon realise that 20 degrees is summertime and, trust me, you will be thankful when those rare days come by. You’ll want to skip uni, do nothing and go to the park to sunbathe. Oh, the park is another thing! When it’s sunny here people go to the park, NOT the beach. I know it sounds weird but obviously they don’t have beaches here, and, trust me, Brighton doesn’t count unless a place full of pebbles counts as a beach. Plus once you go back to the hot and sticky weather back home you’ll stop complaining about sweating and start appreciating the sun that’s burning your face off.
Also check out Evening Standard’s article on ‘Little Cyprus’.
On the other hand, you will get used to the cold, and Christmas is so much better here (stay tuned for a Christmas blog post) and you can actually feel the Christmas spirit unlike in Cyprus.
Thanks to our guest blogger Marissa Kirkou. Read this post and other stories on Marissa’s personal blog