With no boot and no luggage stowage facility, three pairs of eyes capped by frowns turned away from the coach and fell on the mobility scooter. It had to accompany us, but how? The coach had been booked to convey our group of 20(ish) from Paphos to Petreon Sculpture Park, a good two hours away. This was the first pick up spot, right by the beach and only four of us were boarding here, including my friend Christina, owner of the scooter. The driver and I stood on either side of the machine, dusted off our palms and set to hauling it up the narrow steps. “You take the heavy end” I indicated, knowing full well that he didn’t speak a word of English.
The scooter ended up in the seat next to the driver with handlebars protruding from the window and rear end nudging the gearstick. We were on our way. We stopped twice more (instigated by Christina thumping hard on the driver’s arm. I think she caught his cheek on one occasion when he turned round unexpectedly and, to give him his due, he took these random beatings extremely well). At one stop we were in danger of becoming tightly wedged in a underground car park and at each stop more eager ladies boarded in similar fashion; first a tupperware lunchbox would be thrust into the interior of the coach, hotly followed by a heaving bosom, the rim of a floppy sunhat atop a puce face and the issue of a hearty “Good morning”.
The journey then passed without incident except that the driver, having no idea of our destination, decided that Larnaca International Airport would do. I think he was hellbent on sending us packing. Christina phoned the chap at the sculpture park for directions and passed the handset to the driver. After several highly charged exchanges in Greek he set off and began wildly circling a roundabout next to a police station. The group of officers drinking coffee outside showed no interest whatsoever as our driver yelled continuously into the phone clamped to his ear. Suddenly we swung down a narrow, bumpy road roaring away in a cloud of sand.
The park appeared as an oasis of tranquillity in the sandy terrain.
Savvas Koulendros the sculptor was there to greet us. Sporting a soft brimmed hat, baggy shorts weighted with tool pockets and leather shoes caked in plaster, he squinted into the midday sun, smiling broadly. Savvas lived with his lively, pretty daughter and her Swedish husband, all three pursuing a love of creating art through fabric, stone or canvas.
There was an initial threatened uprising within the group when it transpired that there was NO CAKE but the crisis was averted by a mutual popping of tupperware. The driver, clutching a frappé, sprawled across a plastic chair under an olive tree, silently surveying his charges. I did seriously consider easing him into the recovery position.
Savvas works with the differing stones found thoughout the island of Cyprus. His sculpting adventure began when at the age of 50 he set out in search of a hobby. Taking his inspiration from real life experiences, his sculptures portray human values, beliefs and the wisdom of ages.
Rat’s Tail Cactus
Petreon Sculpture Park – well worth a visit if you’re headed for Cyprus. Along with the handiwork on display, I promise that you’ll love the engaging Savvas and his hospitable family.