Αρχική Τελευταία Νέα Ένας επαναπατρισθέντας Λεμεσιανός μιλά για την πόλη του, “Limassol: home to every...

Ένας επαναπατρισθέντας Λεμεσιανός μιλά για την πόλη του, “Limassol: home to every world-citizen, Yes it is Limassol, and it is my City” | Lemesos

They say, “It is important to stay positive because beauty comes from the inside out”.

Over the course of the past couple of months – while I reconnected with old friends and souls of the past – I have been repeatedly asked “Why have you come back to Limassol Erik?” and more than anything, “Erik, what will you do here?” Not to mention all the people (special thanks to a couple of them) who had aggressively “campaigned” against my decision to come back to Cyprus.

If you have been an expat for quite some time then you have probably started feeling that you belong wherever you find something that holds you. You see the world differently (perhaps more maturely one would argue), and you set yourself apart, you consider yourself a citizen of the world rather than a resident in it.Yet however, every time you fly back to your hometown the air is different, the breeze feels kind of lighter and everything seems more relaxed, peaceful and serene. It is a particular set of feelings that you can’t really explain and you just let yourself experience it.

After roughly 15 years living abroad in cosmopolitan cities and principalities I took the decision to relocate back to the little island of Aphrodite and more precisely in Limassol. It is easy for me to describe the evolution “Before” & “After” but this post isn’t at all about the growth of the city – surely all cities, countries and locations share the same path some sooner than others. This article is about how every world-citizen can feel like home when he is in Limassol. Those special ingredients that make home unique.

Let’s get the obvious facts out of the way, Yes Cyprus has 320 registered days of sunshine and probably 300 days of 20+ degrees Celsius, Yes Cyprus is the safest country (population < 5mln), Yes Cyprus has more than 50 blue-flag beaches, Yes Cyprus has high living conditions, Yes Cyprus ranked 5th place to relocate globally, Yes Cyprus has great food and Yes Yes Yes to whatever fact you want to state. However, all this doesn’t make you feel like home, they definitely make your living awesome but that’s not the point.

Some fifteen years ago I decided to leave the island and never look back. Indeed I kept that promise, I have lived abroad ever since in places presumably more classy, bigger than a tiny island and…what some people might claim “more developed” – whatever should this define.

Point 1: It’s all about communication!

You will find that people from Limassol are the easiest to communicate with. Probably half of the population are foreigners, whatever language you use in your sentence is going to be understood by the other party. I was having a coffee the other day and the friend used 5 languages in one sentence, of course her point got across and the chat continued flawlessly. Even the labor workers that try to speak the local language (Greek/ Cypriot dialect, English and whatever other word we absorbed) are not at all judged or criticized or looked at differently because they don’t speak fluent Greek.

After all, have you ever seen a French or a Russian person coming into your shop with confidence asking for “one sketto cafe parakalo” ? No offence to my fellow French and Russian friends.

Or better, how many times will you listen the words “E re koubare..”, in situations when in other countries the police would come to clear things up.

Finding: Only in your home you feel at ease when you speak – the level of comfort of getting your point across easily and without any trouble.

Point 2: You set your own pace!

How many people will get this wrong, I wonder!

To be clear, I do not by any mean refer to “work hard play hard” or “you want more then work more” or anything alike. Simply, the degree of ease of making new friends is impeccable in Limassol – again thanks to the multi-cultural, international environment. At such level that whenever you get off work you make a call to 3-4 friends and chances are that half of them will be available for a casual drink. No pre-planning, no pre-booking agendas, no tubes, no public transport dependency (you may live 30km away and a person from Limassol will drive from the other side of the city to come and pick you up just because you live in the same city and “distances are small”.

Finding: You feel at home when you visit your hometown on Xmas holidays because you need no planning to see friends and family.

Point 3: Even when there is nothing to do, you are still busy!

It’s incredible how the above point interferes with this one. There are days that people have literally nothing to do, those god damn hangover Sundays and yet someone will ring you up and offer you a “Frappe”, long story short, two hours have passed and you just tanned at the beach. On your way back home you drive the 30km coastal line and you stop at the crowd, when you realize there is a concert that was not even promoted. Surely you stop for a bit and soon that awkward moment when you realize that it is midnight and you have a 7am wake-up call tomorrow morning, yet you still continue because Limassol is all about having a good fiesta.

Finding: Only when you are home you don’t feel the need of planning and live the moment.

Point 4: Those god damn calories

If there is one thing that you don’t change in the whole world, it’s those typical dishes from your hometown that you fell in love with when you were young and you crave when you are away! The same kind of dishes that you will find in numerous restaurants in the city of Limassol. You like fish? No worries you can eat the best fish on the island, Meat? Russian ? Lebanese? Syrian? Japanese? Italian? You name it, some of the city’s best restaurants represent the best cuisines at any style you want, fish tavern in the sea you got it, fish tavern in the mountains you got it. Name your thing and you’ll have it.

Not to mention that, when they eat..they EAT! Every dinner is a fiesta and every fiesta is like your last fiesta.

Finding: Only at home you allow yourself to eat as a pig and still be happy about it.

Point 5: Let’s get down to business !

Speaking about before & after, one can easily remember the first traffic lights a couple of decades ago and one can easily forget the half a billion marina with residences on the sea that was recently developed.

Limassol is about the only city I found so far that understood the basics of how to create a city brand name while making it more attractive to foreigners and to its residents.

The “town planning” division has done an extraordinary job in putting down a masterplan that serves the people living in Limassol. Developing and renovating the city center, improving the infrastructure and giving a new soul to the coastal line that stretches 30+km long – one of the longest (if not the longest) in the Mediterranean.

What was once an abandoned seaside street is now becoming a commercial coastal boulevard with skyscrapers.

As much impact the private sector had in this economic revamp, that much the public sector has helped by:

  • Introducing one of the top passport investment schemes that lures property investors hence the solid growth of real estate.
  • Presenting an assortment of tax benefits (lower income taxes, exemptions and low Corporate tax currently set at 12.5% one of the lowest in the EU).
  • Simplifying the employment process of non-EU nationals

Understandably enough, foreign companies have settled down on the island bringing great skills and talent in sectors that were predominantly absent. We see mega-projects getting approved by the authorities such as the biggest Casino-Resort in Europe and other mega-commercial landmarks that place Limassol high up in the global ranking.

Finding: Yes it has a robust business sector that proved solid as a rock.

You can call a place home, only when you feel it. Yes it is Limassol, and it is my City.

*As much as I experience and value the city’s growth, one cannot neglect to mention the sacrifices that the Cypriot people have endured over the last years as a result of the financial crisis. It takes courage to move forward and work tireless.

They say, “It is important to stay positive because beauty comes from the inside out”.

Strategic Development | Luxury | Digital & Ecommerce | Msc Luxury Brand Management | Co-founder of Club-Exquisite…