We spent 4 days in Ayia Napa, and unfortunately the weather was not the best. Sunshine, but constantly alternating with heavy rains and wind. Consequently, we could not visit the places around Ayia Napa as much as I wanted, and of course, sketching on the sites was quite impossible. Still we managed to make a trip East of Ayia Napa, on the coast, to the Cape Gkreko. This is where I was first really confronted with “The Cats of Cyprus”. I had met one the day before in the cemetery of Ayia Napa, but this was quite normal, I thought, cats go usually to cemeteries when they go out. In Cape Gkreko though, they had taken over the church! I sketched the one who seemed to be the boss. He majestically modelled for me like an archbishop for a Vatican painting. Well, who knows? The Vatican might be interested!
From that moment on, I noticed that cats were everywhere in Cyprus. One day I even saw a T-Shirt featuring “All The Cats of Cyprus”: .
big mouth cat, stoned cat, seriously pissed-off cat, horny cat, romantic cat, wicked cat, shy cat, confused cat
Yes, by the time we left Cyprus I had met them all and they constantly appear in my paintings. I apologise to all my followers who are allergic to cats, but I really had no chance of keeping them away!
On our last day in Ayia Napa, we went west to the coast, to a little harbour called Potamos …. It was a weird place, chaotic somehow, but very romantic too, as if from another time…
At some point while we walking along the beach at the end of the harbour, Kevin suddenly stopped and said:
“Potamos… does it mean river?
and I felt some ancient anger emerging from the depths of my delicate soul .. I will tell later why…
“Look, the hippopotamus.. they are river horses aren’t they? Hippo means horses, right?”
I must say, that guy is sometimes very clever! I gave him a big hug for that and added:
“There is Mesopotamia too… could be true, you know!
I loved that logical explanation, but so far I haven’t checked if it is right… too scared that it isn’t. But from that moment, we called “potamos” every river or stream we saw in Cyprus and Crete , big potamos, little potamos, dry potamos, wild potamos, confused potamos, pissed-off potamos, etc… sounded really cultivated! When I was young I had 8 eight years of Latin at school, and I adored it, I really did. Nobody could ever understand that, but I found it very exciting. As a third language (the first being English) I wanted to take ancient Greek, but my father said no. I had a hard time understanding why, as my two brothers before me were forced to learn it. And then along came me and I wanted to do it, of my own free will, and I was not allowed. Instead I had to learn Spanish, and to cap it all, with a black-bearded teacher I hated. Ridiculous! I still haven’t forgiven my father for that!
As I said, this Potamos was quite chaotic . Some of the places right by the docks looked like as if people had their living room there…
In this painting the whole décor is faithful to the place, but to be honest, the old man himself was not really there. But I am sure that he often sits in this armchair, at sunset, thinking of all the fishes he caught in this potamos when he was younger…
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