Well, I finally made it to a destination where Cath is currently living! Sort of a ‘Happy Birthday, lets go on holiday’ thing.
The time difference in Cyprus from home is 5 hours behind…. so 7am Cyprus time is mid day my time… took a little getting used to that, but thats where working shift work all these years has helped
I landed in Larnaca after a very pleasant first experience with Emirates on their Airbus A380. From there it was about a one hour trip to Nicosia. We walked into town from Cath’s apartment, where we had a Segway tour planned of Old Nicosia.
For those of you that have never ridden a Segway… DO IT!! So easy, and great fun. Very little effort was required which was great since I had just got off the plane. We toured Old Nicosia for about three hours, looking at all the points of interest. I was fascinated by the buffer zone… I know… there are a million other nice things to see, but this was something kind of alien to me. The zone that separates Cyprus south from Cyprus north… a no go zone… blocked with concrete walls and razor wire. Believe me, I don’t think you could ‘accidentally’ wander into this area. The derelict buildings and overgrown tumbleweeds gave you that impression of absolute desertion.
I got a closer look at this zone the next day when we entered Cyprus north through the checkpoint. It was a simple process to get across the checkpoint. Our destination was Kyrenia harbour which is overlooked by Kyrenia Castle… It was Cath’s birthday today, so something kind of special as we hardly ever get to see each other on birthdays.
The harbour was beautiful. Normally I can find more words, but the images still make me smile and forget everything except the moment. I could live in a place like this!! Then there is the castle… again… WOW! We spent several hours climbing up and down stairs exploring every level we could find. It is huge! The views from the castle back over the harbour are stunning.
We had a lot of fun in the castle taking photos. Everything is limestone, so you can imagine what colour we were when we finally surfaced for lunch after rolling around trying to get that ‘perfect picture’.. OK… Cath looked better than I did… I was the one rolling around…
So dusty and satisfied we headed back to the harbour for a bite to eat. The food in Cyprus is amazing… The fish tastes like it has just been caught… no recycled frozen bits here. And of course, being Cath’s birthday, it was justified having seafood for lunch. This included whole bream, sardine, calamari and other assorted fish… Another new experience as I had never eaten a fish off its skeleton before. I was completely satisfied. The taste was incredible. And of course there was wine… and then, the glass of Brandy ‘on the house’.
We completed the day with a drive along the coastline, looking at beautiful blue water. Buildings here seem to be very random… like some kid had building blocks and just threw them everywhere. They are also half finished or empty. From the coast, if you look across the ocean, the haze in the distance is actually the mountains in Turkey.
We finished the night with dinner back in Nicosia with friends of Cath’s. Lots of wine, great food (Italian!) and great company.
Next day was the Troodos mountains. Took us a couple of hours to get there, but was well worth it. Completely different scenery of rocky and sandy mountains covered in pines and thrilling winding roads that made your ears pop every couple of metres as you ascended or descended the mountain.
We took a ‘short’ hike to the Caledonia Waterfalls. I say short, because the map said it was a 2km round trip… I think they meant as the crow flies and didn’t include all the windy trails and steps you had to go up and down. We kept walking until finally we came to the waterfall… yep, it was worth it. More photographs, then retraced our steps back to the car (about a 6km round trip) to find we had parked outside a fresh Trout farm and restaurant. ‘Great’ we thought.. and settled into a lunch that we thought would be fresh Trout and chips… nope.. we got the crumbed frozen fish fillets out of the packet and some soggy chips… needless to say, they received no tip… finished the day by winding up and down the mountains and dining at a Japanese restaurant in Nicosia.
On Friday (I think it was now about the 8th May??) we went to the southern coastal town of Pafos, to the Archaeological site of the Tombs of the Kings…Ok… so real kings weren’t buried there, just some really wealthy dudes who no one knows anything about, but it was still really interesting, particularly since the tombs had been buried at some stage and then re- dug out… Its OK… they took the bodies out, so there weren’t any skeletons or anything, just empty rooms.
For lunch we went down to the port. Unlike yesterday, there was no frozen crumbed fillets here. The fish were so fresh you got to pick them out of the tank… just don’t name them before you eat them! We ordered seafood meze… it started with bread, simple enough… then there was the salad. Ok. Everyone needs their greens. Then there was sardine, octopus, prawn, squid, and other stuff… It didn’t stop there. The plates kept coming… Sword fish, clam (I think) and another fish of some sort. OMG!!! We did not need to eat dinner later.
Instead, when we returned home, we settled in with a bottle of Moet.. Some of us have a good life… no. Actually, some of us have a GREAT life 🙂
Next post… Bucharest. Thanks Cyprus. You have amazed me.