The View Point Near Macharias Monestery looking towards Nicosia.
No this isn't a post about what medication I may or may not be taking.... it is an update on what we have been doing recently.We had TBH's Ma and Pa with us for a couple of weeks, and to me they are foundly know as The Pil.... (Parents In Law). It had been a year since their last visit so there was lots to catch up on and of course during that time we had moved to a totally different side of the Island so there were many more things to see. So, after having prepared for their arrival and tried to make sure that the place was spick and span, and planning a few menus, naturally I dropped my CHO ( Chief Household Officer) hat and reached once more for my CTO ( Chief Tour Officer) hat. I am not sure which one I like wearing best. It is always good to get out and about when people come, and it is a great oportunity to see places that you haven't seen before or haven't been to in a while, but it also takes one out of the daily routine and gives the wrong impression to those who visit that all you do all day is swan around the countryside of Cyprus enjoying the delights of what it has to offer. Obviously that is not the case in my regular life.
The doors and streets of the pretty village of Lefkara
The Streets of Northern Nicosia.
We went across to Northern Cyprus, the borders have been open for a while now and so we made our way to Lidras street and went through the immigration formalities and crossed into the other side. It is a pretty simple procedure but a very stark reminder of what happened here in 1974 and I cannot begin to imagine how awful it must have been and still is for people on both sides of the green line.To see a city divided like that in modern day Europe is very disturbing, peoples houses used as the buffer zone and family and friends divided by a crazy war. United Nations flags and signs everywhere, but one has to wonder what they have achieved.
It was pleasant on the other side, and I guess in a way somewhat comforting, with familiar sounds, smells and sights all around us. The call to prayer from the mosque,the street stalls cooking food, Sharwarmas!!!!! We have not had any of this since we left Dubai and it was strange how 'Normal' it all seemed to us. We had a very pleasant lunch in a square near the check point and then ventured back to the South.
On another ocassion we went North again,this time with the car. We drove to the crossing near the Nicosia horse racing track, obtained our insurance, showed our passports and drove through, once again a very simple procedure and there were obviously people doing it on a weekly or daily basis. The drive once out of the City was glorious and once we had climed the mountians the views from the crest out across the sea and Kyrenia were breathtaking. Once again it reminded us of Fujairah in the UAE, with the moutians so close to the sea. We found a parking place in Kyrenia and walked along the promanade to the little harbour where we stopped for Pa to have is midmorning coffee. It was very quaint and picturesque and I almost felt like I could have been in Muscat, Oman. Coffee over, we walked around the castle and meandered back to the car.
Then, we made our way to Bellapaix, which is a village tucked into the mountain side where Lawrence Durrell wrote Bitter Lemons. We found a beautiful little boutique hotel that I had already seen on the internet and marked as a possible weekend retreat for the future, The Bellapaix Gardens. It is next to the dramatic Bellapaix abbey.We decided to stop and have lunch here and we were very glad that we did. The views were stunning and the food drinks and service very good too. We are hoping to return very soon.
View from The Bellapaix Gardens.
Naturally we visited Larnaca and the littel villages in the surrounding area. The Pil's took themselves off to Cape Greco and on a boat trip to celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary!!!! Congratulations to them. We took them to Lord Kitchener's restaurant in Psematismenos village to celebrate. It is actually the building in which Lord Kitchener stayed when he was here mapping the island. We love it there, the food is wonderful, the owners Pina and Chef Dean are great, very friendly full of humour and chat, we always enjoy our visit. If you are on the Island try it. http://www.lordkitchener.eu/