|No Man's Land in Cyprus|
This week’s blog is really a double edition as internet is difficult to get from Allen’s apartment, and I have to impose on someone else on the complex to get my emails and things.
There has been quite a few changes to the reception of English TV here whilst we’ve been here and most of the UK’s channels have now moved to a new more focused satellite (Astra N1), this means That Allen can only get BBC channels and they will soon be moving also. I think that this will have also affected us in Lefkas but I’ve not had any emails yet asking my advise with regards to this so we shall have to wait and see until we return home.
We have now been in Cyprus for two weeks and the weather has finally decided to improve a little. At least the wind has dropped we had a season gale for a couple of days last week which it seems comes every year at the same time give or take a couple of days. At the time we were in the north of the island in Turkish ruled Cyprus and the sea was more akin to Atlantic rollers than the more usual Mediterranean seas. Temperatures have been getting down to about five or six degree’s overnight and the air temperatures during the day only reaching about fourteen degrees. This isn’t as bad as it may sound because if the sun is out it’s extremely pleasant as long as you are not exposed to the wind.
|Allen, Jean & Sandra.|
Last Thursday morning we set off for border with northern Cyprus with the first stop being the seaside resort of Famagusta, now known as Gazimagusa by the Turks who have changed many of the place names. The old town is beautiful, soaked in a history spanning a thousands of years from the ancient Greeks and Romans via the Crusades’ of Richard the Lion Heart and later Crusades to the seventies conflict between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots and all other major Mediterranean civilisations in between.
|Church converted to a Mosque.|
Many large churches have been converted to Mosques by having the tower tops removed and replaced with minarets. There is a type of no-man’s-land which stretches away across the island which has a constant UN presence and on the Turkish side it’s constantly patrolled by Turkish Army soldiers who can be seen in the many watchtowers watching the border through powerful binoculars. The beach at Famagusta is probably one of the best in the whole of the Mediterranean but is spoilt by the fact that the border cuts part of it off and that the part beyond the border is littered with decaying buildings complete with myriad bullet holes. All in all it gives a very sad feeling to the place. I would think that the political and religious differences between these peoples probably goes straight over the man in the streets head and it’s a real shame that they can’t get their heads together and let some common sense prevail. Will it happen? Probably not!
|Sandra & Jean scaling in the tracks of Crusaders.|
|Old canon with Transit wheels!!|
|A couple of the many ruins in Famagusta.|
There are wild donkeys living up here and nearly at the end an old disused Greek Monastery, this is currently surrounded by a market at which all the goods are left on the stalls covered in plastic and no people are really about to stop any thefts. How the market is supported I don’t really know because it miles and miles from anywhere, perhaps in the tourist season people are bussed in the buy the offerings.
|Allen with his BIG gun!|
We managed to see three of the wild donkeys but not the herds of them which I had been expecting. The land all over northern Cyprus looks very fertile and there are huge flattish area’s which you would expect to be used for agriculture but it’s not, you get the feeling that no one is really prepared to help themselves.
|Inside Kerenia Castle|
|Sandra in an Abbey just outside Kerenia|
|Eat your heart out Liberace!|
Our last day in the north was completed by a visit to the Island capital city Nicosia (or Lefcosia to the Greeks or Lefkosa to the Turks) The place naming is confusing and you need to buy both a Greek and a Turkish Map if you are visiting both areas as you will get lost without.
Nicosia is the only divided capital city in Europe again there is a military no go area across the centre there are a couple of places you can cross through a checkpoint with the car on the outskirts and in the town centre there is one pedestrian crossing point, again some very beautiful buildings which have been severely defaced with bullet holes. I wonder once again who gains by all this conflict!
|Chef working in the middle of the restaurant.|
I won't be writing any more blog until I get back to Lefkas on the 29th February as it's not easy getting access to the net and having to depend on strangers good will. Hope every one we know is keeping well and we'll talk again soon.