A Cypriot Christmas

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
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29
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Trip End Jun 01, 2012


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Where I stayed
http://www.villa-holiday.co.uk/owners/1099/villa.htm

Flag of Cyprus  ,
Saturday, January 10, 2009

This Christmas mother nature gave us all a gift...

After much mental wrestling we finally decided to forgo our "cold" Bulgarian ski trip and head into an area of sun and warmth... for many of our vacation days, Cyprus gifted us with this wish. Cyprus is a largish island found off the southern coast of Turkey... heading deep into the Mediterranean... towards Africa... An island of rolling mountains dotted with small villages and modern cities interspersed amongst the sandy bays that line the coast... and like many places in this region of the world... it is a ruggedly beautiful land that has been peppered with human tension and strife for thousands of years. I am not going to go into too much of the history of the place... let me just say that Cyprus is an island made up of two countries, Northern Cyprus (a mostly Moslem nation) and Southern Cyprus (a predominately Christian country)........ well, at least according to many of the Turkish Cypriots in the Northern part of the island... the Southern Cypriots call it an occupied land... either way the history is complex and convoluted and hard to ascertain as to the villains and the victims of this long drawn out production...


We flew into Lefkosa in the North, took a taxi to the border, walked to the Turkish Cypriot checkpoint, with passports checked we headed through the Green Line Zone, an area of void that separates not only the city's Northern and Southern citizens but the entire country... it is a slightly spooky place, and our 7:00 p.m. crossing left Carsten and Aidan painting pictures of snipers hiding in bullet ridden buildings that lined both sides of the street... after this short jaunt we crossed into the Southern part of the city, Nicosia received an EU passport stamp and hooked up with the family we rented a car from... jumped in the car and headed through the city to a fabulously modern highway that wound us to our banana grove hideaway in the Kissonerga Bay area... on the wrong side of the road that is... When the Brits colonized Cyprus many years back they set up the road system English Style... took me a bit to get used to... driving on the left while sitting on the right... The guys thought is was "cool" and later in the trip we snuck into quiet back roads and gave them a turn at driving on dad's lap...



We had decided to splurge, giving us all a well deserved Christmas present, villa style... rented of course, remember we are on a teacher's salary... a villa with a heated outdoor pool, 3 bedrooms, two levels, three bathrooms, multiple patios and a fireplace to take the evening chill off, oh and a full English satellite smorgasbord with more stations than the most overgrown couch potato could ever consume...
We spent Christmas day outside on the patio... enjoying a meal of foods not found in Turkey, swimming in the pool, lounging around as well as taking a walk to the beach to make sand castles and wade in the water... The water was a bit too cold for a swim, as the Mediterranean can be at this time of year... of course their were a few vacationing Brits taking a dip... unfortunately our bodies have grown accustomed to the heat that the southern Med is caught in during most of the year... and with little body fat remaining, we all decided NO...
We spent most of our time relaxing... reading, walking, swimming, watching movies, breaking branches for the evening fires, taking in a daily dose of local activities... and ending our days at various ethnic restaurants not easily found in Ankara... for the region we vacationed in is a British enclave, filled with fish and chips joints, a Thai restaurant that served us one of the best meals we had in months and an Italian pizza place that made us feel we were back in Italy...



A few highlights were walking the foothills of the Troodos Mountains...

hiking to the the Baths of Aphrodite, as the island is the fabled birthplace and realm of this lovely Greek Goddess...
feeding the feral Cypriot mules a lunch of carob bean pods...
shopping in grocery stores that carried a full range of "Western" products... stuffing them into our suitcases for the flight home to Turkey...
tasting wine at a minuscule family run vineyard...

our 15 Kilometer hike along the coastline of the Akamas Peninsula...
exploring the underground tombs built for the wealthy ancient Romans that long ago peopled this area...
driving Brit style along the windy roads navigating through the many banana plantations...
watching Animal Planet, cartoons and other mindless, yet entertaining television programs into the late ours of the evening...

and for me, my daily jog through a local orange tree grove... liberally hydrating myself with the fresh fruit that hung ripened on the branch...

Our island Christmas was good... even great... but we found ourselves missing family and friends... almost didn't seem like Christmas without loved ones to spend the time with.......... yet we are excited for our upcoming summer vacation when we will be heading back to the states to spend our time with loved ones...
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Comments

bendyfiddlemom
bendyfiddlemom on

very cool photos!!!
Wow. I wish I'd been there with you! What amazing things (and animals, people, trees, etc.) you are all seeing and experiencing.
And was that really AIDAN?? Just kidding. But where are the face shots of Deb and Todd? Carsten's looking good as usual. Sophie can't believe he has braces. But she says he doesn't look much different.
OK, I'm not being too interesting here... We love and miss you all, and love seeing your pix.

bendyfiddlemom
bendyfiddlemom on

hi hi hi hi hi hi hi
OK, I just posted a comment and then lost it. Aargh. What amazing adventures you're having. Sophie and I loved seeing it all. Long hair and braces duly noted and approved! Love you all...

brookeinjapan
brookeinjapan on

Happy New Year
Hi, guys! Great to follow what you're doing and see shots of your latest Cyprus adventures. It's been a while since I've checked the blog, but just wanted to stop by and say hi. Take care! -Brooke

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