November 23, 2014

Busy summer chilling out in Northern Cyprus

November is here and the summer is dancing away. Weather is changing. Wind whistles. Trees bend beneath its strength. Dust fly in the wind. Clouds darken the sky. Thunder rolls. Heavy rains strike the ground. Stretched out on the deck chair, the red cat remains unruffled and continues its nap. He knows it is a matter of time. In a few hours, the wind will have chased away the dark clouds. The blue sky will be streaked with only a handful of cottony clouds and the sun will shine again.

The last six months were no surprise but spotless blue sky and hot temperature, very typical Cypriot summer. Under that blazing sun everything slows down and the main activity is lounging. We discovered our new favorite spot for lounging, in Northern Cyprus*.

Saturdays would start easy with salted butter or homemade jam spread on my tartines, tea and my newspaper. None of my day can start without my tea and my newspaper…
Slowly we would head toward Nicosia, the last divided capital. On the way Nati would practice his French and we would laugh loud… un pain au chocolat à la boulangerie, s’il vous plaitla bou-lan-ge-rie… in French please! Nati is determined to learn French… At the border we would switch driver. Chill out time would start then.

We would continue north, impressed with the Kyrenia range rising in front of us like if there would be no way to escape or cross over. The road would weave in and out the range and we would reach Kyrenia just on time for a lunch at Niazi’s, our place for charcoal mixed grill and mezes.
This restaurant was opened first in Limassol in 1949. There are old yellowed pictures from those days on the walls. They had to relocate in the north after the partition of the island.

Niazi's since 1949
Same waiter, same table and same food… that is how we like it… One of the waiter asking if we knew his father… he lives in Paris and goes to the Eiffel Tower every Sunday… large smiles and friendly conversations…

Satisfied, we would keep going, driving along the coast, turquoise-blue water and golden sandy beaches all the way.

Karpas Peninsula
And the day would go by, enjoying the sun, sea, food and, peace and quiet… an ice cream stop from time to time…

Alagadi Beach
On Sundays we would just follow the same routine… Tartines, tea and newspaper for breakfast before heading the road back home…

Shall we cross the border at Nicosia or shall we go through the Troodos Mountain so we can stop at our other favorite place for grilled fish and salad, by the sea?

Grilled chicken and Haloumi cheese
Village Salad
For a change we would decide to come home crossing the border far west next to Pyrgos village… nice scenic route along the same turquoise-blue water…

we would wander around and end up on a hilltop overlooking the sea… there remains what is left of the Vouni Palace, built by the Persian rulers around 5th BC… nice change…

Vouni's Palace
But yet we would stop at our other favorite place, by the sea, for lunch…

Club Güzelyali, Vasilia
Club Güzelyali, Vasilia

We would be home by Sunday afternoon, content and relaxed from our little escapade in the North, looking forward for the next weekend…

* The island of Cyprus is partitioned since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek military coup. We live in Southern Cyprus, officially call the Republic of Cyprus. Northern Cyprus is a self-declared state recognized only by Turkey under the name Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The UN drew up the commonly called “Green Line” as a ceasefire demarcation line in 1963. Travel restrictions are eased since 2013, enabling people to cross the border.

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