Cyprus Trip, October 2009

For our October break my friend Steve (from Philly, he was a track star at Penn St) and I wanted to get away from it all and took a little trip to the Republic of Cyprus.

Steve, chillin waitin for our first bus

Steve, chillin waitin for our first bus

We decided on Cyprus essentially because there were cheap direct flights from Abu Dhabi.  Our other incentive was that Cyprus is a recent addition to the European Union and was nearing the end of its tourist season.  This combination resulted in reasonably priced hotels, nice beaches, and the ability to drink beer on the streets. We landed in Larnaca and immediately took a bus to Ayia Napa, the partying capital of Cyprus, about an hour away. Fortunately, Cyprus is small enough that you can drive between almost any two cities in an hour or two.  We walked around for a bit until we came upon a deal we just could not turn down: 3 liters of beer for 12 euro!

3 liters of beer, 12 Euro, and two happy travelers.

Some info about Cyprus: It is similar to Greece in many ways.  The food is great. They have these Mezes, which are a price fixed meals where they bring you anywhere from 6-10 tapas type dishes of either meat or fish. We had them for dinner each night and definitely clogged some arteries. Also, I highly recommend the halloumi cheese. It’s awesome grilled.

Anyway, in 1960, the Cyprus it was granted independence from England.  Fourteen years later, Turkey invaded Cyprus and eventually a ceasefire was signed which ended up dividing the country.  Turkey still occupies the northern third of the country resulting in the Greek Cypriots having some serious feelings of resentment towards the Turkish Cypriots.  Apparently, after the ceasefire, there was a mass exodus of Greek Cypriots from the occupied territory to the Republic of Cyprus, and vice versa.  So, there are Greek Cypriots who abandoned their homes in the north waiting for the day to return. Unfortunately, their homes are now occupied by Turkish Cypriots, and, of course, the same goes for the Turkish Cypriots with their homes in the Republic of Cyprus.  The occupied territory is only recognized internationally by Turkey.

After quite a night out we took a bus the next day to the capital, Nicosia. Here we learned that there is one significant benefit to the occupied territory: Casinos. In the capital city, Nicosia, the world’s last divided capital city, there is a ‘green line’ that separates the Republic of Cyprus from the occupied territory.  This is where we really appreciate a US passport. We could easily walk back and forth between the two ‘countries.’ And in the occupied territory are casinos! I was lucky enough to play some roulette and ended up winning 75 euros, not a bad evening at all.

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One of the 'green line' checkpoints.

Nicosia is also a really old, cool city that is surrounded by a wall built by the Venetians in the 1500’s.  It was really cool to see some very old architecture after living in a city for nearly three months that was built in the past 30 years or so.

Me at the Famagusta Gate, Nicosia, Cyprus

Me at the Famagusta Gate, Nicosia, Cyprus

After a night in Nicosia, we took a bus to our next destination, the coastal city of Limassol. Here we had a hostel booked for two nights and were looking forward to being able to chill out and see some old Greek and Roman ruins as well as take a hike through the Troodos Mountains.

Toughass Hikers

Toughass Hikers

Sick view from Kourion ruins

Sick view from Kourion ruins

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The stadium at the Kourion ruins

Me vs. Me

Fun with my camera

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mom on November 14, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    So glad you had an great respite from a busy school schedule – you certainly adapt well and took advantage of the highlites in Cyrus – interesting review and all new infor for me – keep the blog going and continue to educate me!!

    Reply

  2. Posted by andrew imperato on November 18, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Hey brian! nice to see all is going well. looks like a great place to visit. happy birthday!! speak to you soon,
    andrew

    Reply

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