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Leaving the island

Posted 25 January 2008 - Larnaca (CY):

Today is my last day in Cyprus. After a nice stay at Dino`s place in Nicosia, I am now visiting Elena and Mariana in Larnaca. They took me to the salt lake next to the city (photo including mosque) and we cooked two nice meals. Tonight 03:45, I will fly away to Vienna. From there to Bratislava and then to Rome on Sunday. Hope to catch up with the Us Europeans articles in the meantime.

( Larnaca - CY, January 2008)
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Northern Cyprus

Posted 24 January 2008 - Nicosia (CY):

A second excursion into the Northern half of Nicosia. These are the flags of Turkey (left) and the self-proclaimed `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus` (right), referred to as `occupied territory` in the South of Cyprus.

( Nicosia - CY, January 2008)
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Renting cars and caste pirating

Posted 23 January 2008 - Nicosia (CY):

I met some nice people from Finland, the US and The Netherlands here in Nicosia yesterday and we decided to rent a car to go see the mountains. Which is what we did today. Some nice driving, on the left hand side of the road of course, and we even illegally entered some fortress at full moon and all. Dark and scary, yet very interesting.

( Trodos - CY, January 2008)
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Cold nights

Posted 22 January 2008 - Nicosia (CY):

Another message from Cyprus, where the days are reasonably hot but the night very cold. I slept in an almost abandoned youth hostel last night. Like the guest houses in Paphos and Limassol, there was no heating. Even with socks and a T-shirt on, I shivered my way through the night. All else is fine: I met some nice people in town and can surf somebody`s couch again for the remainder of my stay in Nicosia - either Thursday or Friday. Photo: UN Buffer zone between the Republic of Cyprus and the occupied area.

( Nicosia - CY, January 2008)
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Divided capital

Posted 21 January 2008 - Nicosia (CY):

Hello from Nicosia! The capital of Cyprus is an interesting place. When I got here in the morning, I was randomly looking around to see if I could `happen to find` the local youth hostel. Soon after, I found out that the main shopping street ended halfway and that I could not go any further. Barriers and barbed wire fence marked the beginning of the occupied area. The situation made me think of Berlin, except that I never saw Berlin before the wall was torn down.

I continued walking to the West, trying to follow the border. Some parts (like the photo below) were indicated as buffer zones under protection of the United Nations. Interesting detail: many signs referring to the UN looked very funny because UN was not systematically spelled in capitals. un authorised vehicles only looks a lot different from UN / Authorised vehicles only.

Crossing the border is allowed, I will go and see the other side of the city tomorrow and write about how Turkish Cypriots feel about the division of the island.

( Nicosia - CY. January 2008)
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Kerosine for sale

Posted 20 January 2008 - Limassol (CY):

Stange guys these Cypriots. One in every 10 shops is a petrol station, and most of them sell Kerosine! Not for aeroplanes though, just for heating houses. Days may be quite hot thanks to the sun - Cypriot nights in winter are quite cold!

( Limassol - CY, January 2008)
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Cyprus weekends

Posted 19 January 2008 - Limassol (CY):

Today was another sunny day along the South coast of Cyprus. I went for a walk to the harbour and back through the outskirts of Limassol, which actually looks like one big outskirt: hardly any tall buildings and very little difference between main connecting roads and small side streets. The city centre is very quiet too, and all shops closed at 15h today.

I am curious what Sundays are like in Cyprus. Strong probability nothing is happening at all..

I took below photo well before 3 o`clock, it`s a small snack car along the side of the road (as you can see..)

( Limassol - CY, January 2008)
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Taking it easy

Posted 18 January 2008 - Limassol (CY):

Hello all! It`s my second day in Cyprus and everything is going well. As I was writing on the Us European website, I was surprised to see houses with water tanks on their rooftops. Here`s some visual proof of that. And it`s not just these two houses, it`s almost every single building having similar facilities.

This morning, I took the one and only daily bus from Paphos to Limassol. I was again a little worried about finding a place to stay. I am traveling without a guidebook or anything, so just rely on luck and common sense to find places for the night. The Couch Surfing website is back online but the concept is not widely known in Cyprus and the few people to whom I wrote requests have not replied. Anyway, within 10 minutes of leaving the bus, I had found myself a nice guesthouse for the coming three nights. An old man told me about the place and said it was clean and cheap. Well, both are true. 10,15 Euros (result of the recent conversion to Euros) for the night is not expensive and the corridor of the building smells very clean. A bit too clean, because the smell makes me think of the many hospital visits to Bas during his hospital stay back in 2005.

Surfing couches is a pleasant activity and a perfect way to get to know people. In trying to keep up with the daily writing, it`s not very easy. It usually requires me to stay up (much) later than my hosts or wake up (much) earlier. I therefore take advantage of my lonely stay in Cypriot guest houses to fill up my batteries. Sun and fresh air will do the rest :)

( Paphos - CY, January 2008)
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Arrived in Cyprus

Posted 17 January 2008 - Paphos (CY):

Reporting from Cyprus with some delay: All is well. The sun shines in abundance, and I have so far found my way around the expensive hotels and private transportation between cities. The flight from Manchester to Paphos was a lengthy one, and turbulent at times.

Cyprus is very popular as a package-holiday destination, which means it has many expensive hostels and restaurants, but hardly any infrastructure for budget travelers like myself. I had not received any reply from the three Couch Surfers in Paphos so left Manchester with the anxious idea of not having anywhere to stay. Fortunately, the one-woman tourist office at the airport reserved me a bed in a cheap Paphos pension.

Now, I only needed to find a way to actually get there, and the only available option was by taxi. Much to the anger of a group of local taxi drivers, a friendly Briton was willing to give me a ride. He actually dropped me off in front of the pension, which turned out to be far from luxurious but largely sufficient. I even had some money left to buy myself dinner and then left on a long trip to dream land. I got to bed at 22h (English time: 20h) and slept for more than 12 hours. A welcome night of sleep after ten days of unexpectedly tiring Britain.

Photo: Paphos lighthouse and amphitheatre

( Paphos - CY, January 2008)
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