A North Cypriot Sojourn I

Experiences and flavours of Turkish North Cyprus during a ten day trip.
Kyrenia castle, author collection

Kyrenia castle, author collection

Northern Cyprus is a great place for a holiday. In the area of Kyrenia, in a village called Lapta, hotels have sprung up for travellers looking for culture and sun. The back drop to this northern coastline is the Kyrenian Mountain Range, a mystical, beautiful panorama of crags, trees, scrub and often, mists that lend the whole vista a metaphysical flavour. Some of this range exceeds 900 metres in height and is majestic against a clear, blue, Mediterranean sky.

Cypriot Scents

Beautiful shrubs and flowers have been planted in hotel gardens and the air is perfumed with jasmine, honeysuckle in the evening balm. Hibiscus grows profusely, its different coloured bell-like flowers nodding in the Mediterranean warm breezes. It is a clean, friendly country with good food and plentiful fruit and vegetables in the markets. Tourists are offered typical Turkish breakfasts usually consisting of haloumi cheese, feta cheese, boiled eggs, olives, orange segments, tasty crusty bread and honey and, of course, the ubiquitous cornflakes.

The Friendly Locals

Young northern Cypriots of both sexes are beautiful. They are usually slim, olive-skinned beauties who are fashionable, smart and very presentable. They work hard and enjoy themselves amongst their friends. Those working within the tourist industry are very polite and obliging. The older local people weather somewhat after the age of 40. Women bring up families and work part-time to contribute to their families’ tables, often in the hospitality industry and in heat that can reach the mid 40s centigrade in the height of summer.

Away from Home

Many of the men in the holiday industry are from Turkey, as in northern Cyprus they can earn nearly double the wages offered in their home towns. This means many months away from their wives and families and the men work hard and conscientiously. They are very friendly and obliging to tourists taking time out of their own busy lives. The cost of westerners’ holidays is much more than originally calculated.Beyond the Green Line

Although many of the Turkish Cypriots could earn more beyond the “Green Line” in the Greek part of Cyprus, they are unable to cross the border legally. If someone is detained on the Greek Cypriot part of the Green Line, they are sent to Greece in custody, then to Turkey before being repatriated in northern Cyprus. Many of the younger men have experienced this. Tourist guides are often students, either from Turkish universities or from the American University situated in Lapta. They are intelligent, eloquent and extremely professional in their approach to their work. Northern Cyprus is a country of respect, pride and patriotism. Its warm climate and balmy sea breezes make it very agreeable to travellers from northern Europe.

Part 2 of A North Cypriot Sojourn to follow.

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