Cyprus

Posted in: English Nov 10 2015

On the ferry from Tasucu to Girne i met Alexander. He started his trip from Russia and will spend now some few weeks on Cyprus. The ferry should officaly leave at midnight. But things can take time here in Turkey. Not until 4:00 am we left the port. That’s a record of delay! After the passage we spent another 2 hours waiting at the boarder.

Left- hand traffic! That was the first thing i recognized. It wasn’t easy to navigate in the traffic at the beginning. But after a while you get use to it. We decided to cycle along the coast and visited a war memorial, commemorating the Cyprus dispute.

The Cyprus dispute is an ongoing issue centred on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus and dating back to at least the end of the 19th century. Ever since, it has been present under different forms. In its current phase, it is primarily an issue of military invasion and continuing Turkish occupation (since 1974) of the northern third of the island.Recent years have seen warming of relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, with officially renewed reunification talks beginning in early 2014.

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We builded up our tents directly on a cliff. The sun disappeared into the sea while we were eating diner. Moments like this- priceless! Also here on the island the hospitality is just incredible. People (on both sides) invited us many times for tea or coffee. Two days later i said goodbye to Alexander. As an Russian Passport Holder, he’s not allowed to enter the Greek side.

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The Turkish side hasn’t got a lot of mountains. They begin some few kilometers right after the boarder. I found nearly everything here what i like about bicycle touring. Mountain roads with less traffic, hospitable people (they all speak English) and dreamful tent sites. My budget is definitely nod made for the Hostel prices here on the island. So i decided to use my tent in the next few weeks. On one day i was nearly running out of food. Fortunately a family invited me for breakfast in the first village. At the end the grandmother prepared a huge bag with lunch. Thus my day was saved.

One of my major goals is to circumnavigate Africa without using an aircraft. I planed to take a commercial boat from the port in Limassol to Haifa in Israel. The officials sendet me to the office of Salamis, where I got my first bad news. The boat was already full and they sendet me to the airport in Larnaca. I was completly depressed. Fortunately, i met  a native on the road. Vakis is a passionate cyclist.

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He tried to help me so much as possible. My mood however was at the nadir. I left Limassol the next morning. At the airport they told me that i need to pay 200 Euros extra for transporting my bicycle and that i need a return ticket if i want to enter Israel. The next piece of bad news followed the next morning. I went again to another Salamis office, where they told me that i’m not allowed to leave Cyprus overland because i entered it at the Turkish side. What an incredible idiocy!

My confidence shrank slowly. I decided to visit Lefkosia (the capital) and talk to the Border guards.

Lefkosia has been continuously inhabited for over 4,500 years and has been the capital of Cyprus since the 10th century. Nicosia was divided into the southern Greek Cypriot and the northern Turkish Cypriot parts in 1963, following the intercommunal violence that broke out in the city. Today, the northern part of the city is the capital of Northern Cyprus, a de facto state that is considered to be occupied Cypriot territory by the international community.

Apart from its legislative and administrative functions, Nicosia has established itself as the island’s financial capital and its main international business centre.

The Border guard told me, that the informations from Salamis are wrong and i should go back to Limassol. Finally a bright spot! In cause of that i had another chance to see the mountains one more time.

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Back in Limassol at the port, the police sendet me to another Salamis office. This time they told me i should come back in 4 days and probably there will be a cabine left for me. That was a good information. Since nearly 3 weeks i cycled now non- stop without any brake. After 4 relaxing days i vent back to the office. But there was no place left for me and they told me again, that i’m not allowed to leave the country at the port. Why couldn’t they tell me this 4 days ago?! I left the office completely angry with a loud “Fuck you all“. The Greeks are world champions when it comes to incompetence.

On the Internet i heard about the conflicts in Jerusalem between the Palestinian population and the Israeli security forces. After a long talk with my Mother over Skype we decided not to visit Israel at the moment. Safety first! I cycled completely dejected to the Airport in Larnaca. My plane was leaving the next day.

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The hospitality of the people from both sides of the island and the stunning mountain landscape surprised me a lot. But Cyprus is still bisected, especially in the minds of many islanders. At the departing i have to think about a Quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “There’s no way to Peace, because Peace is the way“.