Rather overcast today with sunny periods and the odd spit of rain. Not ideal pool weather. So after we'd settled the bathroom guys in, we set off for Nicosia or Lefkosa or Lefkosia, the capital of Cyprus. It's a journey of about 45 minutes from the villa.
We entered the old walled city through the Kyrenia gate and parked near to the Law Courts, a fine colonial era building. From there we wandered through the narrow streets past the Great Hamam to the main bazaar. It's not a covered bazaar like in Istanbul but a rabbit warren of shopping streets loaded with goods of all sorts. Our first stop was the Great Han, originally a lodging for pilgrims and crusaders, now an arts and crafts centre. Built on two floors around an open courtyard with a ceremonial well at the centre, it is a lovely haven and very atmospheric. On the ground floor there is an excellent café serving both snacks and meals. We enjoyed our coffees, drinking in the atmosphere as well, and then we wandered around the upper level looking at the craft shops.
Leaving there, we walked a few hundred yards to the Cathedral which is now a Mosque at the centre of the historic district. We wanted to see the whirling dervish performance and bought tickets for the midday demonstration. It was about 1115 by now so we walked around the covered market in the meantime. The covered market was built by the British in 1939, a stone building with lots of individual shops inside. Some are still fruit, veg, meat and cheese but many are now handicrafts, antiques and tourist goods. It's interesting to see.
We went back for our performance, but it wasn't in the usual building, which is a renovated old church next to the mosque. It was in a small studio theatre on the other side of the mosque. The demonstration of whirling, is not performed as a dance show or as an entertainment. Rather it is a serious demonstration of the meditative whirling dance performed by the Sufis in which every movement and position has deep significance. We have seen it many times before and find it very moving and beautiful. This time there were two performers and they were both very good. Really enjoyed it and I do recommend going to see them when you are in Nicosia. It is only 7 euro (28 ytl) and well worth it.
After the performance we went into a small restaurant called Mosaic for lunch. It is an old Ottoman era house with quirky antique filled rooms backing onto a courtyard garden. We ate in the garden, a selection of small meze plates. Really nice.
Then, we had a wander around the old town, looking in the shops. Sue and I both bought some of the Turkish style towels on offer. They have a smooth cotton side and a cotton towelling side and are really very big. Going to take them home. They were 10 euro each and good value at that. A nice souvenir.
After a last coffee we wandered back to the car and got home around 430. The bathroom guy had got on well with tiling the ensuite.