One of our favourite days out today! We set off at about 9 for the Karpaz Peninsular, the long panhandle sticking up to the north east of Cyprus like an outstretched arm. It's a wonderful area, increasingly unspoilt as you drive along the coast road till at last you reach areas of the island where the scenery has hardly changed in thousands of years. Right at the tip is a wild life reserve while much of the rest is also protected against development.
The coast road hugs the sea all the way passing old ruined carob warehouses looking for all the world like Roman churches or Mithraeum. That barrel roofed shape..... the sea is just impossible colours of blue..... set against hills of gnarled olive and carob trees, even at this driest time of year demonstrating why Cyprus is called the Green Island.
Our first stop was the ruined Roman Christian basilica of Aghios Trianos about 2 hours drive from the villa. The ruins stand alone in a grove of trees and as usual we were the only visitors there. The silence brings them to life for you somehow. The basilica dates back to the 500s AD and the highlight is the lovely mosaic floors. These are decorated with geometric patterns and flowers, fruit and...... sandals.... There are several motifs on the floors showing sandals, believed to be symbolising pilgrimage..... There is also a lovely baptistery. A deep little swimming pool in the shape of a cross with entry and exit steps.
We drove on east and our next stop is the Oasis at Ayios Philon http://www.oasishotelkarpas.com/index.html It is utter utter heaven. If I won the lottery I would make the owner an impossible offer and then build my dream house here and make it totally private. The little pension sands in the ruins of ancient Carpasia and all that is left other than stones in the fields is the little church. The cove below is just perfect. Always filled with a couple of fishermen and swimmers. You can snorkel over the Roman harbour and see pottery shards and bric a brac in the sand.
Had a nice lunch in the hotel looking down on the view, then drove on to the viewpoint over Golden Beach.
At this point we started to encounter more donkeys than we'd seen in all previous viewings. I[d brought some lettuce and fruit for the donkeys so I got out and fed a few. They are so gentle although being totally wild. We then turned back to the viewpoint over the golden beaches. Stunning stunning view. We drove back and parked and went onto the beach. There were a few umbrellas and then miles of powder perfect sand. Barely a wave. Water so clear. I had packed a coolbox with beers and wine and ice. We swam and picnicked . Perfect.
Left about 4 and drove back. Stopped at a supermarket to pick up supplies and home about 6. Quick showers and out at 745.
Dinner at Veni Vici on the Lapta coastal strip. I wish I could say I enjoyed it. But in truth it was boiling hot because they'd moved all the tables inside and it was apparently not possible to reverse the decision. I felt ill throughout and I would be unwilling to go there again. I think the food was ok . However, I would always choose to eat somewhere where they were flexible enough to react to weather conditions. Or at least have a fan. It was TERRIBLE. The mains were quite acceptable but the vegetables were really boring. We all drank wine but were only offered wine by the glass not a bottle. I asked the waiter if a bottle of wine was available and he said no... very odd. Anyway with so many restaurants available we won't be bothering there again.