We've spent the last two days on a road trip up to the tip of the Karpaz peninsular, the long arm that stretches out eastwards towards the Levant. The weather has changed a bit. Still warm and with bright sunny periods but also some very heavy sharp showers and fierce gusting wind.
We followed our normal route along the north coast, admiring the incredible colour of the sea against the golden beaches, rocky headlands and tiny coves. As you head east from Kyrenia you pass through some miles of residential areas, then through areas that are very clearly large developments of holiday homes perched on the cliffs over the sea. Not my personal cup of tea but probably nice enough for a fortnight's holiday. As you drive further east, development peters out altogether and the green wilderness of the peninsular takes over.
We stopped at the Karpaz Gate marina for coffee. It has been in existence for perhaps 9 years now and is really beginning to fill up with yachts of all sizes. Some absolutely super ones. We have had a massive motor yacht cruising along the north coast the past couple of weeks, rumoured to belong to an Arab prince. That was in there. Absolutely enormous, incredible yacht. We had a good mooch about and played the game of picking which one we'd like.
On into the nature reservation of the Karpaz and a visit to the Monastery of St Andrew. This is a very important place for Greek Orthodox pilgrims and there are many coachloads on a daily basis. St Andrew, the apostle, is believed to have been shipwrecked here on Cyprus and it is said he smote the rock on which they landed with his staff and a holy spring sprang forth. He used the water to heal the one eyed captain (possibly the cause of the wreck!!!!) and the place became a shrine, the Lourdes of Cyprus. There is still access to the healing spring for believers. A rather beautiful old church and monastery which is being restored.
Then of course we had to feed the wild donkeys!!!! This is a ritual of a visit and we had brought bags of greens for them. There are lots and we found a group with a tiny baby one. So cute. After that we were hungry ourselves and we stopped at a little restaurant beside the sea for a lovely spread of fresh calamari and salad.
We stayed at our go-to hotel, the Blue Sea. It's perched on a tiny fishing harbour with a small beach to the other side. We love staying here in the massive new rooms formed from ancient fish/boat stores. The owner is a real character, but this time he was not here!!!! He was on holiday and his son and a friend were in charge. It all ran smoothly but we missed his effervescent but eccentric personality. He really does make the place in some respects. Food was good and almost too plentiful. I had the fresh swordfish steak which is their speciality as did Sue. Bob and John both had lamb - chops and mixed grill - and they were fantastic.
As we were finishing dinner, I noticed the owner's son was decorating a table with candle lights and rose petals. He arranged the words "I love You" in Turkish, in rose petals with a design around the table edge. He then put dozens of candle lights on the table top too. It looked gorgeous. I asked him what it was for and gathered it was something to do with a wedding. Later on, all the lights dimmed down and we saw a young couple come into the restaurant. The young man led the girl to the table and showed her the design, he then got down on one knee and asked her to marry him!!!!!! The girl was quite overcome and of course said yes. We all applauded!!! What a special thing to witness and rather unexpected here.
A good night's sleep - its so quiet and a hearty breakfast and we were off. Still windy although warm. No chance of swimming in the sea this time. The waves were being driven straight into the harbour. Never seen it rough like this before.