So… the Karpaz is the long arm of Cyprus that points up to the north east…. the panhandle as some call it. It is the land that time forgot. The last miles, a wildlife sanctuary for wild donkeys…. home to the most beautiful beaches on the island… and some of the most amazing ancient ruins….
We set off at about 8am, heading east through Kyrenia and out along the coast road, past Esentepe and the wonderful golf course, Tatlitsu, Kantara Castle and to our first stop, the ruined basilica at Ag. Trias. This lovely site sits in the middle of olive and carob groves, in total stillness…. a Byzantine Christian church sitting on the place where older buildings once were. There are pillars and a baptismal pond, mosaic pavements, the apse, the narvex all in place. Amongst the mosaics are a couple of inscriptions in Greek and the famous mosaic depicting a pair of flipflop sandals – a symbol of pilgrimage.
Moving on, we called into the Karpaz Gate marina for a coffee and for a snoot around amongst the yachts. Its a pretty swish place. John especially enjoyed it.
Next stop was the Oasis at Panfilion. A little café on the bluffs overlooking a tiny jewel of a cove which hides a Roman harbour. Next to the café is the ruin of another ancient basilica, Byzantine and Roman, set amongst the ruins of ancient Carpasia. Carpasia was a town known in the 300s BC appearing in the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s death. It thrived until it was sacked by the Saracens in the 8th Century. All that remains now are a lot of ploughed fields with the odd cut rock protruding…. plus of course the harbour.
It was getting on for lunchtime so we motored on through Dipkarpaz and towards the reserve and stopped for lunch at a waterside restaurant we have stopped at before. We had a mountain of calamari, a seabass, salad, 2 – yes 2 – platters of divine chips, meze…. it was all totally yum. I took the remains of the salad to add to our offering for the donkeys.
It was but a short, bumpy drive to reach the nature reserve and our meeting with the donkeys. There were about 20 along the road, looking hungrily at our car. John and I were brave and got out and fed one group, complete with foal. They wolfed down our offerings particularly the pear and my mixed salad!
Our final stop was on Golden Beach, just the best beach on the island. We had our rolls and our tent along so set up camp. The tent’s first appearance since OZ!! Just as useful here. We had a blissful few hours on the beach. The sea was totally glassy and clear – idyllic. And of course there were hardly any other people there. Wonderful.
Drove back along the coast again, stopping for some ice cream for dinner.
Lovely catch all dinner on the terrace, hot pita bread, warmed up roast lamb, moussaka, some meze……
Then, ice cream while we watched “About Time”, one of my favourite films EVER!!! A fantastic day……