Our friends, Joseph and Janet had never been to the Karpaz before. We love it and our other guests, Stuart and Fiona, do too, so we decided to have a day trip there today.
First, though, sad goodbyes to John and Sue who have been staying with us for the last couple of weeks. Such good company and we will miss them.
We headed off at about 830, heading out east and up into the outstretched arm of Cyprus. Once through Kyrenia and the eastern suburb villages, the road runs along the coast with fantastic views to the sea one side and the green mountains to the other. We passed the Korineum Golf Club and then Esentepe and then the buildings start to diminish and the green island really begins to show.
As it is still Bayram, many families were out camping along the coastal beaches, or picnicking. Quite a few fishermen. We pressed on. Our first stop was at the Roman/Byzantine Christian basilica of Ayos Trios. We inspected the mosaic floors and the sunbaked pillars of this ruined place, now to be found amidst old olive and carob trees. There must have been more around once… you don’t build a church this size in the middle of nowhere. But the other buildings must now be under the fields, or perhaps used to build the stone walls visible around them…. or people’s houses. There is certainly a lot of cut stone to be seen in the village.
First coffee stop was at the Karpaz Gate Marina. As cool and comfortable a welcome as ever. Then on deeper into the peninsula to Dipkarpaz, the last town, and then crossing to the south side and onto the nature reserve which forms the last tip. We stopped for lunch at a lovely waterside restaurant and were warmly welcomed by the owner, a Turkish Cypriot man and his family who came home to Cyprus 3 years ago after spending 40 years in London. He used to run a five star fish restaurant in the Barbican. Now he has this idyllic place and runs it with the same pride. We had a lovely fresh meze with all sorts of small plates of vegetables and cheese. Then a massive plate of calamari, salad and chips. “Just let me know if you want more calamari or chips” he offered, “I will bring you more – on me!” This is typical of the generosity of Cypriot restaurants. There is such pride in the excellence and abundance of local produce. They just can’t give you enough.
We’d brought some old lettuce for feeding the wild donkeys and we also took the remains of our lunchtime greenery for them. Janet enjoyed that bit!!!
Spent several hours on the huge Golden Beach there. Our favourite. The water was gin clear and calm and the sand powdery and warm. It was busier than usual, being a holiday. Some people were camping overnight. But there’s plenty of room. Brighton it’s not!
Dashed home for showers and then up to Deborah and David’s house to meet up with them and Paul and Jane for drinks. They have a lovely garden and terrace.
We went down for dinner at Tervetuloa, our local go-to Cypriot restaurant. Not sure we had room for dinner really after all that lunch, but we gave it our best shot. Again… the massive meze came out. I had grilled lamb chops as my main, which were delicious and perfectly cooked. Of course the meal ended with baklava, coffee and brandies.
We wended our way home tired, full up and happy!