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November 30th, 2010 | Cyprus

Riding in Cyprus – The Karpasian Peninsula.

The peninsula is so narrow, that many of the places you might want to visit, are very close together...

The EU are supporting the tourist industry by financing the building of paths and walkways down to the golden beaches...

Although the houses and buildings in this part of Cyprus a little rundown, the roads linking the main villages and towns, are great to ride on…That is, until you get to the town of Dipkarpaz…

Through Boğaz and Cayirova, and on to Kumyali and Ziyamet, we rode through extensive farmland, mostly planted with potatoes, with the odd Olive and citrus grove mixed in…

All along the route, I began seeing signs of a strong British influence… In the town of Yesilkoy, I passed “The Olde Barn Pub” and the “Big Old Bazaar”… All the prices for the many B & B’s I passed were listed in Sterling… It would seem that investing on this side of the island is better value for money, than on the south side, where the Euro is king, and prices are closely linked to that on the mainland…

Work on the new marina continues apace... In a few years time, this part of the world will be completely transformed...

"Achtung, Achtung...!! The Brits are coming...!! Hide the beer...!!"

The town of Yenierenkoy is the largest on the peninsula, and lies just a few short kilometres from the coast… I passed a huge construction site on one of the beautiful bays and saw that they were building a marina, that when completed would hold as many as 500 yachts…!!

Naturally, to go with this, housing estates and hotels must follow…!! I could not believe the development that was taking place along the northern coast of this secluded and sparsely inhabited peninsula…!! Apart from a few Turkish developers, the majority of the work was being done by companies with names such as “Carrington”, and “Smythe”…. All very British…!!

The sign I missed when I rode through Dipkarpaz...

At Cape Isik, one of the many stretches of beach where sea turtles lumber up to lay their eggs on, I turned south east on the final stretch of decent road, and headed for Dipkarpaz…

After taking a wrong turn and ending up at the town’s reservoir, high up on a hill that looked over the valley and down to the sea, I made my way back and located the unmarked turnoff that would take us all the way to Cape Zafer, the most easterly point on the island…

The 25 kilometres of road that took us out to the St. Andreas Monastery, were as rough as a badgers bum…!! Small potholes, and long deep cracks, the type that your front wheel just love to find a home in, and a surface that tested the damping on the bike, had my elbow aching in no time…!! Then there are the sheep and wild donkeys to worry about as well, so no point in trying to ride faster in this area, to minimize the discomfort…

Entrance to the final section of road leading to Cape Zafer... Allan Karl would have been disgusted...!!! I can just hear him....!! "A sanctuary for Donkeys...!! You gotta be kidding me, Dude...!!"

The Cypriot donkey was well known as a strong and hardy beast of burden, but since the advent of slightly more modern means of transport, like the pick-up truck for example, the donkeys were left to roam and many have ended up here on this peninsula…

We passed three more turtle breeding grounds, and a string of small hotel resorts and secluded restaurants, all hidden from view by sand dunes that flanked the road…

Parked above one of the many Turtle Sanctuaries that can be found along the coast...

The Monastery of St Andreas looks like a construction site…!! This is a good thing in a way, because the original buildings are in danger of collapse…!! The cracks that have appeared in the walls of the building can only get wider with passing time, chunks of mortar have come away from the original structure, and where there was once paint, only bare plaster remains…

St Andreas Monastery... Best viewed from the rocks near the sea...!! Behind this a new monastery is being built...

The monastery sits on the edge of the sea, built on solid rock… It is a sprawling complex, comprising both the new and the old, and is obviously a spot that attracts many tourists and pilgrims alike…

Looking back towards the sea, the building site is to the right of where this picture was taken...

Entrance to the Chapel...

It is named after Apostle Andrew, the first to be inducted into priesthood by Jesus Christ, who once made landfall on this very spot, on his final missionary journey back to the Holy Land…

He is the Patron Saint of Greece, Russia and Scotland, “protector of travelers and commander of the winds”…

The parking area was filled with buses and cars, and running alongside the original church, was one of the biggest flea markets I have seen in Cyprus…

This spoiled the visit for me… Especially when I took a look at the stuff that was on sale… It all seems so out of place…!!

I can only hope that when the restoration of the grounds has been completed, that the authorities move this eyesore far away from the church…!!

The monks were never expecting a large congregation when they built the chapel...!!!

The icon of St Andreas... Pilgrims knelt to kiss the base of the icon before lighting candles in the vestibule...

Not the kind of junk that should be sold at a holy site...!!

As I was leaving, this donkey came up to greet us...

Lunch was the usual Mixed Kebab...!! This one tasted better than most...!!

Part of an old Roman Harbour... There are many of these small and ancient ports to be found here...

On the way back down the peninsula, I stopped for lunch at Pamukia, and the waiter there told me that if I took the new highway to Girne, it would take me an hour only to get there…

With this info in mind, I relaxed out on their patio, IPod tuned into Dire Straits, and a cold cola in hand…

Down in the valley below me stood a Mosque, and right next to it a Greek Orthodox Church… Both functioning side by side… Open fields ran down to shoreline, separated by long lines of Olive trees…

All very pretty and peaceful…!!

Out in the bay, I watched a small fishing boat attending to the three huge holding tanks that floated there… Apparently they are breeding sea bass and tuna at this particular fish farm…

Strange....!!

The stretch of brand new highway to Girne was one of the best rides I have made in recent times… Not only was it almost deserted, but the bends were so gentle, that I hardly ever came off the throttle, and zoomed along the coast, making the trip into the city far quicker than my waiter friend had advised it would take…!!

Brilliant stretch of new road on the way to Girne...

Romos…, get on your bike and do a big loop through Famagusta up to Cayirova… On the northern edge of town, turn onto the new road, ignoring the “No Entry” sign, like I did…!! They are still erecting the crash barriers, so having an “off” here comes with terminal results…!!

You will love the ride from there to Girne…er…sorry, Kerynia…!!

Last stop on the island of Cyprus for the GBWT...

Another Fanta that I had never tasted before...!!

The mountain range that runs across the length of Cyprus was blocking the late afternoon sun, and that meant it got darker on this strip of the coast a lot sooner than it had on the other side of the mountains…

By 4.30pm, every car had its headlights on…!! The pedestrian malls were clogged with shoppers, and the series of one-way streets had me baffled for a while, until I reached the far end of town… I doubled back, and eventually got the hang of the town’s layout…!!

I searched for a hotel for over an hour, put off by the high prices many of them were asking… While I was refueling, I chatted to the owner of the service station, who directed me to the Life Otel, where I agreed on a rate that was still too high, but the lowest I had come across so far…

I could have ridden to the outskirts of the town to find something cheaper, but I wanted to be close to the harbour area…

There was no way I was going to miss the ferry, even if I had to push the Big Fella down to the terminal…!!

On entering the town, I came across the largest advertisement for Espetada that I had ever seen...!!

©GBWT 2010

3 comments to Riding in Cyprus – The Karpasian Peninsula.

  • Ronnie, i hope he did not trick you in to taking the lazy unattractive route by not going up the mountain to Kantara castle and then down the other way on the new road that ends by cruising along the sea side. The difference in time is only half an hour riding but a terrific one!
    If so, then you must plan a revisit here or i will take your friends there and later they will laugh at you ha ha ha.
    Keep going my friend with no regrets … there is always something waiting around the corner 😉

  • Mark Behr

    Interesting post Ronnie.
    Jesus once entered the courtyard of a temple where the people were selling their junk and He overturned them in anger. One wonders how commercialism can be allowed to disrespect “holy ground”.

    Every time you post a pic of your food, I look at it and wonder what meat it really is. You are quite brave to try some of them.

  • Mark, dont forget that place is an Orthodox Christian (Apostolos Andreas) and it is Turkish occupied (Muslim) since 1974, therefore it is a market place for them as its a “tourist” attraction. Also i should mention that if it wasn’t for our efforts, they would have left to come down a long time ago 🙁
    As for food, we eat anything … Ronnie knows the nothing part ha ha ha.

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