Bicycle Diaries: Cycling Cyprus?

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Cycling Cyprus?

In July, I worked with Northern Illinois University out in DeKalb. The International Training Office was hosting a delegation of 40 Turkish and Greek Cypriot high school students. The month-long visit, funded by the US Fulbright Program, provided them
with the opportunity to meet and interact with their respective peers from each side of the island and to provide a multicultural and intercultural perspective to them and an understanding of U.S. culture. Participants learn the fundamentals of conflict management and leadership skills through indoor and outdoor challenges, bi-communal dialogue and community work.
The group was one of the best I've worked with on dialogue as well as conflict transformation. Needless to say, there were a number of personalities such as Michalis Antoniou in the center of this photo. He and I have stayed in contact since they all returned at the beginning of August. In fact, we've been thinking about the possibility of a rolling visit to Cyprus in early or mid October.

To further convince me, he's written the following post to whet my appetite. Michalis comes from Greek Cyprus, on the south of the island, so I'm hoping one of the Turkish Cypriots will post about the north.

All I need to do now is figure out how to get my hands on a bike!
Are you struggling to find a country to go on holiday? Do you find it difficult to pick the ideal spot on the globe? Check Cyprus out! It might be the perfect place for you to visit. Situated in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is capable of fulfilling your expectations and wishes.

With 5000 years of history, the birthplace of Aphrodite (the Goddess of Love) guarantees that you will have a fantastic vacation that will be as relaxing as it'll be educational. Cyprus combines sun, sea, and mountains. Its all-year warm climate allows you to visit Cyprus anytime of the year. As a small island you can drive from one side of the island to the other in only three hours.

The four most popular tourist resorts in the south are Ayia Napa, Protaras, Pafos and the villages in the mountains. Aphrodite’s birthplace, Pafos, is situated on the Western side of the island. It's a historic city with a modern side as well. Visit the old Castle in the harbor, the Kings’ Tombs, Aphrodite’s Baths, and underground caves that used to be Christian refuges. Pafos is very close to the mountains, so by renting a bicycle you can explore the magic of the little, traditional villages on the mountains. Many clubs, restaurants, pubs, cafeterias, Greek bars, Greek restaurants and “bouzoukia” (clubs playing live traditional Greek music) are available in the city of Pafos. Pafos also offers you nice beaches.

The mountain villages are situated close to the middle of the island. The climate in the mountains is still warm but it is fresher and a bit cooler than towns near the beach. The population is small. Modern facilities are quite limited. I recommend them for one-day excursions although you can event spend some days there.

Lefkara is the most famous mountain village. You can buy traditionally made laces and observe local people. Spend your nights in traditional hotels and get closer to the traditions and cultures of Cyprus. You can also enjoy the quaintness of village life in Kakopetria, Pedoulas, Platres, and Agros.

Protaras is a small tourist area in the southeast. Stay in Protaras if you want to relax and go to the beach a lot! Beautiful sandy beaches with crystal waters are surrounded by clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants. Protaras is really close to Ayia Napa and the other villages of the area so if you rent a car you can explore all the area!

My personal favorite is the resort of Ayia Napa. It combines beaches, nature (trees), and wild nightlife! Silky sandy beaches lead to bars, pubs, restaurants, and loads of clubs! A few years ago it became known as the second Ibiza. Most of the clubs of huddle around The Square. Right in the middle of Ayia Napa you can taste the delights of the wild nightlife. During the day, check out the ancient monastery to admire its art and architecture. Like Protaras, it is close to the other villages where you can tour numerous historical buildings and rest eating traditional cuisine in small tavernas.

Sotera, the village where I live, is known as Byzantine Town. It has 14 ancient churches where exquisite pieces of Christian art are kept. [Editor's note: There are numerous archaeological sites in the city's environs offering the whole spectrum of history and even pre-history from the neolithic settlement at Sotera, to Roman Kourion, to Mediaeval Kolossi Castle. Higher up the mountains is the summer resort of Platres and the Monastery of Trooditissa among the pine forests.]

While you are in Cyprus taste the traditional cuisine. Home made traditional food is very important in Cyprus. It is really tasty but it can give you extra weight if you don’t limit yourself!

Make sure that you will taste Halloumi (the traditional cheese of Cyprus), Loukoumia (traditional sweets), Shioushioukos (tradional sweet made by wrapping nuts into grape essence).

...and of course Zivania, a traditional alcohol drink made with grapes. It will surely make you feel much better and relaxed! Absolutely everywhere you go in in the south, you will find fabulous hotels, playgrounds for doing sports, hospitable people, tourist facilities, motorways, historical buildings or museums and good food!
Tomorrow: The Situationists do know how to make a bicycle into a record player...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to extend my warmest greetings over the atlantic to
mr.Garth! I think it's great that you're visiting our small but beautifull and multicoloured island! I hope i'll be here and get a
chance to meet all together again. I got a glimpse of your
blog ,lots of interesting information there,and everything everyone
recommented for your visit seems fairly correct, so i don't have much to add to it! I think we're all just looking forward to seeing you again.

Hope to see you soon
love kyriaki

12/9/06 13:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Garth!! i'm sure u'LL love our island, its vegetation, climate, historical places and aLL.. no hustle and bustle in the cities ( when compared to Chicago:) ), a lot nature.. i love autumn (or as u say "fall") in Cyprus. When u close ur eyes and breathe in, the mild wind that covers u can take ur soul away, or at least it makes me feel like that :P i wish i could be in Cyprus in those days.. :( i hope u have fun !!

Lots of love XxxX


12/9/06 13:24  
Blogger Fat Lad said...

The soon to be Mrs Fat Lad and I will be honeymooning there in about 9 weeks :)

24/4/07 08:59  

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