This is part of the fifth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip and The Golan Heights
20/4/99 A smooth crossing, we slept on deck with our sleeping bags and mattresses and after a slow cursory customs, about 2 hours, we were riding in Cyprus. The insurance for a week $US 30.00 and an unfriendly charge by Salamis lines, the ferry company we travelled with of $US 10.00 to act as an agent. When shipping the motorcycle by vehicular ferry we have never been charged an agent fee and to be charged by the same company as shipped the vehicle and not include it in the original ticket is criminal. Travel with another company if you can. In Cyprus's famed beautiful weather we rode the limestone island's west coast beaches and mountains, passed Aphrodite's everything from birthplace, baths and temples to overnight camp at Polis fronting the beach. Despite the 25 year stalemate over a divided country it's great to have moved to a country where the people are at least at peace with themselves.
21/4/99 Still following the coast past Pomos before being forced up into the mountains by the North Cyprus border. The pine covered mountains are dotted with Greek Orthodox monasteries and the recently restored Kykkos monastery with beautiful mosaics and frescoes we visited. Again religion is the main antagonist for the divide with the Turkish occupied/republic North Cyprus predominantly Muslim. Down into Lefkosia (Nicosia) the last politically divided city in the world, where through wire fences the south and north can converse.
22/4/99 The border is closed to both sides of the conflictors but open (South to North only) for tourist day visits crossing next to the Ledra Palace Hotel. Foot passengers only unless you, as we did, insist on needing your vehicle to cover the distances in one day. Then they reluctantly allowed us through but to prevent us escaping to mainland Turkey through the north, we had to deposit our luggage at the border. After passing the Greek Cypriot billboard photos of recent "atrocities by the Turkish North" and the UN green zone which has been preserved as it was in 1974 we paid our $US 4.00 one day insurance for the motorcycle and $US 6.00 each, visa entry fee for the day, and were free to roam the north. Spending most of our time in Girne (Kyrenia) we found little difference between the two sides for the casual day visitor. The seaside cafes and restaurants, the crusader castles and the people, outwardly looked the same.
23/4/99 Still in Lefkosia for the day but the main attractions in Cyprus seem to be the sunshine and beaches at the coast.
24/4/99 We try to avoid taking sides in a country's
wars and politics but when you are just a couple of hours away from Turkey
by boat but are forced to spend $US 400.00 more, and two days travel going
via Rhodes in Greece it's a little difficult. To be allowed to travel to
Turkish occupied North Cyprus but not allowed to cross to Turkey, but to
be forced to Rhodes and then allowed to cross won't win any friends with
travellers and will probably discourage many from visiting Greek Cyprus.
We boarded our 18 hour ferry crossing this afternoon after a pleasant ride
to Larnaka and along the coast to Limassol for departure.
Move with us to Turkey
(via Rhodes in Greece)
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