People from the Republic of Cyprus say Turks took the best part of the island. We wanted to check if that was true so we left the capital Nicosia in the morning. With our car we headed to one of the 5 border control points.
We are going north, to a neighborhood of Kyrenia or Girne. We are warmly welcomed at the border. This is the legendary Turkish hospitality. Enormous flags, carved into the mountain, greet us. We have no gps but the good old paper map comes in handy and navigates us to the cabins we are about to stay in. The hosts recommend us to visit the nearby castle Buffavento.
|View from Kantara|
|Wide angle towards Buffavento|
We enter in the kingdom of huge rugged mountains. As you come closer they become not so scary. The last 6 kilometers we are accompanied by an abyss on one of the sides. But that is nothing compared to what awaits us. The castle walls are carved into the cliffs top. There are very steep stone stairs to take you up the trail. We pace ourselves to break a record so in no time we are out of air. 20 minutes later we are at the castle’s remains. If you climb to the very top you will see the sea, Girne, the shore, even the coastline of mainland Turkey if the weather allows. On the other side you will see Cyprus all the way to Nicosia. 360 degree view at its finest.
Buffavento castle is the highest castle on the island and was built during the reign of the Lusignans family. There is a system of three castles – Buffavento, Kantara and St. Hilarion Castle – it was used for patrolling the area. If you start a fire in one of the castles, the other two can see that clearly. This high-altitude communication strategy was not a priority for the Venetians, who came later. The relied on towers along the coastline and left „the Holy Trinity“ behind. Later some kings, including ones defeated in battles and ones who escaped, took care of the castles. That included Richard the Lionheart who is also popular at the island for other things. He is most famous for taking over Cyprus when his wife and daughter were kidnapped.
|We came from this road|
|Climbing with some obstacles|
|We are now higher than the carved flags|
|The view from the top|
Let’s get back to the castles.
After some kilometers towards the Akamas peninsula, we reached the second castle Kantara. You need to climb a hundred or so steps to reach it and enjoy its prolonged location along a ridge.
|One head, two bodies|
It’s beach time! Beaches here are so huge and so empty!
We visited Alagadi beach and Caplica beach (the latter had sign saying „the most beautiful beach“). Beautiful and totally empty. Maybe it wasn’t high season (it’s the end of September). The waters are warm and the sand feels like silk!
We took the secondary bumpy coast road and found a real treasure – hidden beaches, cliffs with amazing shapes, fortress ruins.
Driving along this road was shaky and at the same time calming experience. On one of the sides you see the asphalt deteriorating from the salty waves. On the other, you see the distances being lit by the soft September sun… It was time to swim in the pool right next to our cabins and enjoy the sunset from the second floor. We realized why the Ozonkoy neighborhood is so attractive for all people on holiday – the combination of the grey seas on the right, the sun falling asleep over the rugged mountains on the left, the lower neighborhoods of Girne in the distance. We were lucky to be there and we found this place accidentally. Sometimes the best places and moments find you.