Tuesday, 3 February 2009

All the fours........

Cheshire Wife has tagged me to post and write about the 4th photograph in my 4th folder.

So here it is:

I bet you just knew it would be a holiday photograph didn't you?

This is me sitting in the shade of the balcony to our room at the Abbey Inn, Bellapaix in Northern Cyprus in August 2005.

Bellapaix is up in the mountains not far from Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus and the home of Bellapaix Abbey, a great example of Gothic architecture. Also the author Lawrence Durrell lived in Bellapaix in the early 1950s. His house is still there and is called ‘Bitter Lemons’ a reminder of his book ‘Bitter Lemons of Cyprus’ in which he weaves the politics, history and culture of Bellapaix with his accounts of everyday life for himself and the islanders.

We couldn't fly direct to Northern Cyprus because Northern Cyprus is under Turkey's durisdiction so we had to land at Istanbul, from where the flight was treated as an internal one. We had to vacate the plane, complete with hand luggage, walk all through the airport and board the same plane. This was OK as we needed to stretch our legs but when we got back on the plane our seats had been taken by people who had just booked an internal flight and had boarded  Istanbul whilst we were walking round the airport! Although slightly annoying, we were able to find seats together a little further back on the plane but we wouldn’t have been so accommodating had we paid for extra leg room like some people who had lost their seats!

We arrived at Ercan airport and were picked up by a minibus to take us to our hotel. There were eight of us on the bus and all was well until about 20 minutes into the 35 minute journey when the bus broke down and we had to wait half an hour for taxis to arrive to complete our journey. This was about 1 a.m. and we were tired and hungry but the bus driver was so gracious and apologetic we didn’t complain. Two taxis arrived and we were told they would take us all to the hotels but some luggage would have to sit on the road until they’d dropped us off and they would go back for it! Of course we all refused to leave our luggage sitting at the side of the road so they sent for another taxi for the luggage before we would set off. Once all the taxis were assembled it only took ten minutes to complete our journey. We were stopped in the middle of the main street trying to identify our luggage as the drivers unceremoniously dragged it from the taxis. Eventually one of the drivers pointed to an archway which led to a little cobbled side street and we made out the sign of our hotel ‘The Abbey Inn’.

We entered the hotel and were shown to our room, which opened out onto the pool area. The hotel consists of 10 bedrooms built round the secluded pool and is a haven of peace and tranquillity, the only sound being from birds and crickets. It has its own small restaurant and serves snacks and drinks throughout the day and is just a stones-throw away from the Abbey itself. The hotel is so secluded and hidden away, if you walk up the main street and reach the Abbey you have missed the hotel and will have to retrace your steps.
The village is criss-crossed with old Crusader roads, dating back to the time of Richard the Lionheart, and there are numerous restaurants where you are welcome to have a refreshing drink even if you don’t want to eat. Only once did we venture down into Kyrenia (the main resort) about a twenty minute taxi ride away, it was enough to convince us we’d made the right decision choosing Bellapaix.

We did go on one trip to Famagusta, which was the second largest city on Cyprus but is now divided and Varosha which was occupied by Greek Cypriots is now a ghost town since it was invaded by the Turks. We had seen Famagusta from the southern side of Cyprus, whilst on a boat trip, and took the opportunity to see it from the North. If you don’t know the history of Famagusta you can read about it here and see a covert video of Varosha here.

During the day many coach tours came to Bellapaix, because of the Abbey ruins and the association of Lawrence Durrell, but we never saw them because or days were spent sunbathing, reading and floating in our hotel pool, secreted away from the tourists. Occasionally we ventured out to eat lunch or go for a walk around the village, after the crowds had gone, and when it got too hot we retired to our shady balcony or even our air conditioned room for a nap.

With a reasonable amount of restaurants to choose from we were able to vary our dining and wherever we ate the views were stunning, this was one holiday we weren’t ready to end. Even now when we talk about our past holidays, Bellapaix comes out near the top of the list as probably one of the most relaxing holidays we have ever had.

I hope you enjoyed this, you can click on the photos to make them bigger if you like.

I now have to tag 4 bloggers, so I hope you'll play along:

Riverpoet (Poetic Licence)


Lisa said...

Wow. It looks so pretty there! Yet another destination I'll add to the list of places I'd love to see. :)

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

wow that is beautiful! wonderful post!

smiles, bee

Daryl said...

I promise to do this, this weekend along with the two others MEMES I have been tagged to do .. now to figure a way to consolidate them!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. How come everyone got tagged to do the 4th photo and I was instructed to pick the 5th?

Mike Golch said...

great posting.

Spiky Zora Jones said...

sweetie, this is a fantastic post.. I mean it.

the photos rock and so do you.

It's just wonderful. Thank you honey. I love readig you.


cheshire wife said...

Thank you for playing. Very enjoyable post. I have been wanting to go to Northern Cyprus for sometime. Now you have taken me there.

Dr.John said...

I loved the pictures and the tour. I feel bad that we humans end up dividing such beautiful places over ancient grudges.

Cloudia said...

Beautiful post! I too prefer to avoid the MAIN tourist area for the more boutique hotels. Dreaming of Durell . . . Thanks! aloha-

Finding Pam said...

That sounds like a lovely trip. The photos are awsome...

Ron said...

Awesome post, Akelamalu!

I'm telling you, with all the fascinating traveling you've done, you could start a travel blog!!!

These photo's are out of this world - you're a PRO!

I especially enjoyed the one of the Bellapaix Abbey (the one with the arches).

Thanks for sharing this adventure, dear lady!

Thoroughly enjoyed it!


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

That's a neat photo! Thanks for following up with the others.

RiverPoet said...

Oh, I love your photos!!!

I did this meme a while back, so you can see my answers here. Enjoy!

Peace - D

buffalodick said...

Another beautiful place in the world I've never seen! Glad you made it!

Akelamalu said...

It is beautiful Lisa, I hope you get to see it someday :)

Glad you enjoyed it Bee x

I look forward to reading yours Daryl, you have so many photos!

I thought the same thing when I read yours Citizen! LOL I suppose it has to change somewhere along the line in case you get tagged more than once?

Cheers Mike :)

You always leave such love comments Spiky, thankyou. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed doing the meme Cheshire Wife so thankyou for tagging me. Glad you enjoyed the trip. :)

I feel bad about that too Dr.John. Glad you enjoyed the tour. :)

We do try to find out of the way hotels Cloudia, so much more peaceful x

I'm so pleased you enjoyed them Pam x

I have a confession to make Ron - MWM probably took the photos I'm not much good at it! However, the travelogue is all mine! :)

Glad you enjoyed them Nick

Ah in that case Riverpoet consider yourself untagged! LOL I tried the link but it wouldn't let me open the page up fully so I couldn't read it. Then I went to your blog and tried to find it in the archives and couldn't. :(

CG said...

Very interesting post! I'm preparing mine now!

MarmiteToasty said...

What a beautiful post, as usual..... we went to Cyprus 3 years ago and just fell in love with the place, except we were in southern Cyprus in a isolated villa in the mountains....

Im still getting knocked off me internet connection every time I try and log on here :( hence me not being able to come over everyday, cos then its difficult sometimes to reconnect......

love ya girl


aims said...

Cyprus is on our list of places to see and be.

I can see why - thanks!

(lovely lovely flag btw)

Julia Smith said...

What a great meme - I'm going to stash it in my memes-to-do file. I'll let you know when I do it. Beautiful pictures! Especially the one of the abbey, and then the view from the abbey. Sigh.

tony said...

I,ve never been to The North Of Cyprus.they say it is much more Beautiful than the South?

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

You RULE! What a lovely, thorough job on the "4th Photo" meme, Akelamalu. It sounds like you had a wonderful time in Cyprus.

Deb said...

Beautiful photos! Thanks for the virtual tour - I love seeing and learning about places I have not yet traveled to - you are a great tour guide!

Travis said...

Looks beautiful!

nitebyrd said...

Sounds heavenly to me. Beautiful pictures!

Akelamalu said...

I'm looking forward to reading your CG! :)

Southeren Cyprus is beautiful too Marmie. I wish I knew why my blog kept throwing you off, I'd do something about it. Love you too. x

I hope you get to Cyrprus Aims, you will love it!

Oh great stuff Julia, I just know you'll do a great job of the meme! Glad you like the photos.

North and South Cyprus are beautiful Tony but I particularly loved Bellapaix. :)

Aw thanks JAPRA, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. :)

So pleased you enjoyed the tour Deb. x

It was Trav :)

Heavenly - yes it was Nitebyrd :)

CrAzY Working Mom said...

What a beautiful place! :)
Oh, I wanna go there...NOW!!!

Robin said...

i always love your holiday pics and stories! it looks wonderful.

Akelamalu said...

You would absolutely love it Tisha!

So pleased you enjoyed them Robin. Nice to see you out and about honey. xx

Akelamalu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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