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’.
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:
Elaine (Liebfraumilch & Lipstick)
Daryl (Out and About in New York City)
Riverpoet (Poetic Licence)