Though I was very sad to see Istanbul go, I was excited about the chance for a new adventure. So, after giving the guy at the reception desk one last high seven, I got on a bus for Atatutk Airport. The flights were unremarkable except for the fact that I couldn't just fly straight to Cyprus from Istanbul but had to go through Athens. A journey that should have taken an hour, tops, took over five. Still, it was child’s play compared to the two days it took to get to this area in the first place.
The disjointed journey was due to the long history of... let’s say antipathy between Cyprus and Turkey. In fact, Cyprus is the home of the only divided capital in the world. The city of Nicosia (or Lefkosia, depending on who you ask) has a UN guarded 'Green Line' that runs through the walls of the old city. On one side is Greek Cyprus, and on the other side is Turkish Cyprus. So great is the animosity between the two that, when I arrived, my cousin (aunt?) Evangelia told me that she would have rather come to pick me up at an airport two hours away in Paphos then go across the Green Line to the airport on the Turkish side.
I knew that my grandfather had fought in the British Army in Egypt, but I didn't realize how much the British actually influenced Cyprus. Cyprus, like many countries, was once under British control. The plugs and proper driving lanes are all reminiscent of the U.K, while the people here also seem to have quite a few ties to England. Evangelia has many British friends whom she visits often (even a British half-sister) and many Cypriot children go to England to study, like Evangelia's granddaughter. Nowadays, it’s a very popular place for British tourists to chill in the sun and sand.
Cyprus is actually also very popular for British weddings – a tradition, they say, that was started by Richard the Lionheart who married his wife Berengaria Of Navarre here. It could also have to do with the fact that it is supposed to be the place where Aphrodite emerged from the sea. Either way, most of the tourists that come here are British.
Evangelia and Andrea have been the perfect hosts and I feel so comfortable in their house. I am very excited to be spending the next five or so days here.