Orientation and Ayia Napa/Larnaca

Nicosia Travel Blog

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Out of water again. The last time it came on it stayed for 10 hours and now it's off again, but that's what happens when you're living in a country that has seen rain twice in the past four years. However, it rained on Sunday and I've never seen more Cypriots shocked and more unable to drive since I've been here (and they are the worst drivers I have ever seen in my life). So while I wait for the water to come back on so I can at the very least take a shower I'll tell you a bit about my trip so far.

I arrived in Nicosia 3 weeks ago from today shockingly and the first week was filled with orientation. This orientation was less about school and the classes we would be taking and more about what it means to be Cypriot, Greek, how to eat tons of delicious food in one sitting, and how to efficiently hate everyone Turkish. However, before 1974 Cypriot Greeks and Turks lived peacefully on one relatively small island. When Cyprus won independence from the British in 1960, Turkey began making plans to invade and seize parts of the island (which Turkey successfully accomplished in 1974). If you’re wondering why these big countries are fighting over such a small island I suggest you pull up Google right now and take a look at Cyprus on a Map. This island is situated perfectly between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It’s historically been used a as port on various trade routes from Asia to the Middle East to Europe. The Country that has access to the Island can benefit economically, and therefore politically. Therefore it’s no wonder or coincidence that the European Union invited Cyprus to join in 2004. It also shows a significant divide between the Christian world in Europe and the Islamic/Pan Arab world in North Africa and the Middle East. Civilization clash anyone?

I think of Cyprus as a tiny California. You have wine country in the North, Mountain ranges that are snowy enough to ski in, warm beaches to the West and some really beautiful villages. You could literally spend the morning skiing in the Troodos Mountains and then slip into a bikini and be on the beach 30 minutes later. Since 1974, Cyprus has been divided between the Cypriot Greeks and Turkey. However, last year they opened a few checkpoints so citizens could freely move between the Turkish occupied area and what is actually considered Cyprus (where I’m staying). As a side note, every country in the world recognizes Cyprus as a Legal entity except for Turkey, but not one country has recognized the Turkish occupied areas in Cyprus. You can imagine how angry Turkey must be that Cyprus was invited in the European Union when Turkey has been denied for more than 10 years now and is still pursuing EU membership. It’s a pretty significant time to be studying in Cyprus, though, because in September Cyprus and Turkey began peace talks that will hopefully eventually lead to a reconciliation and unification of the island.

The weekend after Orientation, we took a 3-day trip to Ayia Napa and Larnaca. In Larnaca we visited a Mosque where Mohammed's Aunt is supposedly burried and we also visited a beautiful church. Ayia Napa beach city with the clearest water I’ve ever seen. We spent the weekend at the beach getting tan, parasailing, bungee jumping (which I was too afraid and poor to do), and cliff jumping. I literally stood on the cliff for about 10 minutes freaking out before I finally took a foot and step off the cliff. Best decision ever.
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photo by: JP-NED