Cyprus

Greetings from Cyprus!

Here is what has happened in past days:

Interesting thing happened when I started my bike in Pamukkale… My dear bike coughed cloud of blue smoke from her exhaust! This has never happened before, so no idea what caused it… She has only a bit over 193 thousand kilometers, so should not do this yet…

In any case, left Pamukkale and headed further south. After 20-30 km to the south started really nice road (E87). This road had good surface, some nice curves and really beautiful scenery. Road climbed almost to 1600m high, where air was clean and cool! Nice!
Terrain around the road was quite dry, barren and mountains surrounded lonely traveller from all sides 🙂 This is beautiful!!! What a perfect start for the morning!

At some point I stopped for a drink (gas station), just to admire the scenery when gas station owner started to talk to me. Of course I could not understand a word what he said, but still he continued 🙂
Then he got brilliant idea, asked me to come in to the gas station, opened his computer and typed his questions to the google translator! After this, we could discuss fluently 🙂
Soon he invited me for a cup of tea with his friends. No computer nearby, so discussion went back to hand gestures.

This nice road lasted almost all the way to Antalya. From there I Rode to Alanya, following a boooooring coastal road.
Coast was littered with holiday resorts, so nothing for me…

Actually I stopped once before Alanya. My map showed that there should be waterfall in Manavgat. Decided to go and check this place.
After searching and getting lost couple of times, I finally found it.
It looked really suspicious, because to enter the area I had to walk through metal detector! Of course it beeped to me because I was walking through it with my motorcycle gear on… No-one cared even it beeped, so I was able to enter to this tourist hell (after I payed 3,5 lira entrance fee).
Area was full of tourists, people tried to sell me stuff, asked if I wanted photo taken of me in front of the waterfall etc normal stuff…
Waterfall itself was maybe 2 meters high, what a major disappointment 🙂 After you have seen waterfalls in Iceland, you are allowed to expect decent waterfall if it is marked to a map.
Spent maybe 2 seconds looking this “waterfall” and then got away there quickly.

I knew that there is a ferry from Alanya to Cyprus. Spent almost 1,5 hours riding around in traffic jams looking for the ferry terminal. Finally I gave up and asked someone where I could find ferry and ticket office.
In a ticket office I heard that these ferrys take only passengers, if I want to take my bike with me, I need to go to Tasucu, which is around 250km away. So, helmet back on and towards to Tasucu.

A bit south from Alanya started again really nice small, curvy road! This road followed coast, but was going surprisingly high in the mountains. Real shame is that after few years this nice road will be replaced by motorway and also this road will be boring ride 🙁
I understand that bigger road is good for economy, but they should leave this nice road also for the people who want to enjoy their ride, not just to go fast from one point to another.

Evening got closer and hunger in my stomache grew bigger, so I decided to stop for a night somewhere around Anamur.
I did not see aircon in my room, so thought that I need to sleep with my balcony door open. Luckily I had skype call with my friend when she saw aircon machine on the wall… I must be totally blind for not seeing it… Well she got really good laugh for that evening 🙂

On Tuesday bike smoked again! My conclusion is that 10W-40 is not good oil for such hot temperatures, need to change them at some point.
I had only around 120km to Tasucu and plenty of time, because ferry would not leave until midnight.
Took the whole day really easily enjoying this curvy coastal road and nice scenery (nothing spectacular, but just nice).
After getting ferry ticket (once again big thanks to google translator), I rode to Silifke to search for Wifi. Found one internet cafe, but they did not allow me to use my own computer, so continued my search.
Finally found another internet cafe, ofcourse, it was just few hundred meters away from the ferry terminal 🙂

Getting through all the customs and paperwork was quite simple. Only thing what made me wonder a bit was the thing that they wanted to keep my passport… Their comment was that you will get it back after boarding.
After passing all of the paperworks, I just needed to wait and wait a bit more… Around 1am they started boarding.

It was a RoRo-ship, so it was quite “rough”, no sleeping cabins, quite dirty and everyone slept in same room. Room had carpet flooring with lot of memories in it (spilled coffee/tea/food/spit/vomit and who knows what else). It wasn´t problem for me, so I got good sleep. Got woken up once during the night when I got my passport back.

Morning started with a real hassle with the paperwork. I had to go back and forth to different counters, some counters several times… Luckily people were quite helpful and some even spoke english. Whole process took around 1,5 hours.
Once I was ready to leave, I saw finnish bike at the parking area outside of the terminal. Rider had spent 2 days in Cyprus and was heading to Georgia, Russia and then to Hungary.

He also reminded me that Cyprus has left-side traffic. This was not so difficult, just needed to remember how I rode in Malta few years back. So, no issues there.

For my surprise, GPS showed really rough map of Cyprus. Only few major roads were marked to the map and those were not accurate at all. Luckily I got paper map from fellow rider, so navigation did not cause big problems.

Passing the border between north- and south Cyprus did not cause any issues, just needed to get one paper filled. Bordet personnel were really helpful also in these borders.

I was quite surprised when I saw UN peacekeepers between the borders. Waved my hand to the guy at the watchtower and guard waved back to me 🙂

I really enjoyed excellent, small, curvy roads at the center of the island.
Visited also highest point of the island, Mount Olimpus. Well, I tried, but top of the mountain was occupied by army, so no entrance for tourists (got up to 1930m).

After this I rode to the south tip of the island. Or actually tried, but southern tip was occupied by RAF… Seems like a lot of army stuff here and from so many nations.
I guess also americans are here?

Close to the southern tip, there was salt lake. Stopped to take a photo of the bike when I saw a guy approaching me with “windsurfthingy” (not sure how it is called). Changed few words and then other guy approached with similar “thingy” (this one was 2-seater).

They asked if I want to have a testride and of course I wanted! Unfortunately wind was not strong enough, so we were just cruising around.
Thank you guys for this new experience!

Couldn´t find hotel, motel, hoster or camping in between Limassol and Larnaca, so stayed in a Cactus hotel in Larnaca.
Hotel owner gave me some good ideas what to see today and also gave me free internet for yesterday evening! Thank you for this!
Now I was able to download Cyprus map for my GPS from Openstreemap-page and for my surprise this map was really detailed!

Today I got a bit worried after I arrived to the border between south- and north-Cyprus. Border guards asked me how I brought this bike to the southside “don´t you know you cannot bring this over here”…
I am not totally sure what he ment with that, but I just put on my tourist face and showed all the papers I got from earlier border crossing as also showed my route from the map.
Guards eased up and actually were really nice. After I explained what I am doing, they just waved me forward 🙂

On the border to the northern Cyprus, insurance dealers tried to force me to buy new insurance for my bike, even I still had valid insurance from yesterday. They just said it is not valid today…
I told them this is not true and I that will check this with the customs officials, left those guys standing there and went to customs. There I had no problems with my valid insurance from yesterday 🙂

Now I was again in northern side and close to the city of Famagusta. Old part of the city is inside of massive walls, rode around a bit over there and enjoyed tasty ice tea.

Most famous part of the city is known as a “ghost town” Varosha, Famagusta.
I followed as much as possible this fence around the closed city, it is huge area!
I just cannot figure out why this area was fenced in the first place and left like that…
It really looked like a “ghost town”, I guess Prypiat looks quite much the same.

After this city tour I visited north-east corner of the island. Met couple wild donkeys on my way there and back 🙂
I also met few people from Prague, one of them works for Nokia :), so we shortly discussed about the announced lay-offs. They wished me safe trip and said they will also follow my blog.
Beaches looked almost totally empty, tourists like to work their tan somewhere else (I guess).

Spending night now in Girne, because tomorrow I will go back to Turkey.
I have feeling that after tomorrow this tourist stuff is going to end (well couple attractions I still need to check) and real trip will start 🙂 I guess there will be nice areas to take nice photos (been really lazy in Cyprus), but this is all I reveal at the moment 😉

Having now 3,5 week old beard, so my face starts to look like a travellers face 🙂

7 thoughts on “Cyprus

  1. Hy my friend… nice reading … pls do not write so much …hard to find the time for so much reading …. go ahead !

  2. Hi Marko,
    I´m one of the german bikers from Transfagarasan, Romania and I will follow your journey with excitement. I wish you good luck and a nice and save trip around the world.
    Horst

  3. Hi Marko,

    Soon there will be 1 month since you started the trip and it is amazing how many stunning places you visited and how many nice people you met already. Nice to hear that language barriers can be overcomed if there is a true wish for that.
    Seems quite difficult for you and your bike to stay together in some places, but you are doing your best. Bike should be grateful for that and not present any quality issues…:)
    Curious to see what is the next destination, you do not seem to reveal much info about that…:)

    • Hi Tatiana,
      Yes, time flies really fast!
      What I am mostly surprised is hospitality of the people.
      I think when traveling with motorcycle, people are more interested to ask where I am coming and where I am going.

      Now I am in quite amazing place 🙂

      Language is not an barrier 🙂

      Br,
      Marko

  4. Hey Marko;
    It was really nice to meet you here in Cyprus.I wish you good luck on your trip,I believe after this trip you will see that “world is smaller than people think and people are nicer than you think” and by the way,don’t forget to check “Great sufi master Rumi”.
    Levent

  5. Moi Marko,

    you will get bored for this one, but nice pics!!!
    How blue can water be.. The salt lake wind surfing must have been quite fun! Btw, based on your pic of a donkey, I started to think they must be related to poros. Both look equally stupid…

    Take care and keep on posting!

    Br, Tiina

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