Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cyprus Wrap Up

Total distance: 441km
Distance on unsealed roads: 15km
Nights spent camping: 5
Days spent cycling: 10
Average distance per day: 44km
Longest day: 77km
Maximum speed: 56.3kph
Highest altitude: 1850m

Best stretch of cycling: Stavros to Kykkos. Gently undulating smooth roads, cut into the sides of mountains, 1000m above the sea.

Least enjoyable section: Turkish coastline near Girne, with kilometer after kilometer of British expat orientated advertising interspersed with casinos

UN Buffer Zone crossings: 4

Maximum of number of names for each town: 3 (British, Greek, Turkish). Makes correlating road signs, maps and locals instructions all the more fun.

Best Coffee: With 85 years of experience it is difficult to beat the morning Cypriot coffee prepared by Andrew’s grandma’s cousin’s wife, a retired paediatrician

Best Convenience Store Snack: Petit-Beurre Biscuits. Bought on the Turkish side to cut down on random Euro purchases

Best Local Food: Cypriot Halloumi (from either side). Served in slabs of finely folded salty goodness. This island is home to one of life’s great pleasures: fried cheese. Also available in souvlaki form in Nicosia.

Fruit and nuts commandeered from the roadside:
  • Almonds – donated
  • Chestnuts – gathered
  • Figs – pilfered
  • Mandarins, oranges, lemons – plucked
  • Pomegranates - twisted
  • Olives – not good in the raw state (Ali says ‘I told you so’)

Largest Item extracted from tyre: 3cm long metal spike

Number of ‘short-term stays’ at Tony’s B&B on a Sunday morning (observed only): 3

Ratio of genuine audience members to family and friends of film-makers at the Cyprus International Film Festival (short film screening): 1:2

Best Camp Site: A tie between our terraced hillside amongst almond trees and the unexpected official campground that appeared at Stavros, cloaked by fruiting chestnut trees. In the evening, nut gatherers (including park rangers) took turns to comb the area and throw rather large branches into the trees to dislodge their prizes. Overnight we were lulled into a deep sleep by the calming melody of falling chestnuts bombs. Needless to say we left with our own collection.

Cycling Tourist Verdict:
If you can brave the coastline packed with villas, casinos and expats and the inflated European prices (Greek side > Turkish side) your bike is in for a treat. Gorgeous weather makes Cyprus a great locale when other parts are getting chilly. We suggest heading to the mountains. The climbs are tough, but you’ll be rewarded with hundreds of kilometers of asphalt roads (almost to yourself), plenty of stealth camping opportunities and handfuls of luscious roadside fruits.


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