Deks walk to the Oasis

    Today is the calm before the storm.  The weather is perfect; lots of sun and no wind.  It’s T-shirt weather, almost.  Monday’s weather forecast is iffy which will make the Monday market messy if we even get to go. Tuesday is supposed to be rainy and Wednesday a humdinger with rain and wind.  Good days for staying in and cleaning the boat.  And now, finally, the gym is open as well as the small mini-market. I prefer outdoor walking rather than the treadmill and the Monday market is our favorite for loading up on fruit and vegetables, but in bad weather it’s nice to have the choice.   We’ll just have to see.

    This past Thursday we had beautiful weather for our Deks walk.  Here’s the story.


Deks Walk # 8 to the Oasis

Our walk this past Thursday was a walk along the coast to the Oasis for coffee. We’ve been once before, back in December, but each time we take a slightly different route and see different things. Lots of wildflowers are blooming now and I collected some to identify during our coffee time.


How did we get across?

I was so busy collecting wildflowers that I didn’t think to take photos of us all scrambling across the small rocks at the left (coming from the far side) of the giant puddle.


In December everything had been dry; now there are puddles and streams.

Group photo time, but without Deena to set the timer we had to do it twice.


Milson, Mick, Dedi, Julia, Denise, me, Randal


Milson, Mick, Dedi, Julia, Denise, Pat, Randal

We were walking to where you can see trees just behind Milson’s head in the top photo and Mick’s head in the bottom photo.

This was beginning to be like an Outward Bound group challenge crossing puddles and climbing down rocks…



Looks like lots of rock climbing and I could really milk these photos, but it really was not far from top to bottom.


Then we were at the beach.



The rooms are clean but Spartan with shared toilets and showers; we all agreed we were past that kind of thing and wanted our “en suite” and wifi, etc.


We sat in the screened in porch for our coffee.

Julia and I each brought a packet of biscuits to share. (Packet of biscuits in “American” is a package of cookies.)

A mix of younger and “older” came for coffee.

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Hopping around on the porch was this bird of prey and we “older” folks gave it a wide berth.

I’m not sure what type of bird it is, with the orange beak it could be a falcon of some sort.  Anyone know?  It was well enough fed to ignore a small sparrow-like bird that had gotten itself trapped on the porch unable to figure out how to fly out.


The younger folks had no fear at all and perhaps had been introduced during previous visits as they seemed to know it quite well. I think they said it had been wounded and now couldn’t fly so was a pet of the restaurant.



It did seem quite comfortable around people and definitely unafraid of cameras.


It was a bit more wary of dogs as it and Dedi eye each other.


Showing who’s boss; Dedi is on a leash or would naturally go for the bird I would think.


Danger is passed so feathers are back down.


Erin and Denise; posed.


Erin and Denise; candid

Erin had driven Denise, Julia, Randal and me to the start of the walk and had then come to retrieve us. Mick’s wife Brenda had also joined us at the Oasis for coffee and had driven Pat and Milson back to their car. Our motorbike was back at Deks.

We are very lucky to have Denise because we really like these walks and I enjoy my Turkish lessons. Erin grew up in this area so knows places to walk not listed in the small walking guide. Next Thursday we’re off to a new walk where wild flowers are blooming like crazy. Hope the weather cooperates! 

Deks is the name of their restaurant.  It used to stand for Denise Erin Keith Sue.  Keith and Sue were former partners.  Now Kib and Bobby are the other partners so it stands for Denise Erin Kib and the Skinny guy as Bobby is very trim. 

Renewing our visa

  Today Spring arrived but it may go away again come Monday.  I’ve started doing some spring cleaning and it’s a pain but it’s nice to have the boat cleaner.  It certainly does accumulate dust for being out on the water. 

   Last Monday we did a "visa run" and here is the story. 


     When you enter a country as a visitor, there is usually a time limit after which you must leave. Every country is different though the European Union countries are all pretty similar. In China we had to leave every 30 days so we would take the ferry to Hong Kong for the day. One time we just walked across the border at Gong Bai to Macau, turned around and then walked back across the bridge to China, getting stamped out, in, out and in. In the Philippines you just had to pay money for a new visa, but not leave the country. Singapore was a mess for the boat. In Malaysia we’d go to Singapore for the day to get stamped out and into Singapore and then and out of Singapore and back into Malaysia. In Indonesia we were part of a rally. While in Turkey, we took a ferry to Rhodes, Greece for the day getting a new 90 day visa when we returned. When we entered North Cyprus we were given 90 days but were here just 2 weeks before we flew home to the US. When we returned mid-November we were given 90 days at the airport immigration desk. At the end of November we crossed the border into South Cyprus for shopping with friends Bill and Judy and when we crossed back asked for, and were given 90 more days. Usually, if you’re over the age of 60, getting a 90 day visa is not a problem. Under 60 seems to have no set rule and you can get anything they want to give that particular day. Some people opt for temporary residency if they plan to stay for at least a year but until a few weeks ago, cruisers weren’t allowed to get residency rights. Our friend Sharman was the first and that took lots of paperwork from the marina and the government of Yenierenköy as well as a visit or two to the Immigration Office in Nicosia. Anyway, to make a complicated story longer, this past Monday friends Rob and Julia drove us to Nicosia where we all walked across the border into South Cyprus for some shopping. When you cross into the South you are stamped out of North Cyprus. When we returned north, we would ask for a new 90 day stamp. Rob and Julia crossed back with no problem. They have lived here for 6 years and are temporary residents. Then when Randal and I tried to cross back the guard surprised us when he told us he wouldn’t give us an additional 90 days because we’d already gotten other 90 day stamps and we should apply for residency. We told him we would be leaving at the end of April or early May and that we lived on a boat so until very recently weren’t allowed residency. Those arguments plus the fact that we had no car to drive back for short durations stamps swayed him to give us 90 day stamps. We thanked him, of course but it was touch and go for a bit. Luckily this stamp will do us for the rest of our stay; we just probably won’t head south again!

We ate and we shopped and we shopped and we ate…..that was our day.

We drove from Karpaz to Nicosia arriving just about lunch time. Rob and Julia have a favorite place and that’s where we ate; and now it will be a favorite of ours too. Hamur Restaurant and Bar has good food at a good price in a charming setting. What more could you want.


Hamur Restaurant & Bar

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Hamur Restaurant – Nicosia

Hamur Restaurant & Bar is located in the heart of Lefkosa ( the Turkish name for Nicosia) and has a warm and homely atmosphere where you can relax while dining. Hamur offer a Take-Away service as well as the option of dining outside on the terrace or inside in one of the 3 large high ceiling rooms with an open fire to keep you warm and comfortable.

The cuisine reflects its name ( hamur means dough in Turkish) and offers a delightful menu of traditional Cypriot pastry dishes including the popular choice ‘MANTI’ (ravioli). Hamur has an ongoing successful reputation since 1995 when it was first established by a couple; whom are aware of the importance of the survival of such traditions not only to its people but also to the culture as a whole, which is where the story began.

The skill of cooking pastry was something that was passed on through generations and this was no different for Ahmet and Hulya (owners of Hamur). It had always been the mother or grandmother role in the house that carried such skill and with no hesitation made such preparations every day.

As time changed, the Turkish Cypriot cooking traditions started to change as lifestyle changed for the women figure in the house. We amongst many believe that Hamur and its owners have restored this gap and have been serving us with traditional Cypriot pastry dishes that many households, men, women and children thought to be fading.

Interpretation of what you can find on the menu:

MANTI (Ravioli)- Stuffed pastry with choice of Beef minced meat, Chicken minced meat, cheese and Hellim, Lentil and Yoghurt. Turkish style (with yoghurt) or Cypriot style (with grated Hellim).

PASTRY – Cypriot style fried pastry pockets filled with choice of Beef minced meat, Hellim or cottage cheese (sweet).

GOZLEME – Home made thin layer of grilled dough (pancake style) with choice of Beef minced meat, Chicken minced meat, Hellim, Mushrooms, Spinach, Onion and Hellim, or Lentil. (Randal and I had onion and Hellim cheese.)

SAC KATMERI – Grilled, homemade thin layer of dough for dessert (pancake style) with option of Milk Cream or Milk Cream and Sugar.


The kitchen, visible behind the bar, is white, spotlessly clean, and I wanted to wander through but they were too busy.

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Seating in the different rooms of the restaurant.

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Early morning had been quite warm, but by noon Ahmet was lighting fires in the dining areas.

Under the glass are notes left by former diners. Julia had once searched every one of them looking for one in English. Now there is one for sure; we left one under the glass at our table.


There was also a bulletin board in the entrance-way covered with messages.


Rob pretended to pose so I could take a photo of the green line guards at the end of the street dividing the city of Nicosia/Lefkosa.

We parked the car in a lot in the northern half – Lefkosa – and walked through the shopping area stopping at the Büyük Han for just a bit so Randal and I could see it. But our real purpose was to cross the border into the south so Julia could do some shopping for presents at Debenhams and also the visa that we needed so we didn’t stay long sightseeing. And it was just too chilly. Another time we’ll take the time to see the different shops and artist studios.


There were shops on the outer walls of the Han, this one sells bread but also serves tea from the huge samovar.

Inside the Büyük Han.

Originally a hostel for travelers in the late 1500s, a British prison during their rule of Cyprus, and now renovated to house shops and restaurants.





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Büyük Han (Great Inn)

Nicosia, North Cyprus

Büyük Han Exterior

One of the most important architectural works of the Ottoman period, the Büyük Han (The Great Inn) is located in the traditional market centre within the City Walls. .

The Han, which was built to provide accommodation for travellers from Anatolia and other parts of Cyprus was originally named "Alanyalilar’s Han". Later when a new inn, the Kumarcilar Han (Gamblers’ Inn) was built nearby in the 17th century, as a result of the comparison made by the public between the two Hans, it was referred to as the Büyük Han (Big Inn or Great Inn). The Han is similar to all the other Hans which can be found in the city centres of various Anatolian cities, although the Büyük Han is unusual in having two entrances. It is worth noting, however, that there is a specially strong resemblance between the Büyük Han and the Koza (Cacoon) Han in Bursa, Turkey which was built around 1490.

Büyük Han Interior

Externally, the Han resembles a fortress. Indeed during the old colonial days, the British used the Han as Nicosia Central Prison. The windows of Hans were always high up, partially to deter marauders who saw the rich merchants staying at the Han as a sources of easy riches, and partially because glass was very expensive.

The square planned, two storey Buyuk Han consists of 68 rooms which open to the vaulted galleries surrounding a square planned inner courtyard and 10 shops which open to the outside of the Han. An Ottoman Mesjid stands on marble piers, with a fountain beneath it in the centre of the courtyard.

The Buyuk Han has two entrances, east and west. The rooms on the ground floor each have a low-arched door, an arched window and a hearth. These rooms were originally used as shops, store rooms and offices. At the east side of the Han, to the left of the entrance there is a groin vaulted gallery, and to the right, a barrel vaulted one.

The Buyuk Han Mesjid

Two symmetrical stone stairways at the northwest and southeast corners of the courtyard lead to the upper floor. Here the rooms, which were originally the bedrooms of the Han, have low-arched doors with machicolations on top. There are also windows facing the outside of the Han with loopholes above, hearths with octagonal chimneys, and niches. The room which falls on top of the main entrance is larger than the rest, and its door when opened, extends all the way to the gallery.

Layers of hewn stone form the outer and inner walls of the Han. On the walls there are stone rainspouts. The building is supported by two buttresses on each of the four corners. On top of the barrel vaulted roof there are hexagonal chimneys with wedge-shaped covers indicating the hearths.

Traditional Food Preparation

From 1893 to 1961, the Han was used as a hostel for destitute families. Restoration began in 1963. The south colonnade was completely demolished and the south west corner rebuilt without any regard to the style of the original. After the events of 1963, restoration was halted for a number of years. However, after extensive renovations which took ten years, the Han was re-opened in its original style to visitors in 2002, and is now one of the Island’s finest buildings.

Beside the locals, Buyuk Han plays host to many tourists in Nicosia. Not only the cafes. but also various shops serve the visitors. Shawls, traditional handicrafts, paintings, pottery and carvings are among the many things on offer.

There are many social activities at Buyuk Han, either in daytime or at night. You can sip home made wine while listening to live music, you can listen to classical music within a concert in an authentic atmosphere, or even participate in a traditional wedding ceremony. There are folklore dance shows, piano recitals, drama shows and many others within the walls.

Outside the Han there are more shopping streets.


The box at the far left holds carob pods.

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I hope one day I’ll be brave enough to dress as colorfully; when I was young I had hair like this young man!

We crossed the border at the Lokmaci Gate, one of the 7 crossing between north and south Cyprus and a major shopping area. We walked to Debenhams a British chain so Julia could shop for gifts for friends in England. She and Rob will return to England for their daughter’s wedding in June. Then we went up to the top floor coffee shop where you can see the whole city. After coffee we visited the small grocery section where I finally found confectionary sugar and Randal bought salami. We would do most of our grocery shopping in the north on the way home. Some products can be confiscated at the border such as meat or dairy. There is a spending limit. Sometimes border guards check and sometimes they don’t. No one has ever checked us though we have never tried to bring dairy products across. Maybe we have been lucky. Apparently it’s hard to find any definitive posted lists. The same for the number of days one is given on their visa.


The population of Nicosia is between 150,000 and 200,000.

Another walking adventure

  Monday our friends Rob and Julia drove us to Nicosia for a visa run.   We ate at a really neat restaurant, did some shopping, got the visa, did more shopping, ate dinner and came home.  That’s the short story.  The longer version is taking a bit longer to write.  In the meantime here is a story about today’s really long walk.  Tomorrow is Thursday so there will be a Deks walk if the weather cooperates.  This past Tuesday Turkish lessons started again so between the walking and the lessons, practicing my "art," finishing the vest I started knitting, reading, time is moving way too fast.  And soon it will be baseball season.  Go Sox!!!


Too Long Walk in the Wind

Today I needed a long walk. I’d gotten comfortable with walks of an hour or 90 minutes and that had been enough, especially when I walked up the hill to Sipahi’s small market and back. But then I started joining Sharman and Sophie on their morning walks and built up to 2, 3 and 4 hours of hill walking. For a variety of reasons, I’ve not done a long walk for several days, so was champing at the bit. Today Sharman and Sophie indulged me, and off we went at 8 am for a loop walk to the old carob warehouses on the coast, continue on into Yenierenköy, and then back through Sipahi. At least that was the plan when we started and the sun was warm and the winds calm. I say that Sharman and Sophie indulged me because Sharman’s knee had been acting up and she was wearing a knee wrap when we started out. By the end of the walk, 5 ½ hours later, it was sheer determination and that stiff upper lip the British have that kept her going. She wouldn’t hear of my calling Randal to give her a ride home on the motorbike while I walked with Sophie. When we got back to the marina we met the trainer from the newly opened gym and he asked Sharman if she were coming to the gym later. We told him about our walk and he told Sharman she could just do upper body work! Sharman has been using the gym and the trainer is much impressed with her. Randal goes 3 times each week rather than joining us for the walks but he still does the Thursday Deks walks. Maybe one day I’ll go to the gym….maybe.


The Augean Stables or Sisyphus and the Boulder

Just past the marina are these piles of rocky dirt. The man in the photo is taking shovels full and throwing them against a screen making a sifted pile of dirt. The making of a modern Mediterranean myth.


A Fowl Dinner

The only thing left were feathers; not a bone in sight. But there were the remains of a camp fire and quarters of squeezed lemons so we gathered the bird was consumed by humans and not wild dogs or a fox. Sophie is munching on the leftover feathers.

We walked on dirt paths and then scrambled over rocks along the coast and along sand dunes…until finally coming to the Halk Plaj Restaurant. It was about 10:15 so we were ready for some tea. I’d wolfed down some oatmeal for breakfast while racing to get ready to meet Sharman at 8 am. Somehow my clock had lost an hour so I got up late but made it on time. Sharman’s breakfast is usually just a piece of fruit so she was ready for some food. So it was the perfect time and place for a snack.


Table for two in the sun on the porch set up just for us. (At that time we were the only customers.)

You can see a playground in the background and there is also, just behind it some exercise equipment for adults. There is a public beach on the other side of the restaurant.


Savory cheese börek for me! (Phyllo dough wraps filled with feta cheese flavored with herbs.)

Sharman had a cheese, tomato and cucumber sandwich and great olives. Sophie got a bit of the bread and cheese but Sharman and I ate all of the börek.


Our host, chef, and new friend Ozturk Eriman at Halk Plaj Restaurant

He came to Cyprus at age 5 and is now married with one baby son. His wife’s name in Sultan and his son’s name is Ahmet age 1 ½ . We had a lovely chat because lucky for us Ozturk speaks English quite well. We asked the restaurant’s hours so will return another day for a lunch of voppa (sardines.)

Well fed and watered ( Ozturk had brought Sophie some water in a bowl) and with the sun still shining we set off for the carob warehouses. I’ve sent photos before but here are more because it’s such a lovely place.

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Where is Sophie?

I walked down to the warehouse to give Sophie an extra romp, Sharman’s knee a rest, ( and me a place to hide behind to get rid of 2 cups of tea.) Somehow Sophie and I lost each other and I was a bit past the low building when I could see Sharman ahead but no Sophie. She could see me but no Sophie. I ran back to the warehouses calling “Sophie” and heard anxious barking. Sophie waited until I was all the way back and she could make sure it was me before she jumped up and came to me making it clear that she didn’t appreciate being “lost” by me. All three of us were relieved.


It was lovely with lots of fields where Sophie could run and chase the birds.

But then the wind started to pick up; Sharman’s knee started to really act up, and both of us agreed that the way back through the center of Yenierenköy and then through Sipahi might be too long. We decided to take the shortest way home which would also pass by one of the town shops as Sharman needed bread and I wanted some yogurt. The shop also sold the small fruit filled turnovers that Sharman likes and Diet 7Up that I drink but isn’t easy to find so I buy it when I see it.

It took us about 40 minutes from there to get back to the marina. As we were walking my phone rang. “Are you ok? Did the wind blow you away?” asked Randal.

Sharman and Sophie went back to their boat, for lunch and a rest and I returned to DoraMac and ate a giant bowl of cabbage salad, some Hellim cheese, olive hardtack (best description I can think of) and some wonderful sesame honey nut brittle. And about a gallon of tea. Wonder what’s for dinner?

Actually dinner was provided by Sharman who’d made some chicken soup yesterday and brought us a batch. It was exactly perfect!

Weather and Walking

Howling Winds!!!

It’s 5 pm and the only thing left for the weather to do today is hail! We’ve had rain, sun, wind that makes you work to walk through it; and since noon we’ve had winds registering at 45 knots! Just now the winds are a bit more quiet; maybe my words have embarrassed the gods of Mediterranean weather. I probably shouldn’t complain and make them angry. This morning Sharman, Sophie and I had a lovely walk for 3 ½ hours with weather that changed from a bit of drizzle to warm jacket shedding sun, and then back to clouds with wind. And the forecast for the next 3 days is sun. But the winds this afternoon were ridiculous! Everyone was out checking boat lines and cockpit cushions and anything else that might blow away and the marina workers were racing around looking after everything. Outside the marina walls the Mediterranean must have been beyond fierce. Now the thunder has started and the skies are getting dark.


Across the dock from us this boat was rocking pretty wildly; it’s owners home in Germany.


The marina crew checking on bow lines which must be secure as well at the lines attached to the docks keeping the boats from swinging into each other.


Dark clouds coming with the rain.


Hold onto your hat.

Randal had been checking on our friend Eve’s boat and is on his way back to DoraMac holding on to his hat. He was still wearing his gym workout shorts.

Tomorrow the weather forecast is for sun so at 8 am Sharman and Sophie will start out on their daily walk. I have begun joining them and we’ve gone exploring all of the paths through the hills between Sipahi to Deks and along the coast from the marina to Yenierenköy. We walk for hours. Randal prefers to skip the walks and goes instead to visit the gym that has just opened. There are treadmills, stationary bikes, Universal machines, and weights. He works out for about 90 minutes. Sharman uses the gym too and maybe one day I’ll go and see about making some arm muscles to go with my leg muscles.

    Yesterday we did our first Deks walk since Denise’s return from England. We were sad and happy at the same time. Sad for her family back in England but glad that she is now back because we’ve all missed her and the fun she brings into our lives. Sharman and Sophie and I walked to the walk. Randal rode the motorbike and Rob, Julia, now back from Thailand brought their neighbor who is has a school holiday in England so is here for a few weeks. It was a picture perfect day….literally.

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Cyclamen Repandum or Spring Sowbread

There are loads of wildflowers and hopefully I’ll learn the names of many more.  Heidi has loaned us a book of Mediterranean flora and fauna.

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Some of the yellow is gorse with its lovely fragrance that reminds me of forsythia or lilac but don’t touch the spiky thorns. The yellow might be fields of buttercups, mustard or rape but I’m not sure yet.


7 year old Frank, Julia’s friend visiting from England with his parents; he kept up and everyone enjoyed his company.  It was fun watching him navigate around, over or through the mud.


Sharman, Denise, Julia, Frank and Randal

We’ve hiked to this small church in the woods once before and it is always a surprise to new walkers who haven’t been there. It’s not in any walking book, but Denise’s husband grew up in the area so knew of the church.

Denise now has the phone number for “Dynamite Dave” on her cell phone. On our walk back from the church a truck came along. The men wanted to know if there was “more tour group” because they were going to dynamite up further into the hills and didn’t want to scare anyone. It was for a quarry. Denise said she would call if she thought we ever needed to let them know about our walks.

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Almost back at Deks

I wondered what was making Frank’s left sweater pocket hang to his knee….his rock collection.


Rob and Julia came for an afternoon visit.

Rob’s phone rang and it was a call was from England to plan their visit home this spring for their daughter’s June wedding. R and J had been very kind and had loaned us their car while they were vacationing in Thailand.


Our new diesel stove pipe and Randal with his heat gun to check temperatures around the stove and saloon ceiling making sure nothing gets too hot but so far so good.

It’s now almost 8:30 and the winds are definitely calmer now, thank goodness! Maybe I’ll be able to watch Once Upon A Time which is on here at 9 pm Fridays. If the boat moves too much the signal fades in and out or won’t work at all. But it is repeated Sunday night.


A while ago I wrote an email about watching the birth of a calf and being invited into the family’s home for coffee. I said that one day I’d make them an apple cake. Well I did do that….and it was a good thing to have done even if a bit awkward. When I knocked on the back door I woke up the dad who was napping and the young woman wasn’t quite sure what to do. But the mom, who had been helping with the birth, so not in the house when I’d had coffee, was very interested and remembered me and my camera. They invited me for coffee again but I didn’t really want to impose. I had translated the words, “I made you an apple and walnut cake” so they at least knew what I was bringing. When they see me in town or walking they always smile and wave so I guess the cake was ok. Since Denise is back Turkish lessons will start again so I will try to learn more phrases to use when I walk around Sipahi. Problem is that they all seem to fly from my head just when I need them. Actually I understand more when they speak than I can respond.


Buyukkonuk and Lois Cemal

This is one of those simple stories that research made more interesting and more complicated. Hopefully I’ve gotten most of it correct.


Büyükkonuk February 5, 2012

We had been told by our friends Rob and Julia that Büyükkonuk was a lovely little village with a wonderful Sunday market. With the forecast for warmer temperatures and sunny skies we decided this past Sunday (February 5th) to go see for ourselves. Our friend Sharman joined us but puppy Sophie remained at the marina spending a fun day with Lewis who is her official Grandpa as I am her official aunt.

It was a 40 minute drive through beautiful valleys and along the coast road. But as it turned out, it was not the best Sunday to have made a visit. The village of Büyükkonuk is quite charming with lots of activities and a food and craft market; but not on this first Sunday in February. It was definitely the wrong time of year for a visit to the Olive Mill as the olives are picked and processed in the fall. Activities based on nature can’t be rescheduled so that’s just how it goes. There were no donkeys to pat or goats to milk which does happen all year, just not the Sunday we picked to visit. After driving around the narrow villages streets in search of what really wasn’t happening we parked the car and had some coffee.


Kemeraltı Aşevi

Aşevi means restaurant or soup kitchen. Kemeraltı is an historical bazaar in Izmir which Randal and I visited while we were there. Possibly the owners have an Izmir connection. I’ll ask next visit. We drank coffee and ate borek, a small pastry that resembles fried phyllo dough filled with herb flavored feta cheese. And so began what seemed like a marathon eating day!


For hand washing before meals.

This sink says 1952; most restaurants with any Islamic connection have sinks in the eating area for pre-meal hand washing. It was a lovely restaurant with a small sunny breakfast room, a small dining room beyond and roof-top seating as well. We were too early for lunch so just had a snack. Having eaten a snack we then had to go “stroll it off.”


Spying into a window in a house across the road from the restaurant

Just down the main street we met Lois Cemal a Canadian, (who grew up and was educated in India where her parents were Mennonite missionaries,) married to a Cypriot whom she had met when they were both living and working in Australia. She and her husband Ismail are the push behind the effort to make Büyükkonuk a sustainable, local crafts based eco-village with the aim of increasing tourism in the area without spoiling the environment. is the website for this project. But if you search the Internet you will find much more information about their participation in worldwide events concerning village sustainability.  I’ve listed some at the end of this email.


Lois delivering bread from the stone oven to the market tables.

Bread, which is made daily in a stone oven was just being delivered to the very small market area as we began our stroll through town. Lois promised to save us some loaves and also promised to tell us how she came to be in Büyükkonuk.



Mostly everything was closed because it wasn’t the right season or it wasn’t the right Sunday.



Once Greek Cypriots lived in the village so there is a church which is crumbling to bits.



New fun art and an old olive press share the village square.


The baker at her stone oven.

Woven baskets wait to be loaded with more bread for the market stalls.


The village baker poses for Sharman’s photo.


The bread looks, smells and tastes wonderful Olive bread and herb bread.



Delcraft is the organization run by Lois and Ismail Cemal. Eco Tourism Association


The very small Sunday Market……


Among Sharman, Randal and myself we managed to buy something from everyone!


Crafters working and knitting and Lois delivering the bread.


Weaving the straw basket.


Lois tells her story….


Lois sort of reminded me of someone and I’m thinking it was Julia Child!


Lovely embroidered tablecloths.

With not so much going on in Büyükkonuk, but reluctant to return to the marina on such a lovely day, we decided to drive along to Mehmetçik for lunch…see what I mean about a marathon eating trip as we’d already had coffee and borek and later chunks of fresh baked bread in Büyükkonuk and it wasn’t much past noon!


Passing the same herd of sheep we’d passed on the way into Büyükkonuk!


Mehmetçik (literally Little Mehmet) is a general term used affectionately to refer soldiers of the Ottoman Army and Turkish Army. It is the Turkish equivalent of “Tommy Atkins” for the British Army, “Doughboy” or G.I. Joe of the United States Army[1], “Digger” of the Australian Army[2] and the New Zealand Army or Johnny Reb for Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War. Although it is used for especially infantryman (foot soldier)[3], terms such like Piyade Mehmetçik (Infantryman Little Mehmet) and Süvari Mehmetçik (Cavalryman Little Mehmet), Topçu Mehmetçik (Artilleryman Little Mehmet) have rarely been seen[4].”

When you look up Mehmetçik in my Turkish dictionary it translates to Turkish Tommy which shows the British slant of the meanings and the pronunciation. For example when you look up color it has AE meaning Americanized English and then bks which tells you to see colour the British spelling for the all of the information related to the word colour.

We’ve been to Mehmetçik twice before, both by motorbike. It is apparently famous for its wine festival which we missed by being in the US this past fall. We like Mehmetçik because of the corner restaurant with the good food.


We sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather.



My lentil soup with some kind of red pepper oil twirled around.

Randal had fried chicken, Sharman had a chicken wrap (tuvuk doner) and I had my soup. We were given some very dense, sesame cookies for dessert. Sharman summed things up saying she felt like a pudding! That’s the British way of saying you feel really full. Everyone was yawning on the way home. But it had been a lovely day and Büyükkonuk is a place we’ll revisit when our Canadian friend come to visit.


Olive oil, eggplant and walnuts in a preserving liquid, the remaining olive muffin (I’d already eaten one when I thought to take the photo,) and a loaf of wonderful herb bread.

More information about Büyükkonuk and Lois and Ismail Cemal.

88/2 – Eco Village Festival in Büyükkonuk 21.10.2009 written by our friend Heidi Trautmann. She and Kalle actually went to Büyükkonuk on a day when something was happening.


“Leading up to the “UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development”,

the NGO Congress “Global Learning, weltwärts and beyond“ let the voice of civil

society from all over the world be heard. Approximately 175 representatives from civil

societies, coming from 51 countries, were holding discussions on the progress made and

challenges faced in the field of ’Education for Sustainable Development‘: what have been

the achievements of the UN Decade for Sustainable Education in the last five years?

What input have development voluntary services like ’weltwärts‘ made towards

promoting Global Learning?” 27|03 – 29|03|09




Global Learning and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

CIBSE Ken Dale Travel Report

March 2010

Author: Ross French

Our reason for visiting Büyükkonuk is its reputation as Cyprus’ first pilot eco-village, which has benefitted from US, UN and Turkish investment since 2006. Traditional buildings have been renovated, including the Old Olive Mill and a rainwater harvesting scheme at the local mosque is in the planning stages; an 8,000 liter capacity, PVC tank will be used to supply WCs and basins.

“In the tiny village of Büyükkonuk in Northern (Turkish-speaking) Cyprus, we recently got to hang out in a paddock with a shepherd and his sheep, clamber through perfumed bushland to collect wild herbs (thyme, oreganos, sage, myrtle, and fennel), and learn how to make local feta and olive bread with the village baker. In the cozy sandstone home of our hosts, Ismail and Lois Cemal, we warmed ourselves by a pot-bellied stove and ate a delicious dinner of baked rabbit with vegetables, both from their own garden. The couple are the architects of a project that has established eco-tourism in Northern Cyprus and turned little Büyükkonuk into the area’s first eco-village. Driven by a desire not to see Northern Cyprus go the way of the South with its ugly mass tourism development, and disappointed by the readiness with which their compatriots are selling their farms to developers, Lois and Ismail devised a plan. First they turned part of their property into a B&B, providing simple accommodation in a traditional stone house. Next they trained as tour guides and offered a range of activities intended to give people a taste of life in a working village, from donkey treks through the countryside to olive picking ‘tours’ followed by picnics in the groves. After winning a scholarship at the University of Turin to develop the project further, Ismail set about bringing the rest of his community on board. He encouraged his neighbors to rebuild their crumbling stone houses, transforming them into B&Bs, and applied for funds to reconstruct historic town buildings for community use, like the restoration of an old olive press and the creation of a public square, which Ismail is overseeing. The hope is that if the villagers can see how they can make a living carrying on the traditional way of life they have for centuries then they won’t sell out to big business and their village life won’t disappear. A stay at Büyükkonuk is a must if you’re the kind of traveller seeking more authentic experiences and the opportunity to participate in the everyday life of a working village – or if you’ve ever wondered what it is exactly that a shepherd does.”

Eco-tourism key to protecting Karpaz

By Agnieszka Rakoczy

Published: October 29 2008 02:00

“On a Saturday afternoon in Büyükkonuk, a small village at the entrance to the remote Karpaz peninsula in north Cyprus, Lois Cemal is teaching three women how to make samsi, a traditional Cypriot almond baklava.

“We don’t only promote eco-tourism, we live it,” says Mrs. Cemal, a Canadian who runs a bed-and-breakfast establishment and a craft shop with her Turkish Cypriot husband. The couple also work to conserve local crafts, from basket making, spinning and weaving to adobe-style brick-making.

Since being selected two years ago for a pilot eco-tourism project in north Cyprus, Büyükkonuk 800 residents have used €1.8m in grants from Turkey, USAID and the United Nations Development Programme to renovate landmark buildings and convert others into restaurants and guesthouses. They have also created several nature trails.

Turkish Cypriot officials say eco-tourism projects are an important way of protecting the Karpaz, an 80km-long peninsula that narrows from a 20km-wide base to a rocky headland marking Cyprus’s north-eastern tip.”


Last Sunday we went to visit the small village of Büyükkonuk. I hope to write about that soon. This email is about yesterday.


Çarşamba Sabah Şubat 8, 2012

(Wednesday Morning February 8, 2012)

Yesterday Sharman, Sophie and I set off from the marina at 8 am. By the time we returned at 1 pm we’d had a lovely long walk along the coast to the old carob warehouses, a very quick visit to the Yenierenköy Halk Kütüphanesi ( Public Library), tea and Toast (cheese Panini) in Yenierenköy, and then a walk back through Sipahi where I was finally able to take a photo of a young friend Selahattin Cakmok.

The weather was mostly warm, with short periods of light rain alternating with sun. Just as we would dry, the rain would come again. Sharman and I had rain gear and enough clothes to keep us warm in the rain and a bit too warm in the sun; but Sophie doesn’t like the rain one bit and would look at us with a very sad expression when we expected her to come along and not hide in the bushes or under a tree.

     I’ve shown photos of the carob warehouse in other email so I left the camera in my backpack most of the morning.  And the woman in charge of the library doesn’t speak English so I need to have a longer visit before I take the photos there. But I did finally get a photo of a young friend who we happened to meet along the way.


Sharman and Sophie in Sipahi on our way home.


Tractor and donkey…

I had to go pat the donkey and scratch its ears but actually hadn’t even noticed the tractor until downloading the photos. Both donkeys and tractors are part of the charm of the Karpaz Peninsular.


Selahattin Cakmok

I had written about Selahattin in earlier emails but had failed to take a photo or learn his name. Now I know. He attends the high school in Yenierenköy.

Here is the story about how the photos came to be taken during our walk.

The road from Yenierenköy rarely has traffic, even Monday mornings when most villagers go to the local market. Wednesday was a different story. It seemed as if we were being passed by cars every two minutes! Then a parade of UN Peacekeeping vehicles went by. The Greek Cypriots living in North Cyprus are officially classified as refugees so they are given supplies by the UN. (The Turkish Cypriots who live below the green line in the south get no UN assistance.) In the center of Sipahi are a Greek Church and, next door, a building where Randal and I have seen UN soldiers in the past. When Sharman, Sophie and I arrived there Wednesday, a number of people were gathered as well as boxes and bags of food and other supplies. First I thought there was some kind of “local market” but then guessed it was the time when people came to collect their UN supplies which would explain the increased traffic. Everyone was friendly and said hello and we said hello. I didn’t attempt Turkish since I wasn’t sure what language they spoke and didn’t want to make any political statement which apparently you can do when you speak either Turkish or Greek. While researching UN deliveries to the Greeks in Northern Cyprus for this email I found some information from GuardianGate which pulled the information from Wikileaks a site I haven’t ever searched. I don’t think I actually approve of them but the document I read was unclassified, so I am including parts of it that relate to Sipahi which is also called Agias Trias.  The "enclaved" refers to the Greek Cypriots living in Northern Cyprus.  There are 3 enclaves, the one in Sipahi is the second largest.  From what I read, the larger the community, the better it all seems to work for all concerned.

4. (U) Under the terms of the 1975 Vienna III Agreement, (ending the fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and military sent from Turkey to protect Turkish Cypriots,)

civil affairs officers from the United Nations Peacekeeping

Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) monitor the condition of the

enclaved in the north, facilitate medical care, deliver

supplies money provided through the Red Cross by the GOC

(pension payments and the like, usually in cash), and

informally seek to resolve disputes involving the enclaved,

their Turkish Cypriot neighbors, and "TRNC" officials.

Accordingly, UNFICYP conducts regular weekly patrols to the

Karpass region, visiting the designated Greek Cypriot

spokespersons in each of the three villages and making

informal home visits. UN convoys also visit the enclaved

Maronites in the northwest every fortnight.


13. (SBU) Although Liasi was visibly happier and more

prosperous than Kananka (he joked with the Turkish Cypriot

cop who accompanied the patrol and stressed to us that the

villagers got on quite well with their neighbors, learning

each other’s languages and interacting freely) the Greek

Cypriots of Agias Trias face the same demographic pressures

that threaten the Leonarissa enclaved. While more numerous,

Agias Trias’s villagers are still comparatively old, since

nearly all of the town’s children moved south long ago in

search of education, jobs, and marriage prospects. The

village’s only wedding in recent memory had taken place a few

months earlier, between a local woman in her sixties and a

former resident (now living in the south) who was at least as

old. Even if Turkish Cypriot authorities respond positively

to the new husband’s request for permission to reside in the

village permanently (he can now visit on a "tourist visa" for

90 days at a time), it still seems likely that Greek Cypriot

life in Agias Trias will slowly fade away as the residents

die off.

This document was written in 2006 and if things have changed, I don’t know. Being comparatively short-term visitors, and unable to speak Turkish, we mostly avoid becoming involved in local issues. We just try to be good Americans and treat everyone well and hope for the best for Cyprus.  What I do know is how friendly everyone in Sipahi and Yenierenkoy has been to us.

Stone Statues to the marina by foot

Randal has been working days on end rewiring and moving wires in the saloon ceiling to make way for the stove pipe for our diesel heating stove.  It isn’t a cooking stove; just one that can heat the boat more efficiently than the reverse AC heater which needs sea water for cooling and electricity for power.  Since the electricity here can at times be iffy, it will be nice to have the diesel stove working.  We can put a kettle on the top and always have hot water for tea!  So yesterday, Thursday, I joined Sharman and her puppy Sophie for a lovely long hike.  Here’s the story.


Our path…sort of along the green line from the Ay. Thyros Church back to the marina which is on the coast where the red loop starts near the S of Sipahi. There are really no good maps available so we use what we have and Sharman had a print-out from Google Earth. I know I couldn’t redo our walk as most dirt paths look the same to me until we got to a spot near the end where I’d spent an afternoon painting a bad picture. That I recognized. You can’t really get too lost as you can always aim for the coast which you can see from just about everywhere. And occasionally a car goes by on the hard packed dirt roads. Those are the roads that Randal and I motorbiked on back in August. We had a wonderful walk and never even needed to break into our snack packs. Lots of toast, cheese, and marmalade for breakfast can last quite a long walk!


I walk every day, but Sharman really walks every day. She leaves her boat at 8 am and returns about noon. Of course she does have great company…her rescued puppy Sophie.


Sophie with “Grandpa Lewis” who babysits when Sharman has to be away from the boat for the day. Actually several of the cruisers fight over babysitting duties.

When Sharman found Sophie she was abandoned and ill. Now Sharman is trying to find a home for Sophie because the cruising life doesn’t easily match with owning a dog. But until then there are lots of long walks with Sophie who loves exploring the hills along with Sharman. Sophie is really so sweet and well behaved.


Sharman and Sophie at the statues.


Modern relics

The remains of a sheep that hadn’t been dead for so very long as the bones aren’t bleached white and there is still a bit left to be picked from the carcass. Hopefully it died of old age. I think we spent as much time wondering about the sheep bones as about the statues.


Looking back from the top of one climb and we could see across to the village of Kaleburnu closer to the south coast of the Karpaz peninsula..


Wildflowers are blooming everywhere and all the fields are green.


The hillsides are still scrub. Sipahi is off somewhere to the left of the photo behind the hills.


We left the dirt road and made our own trail for a bit but then rejoined the dirt track once again.


A small herd of large, wild donkeys.

We saw these donkeys just as we were almost back at the marina. If you could see down the hill from where the donkeys are standing you would probably see the marina. I really couldn’t get close enough for a good shot and the zoom on my small camera is not good. I could kick myself for not getting a better camera last visit home. Next time for sure!!!

The walk took us from about 8:15 am until noon. Randal had kindly driven us the mile or so from the marina to the start of our walk. During our drive to the start, Sharman mentioned that it was a lovely way to be spending her birthday. Thursday mornings there is a radio net and Randal announced that it was Sharman’s birthday. So later that day everyone kept going up to Sharman wishing her happy birthday…a surprise as she had officially not told anyone!

Green Heights Park, Ilgaz and Moon and Sixpence Gastro Pub with Heidi

Today is sunny but blustery.  Blustery means there is a medium wind.  Two days ago there was a howling wind which we’d had for days so blustery is ok.  I have two loads of laundry blow-drying in the sun and wind.  Later I’ll go for a walk.  Yesterday Sharman and I did another one of our 4 hour walks to find a path from the stone statues back to the marina walking the ridges rather than the main road.  It was a perfect sunny day to celebrate her birthday! 

Our Cyprus 90 day visa runs out toward the end of this month so we will have to cross the border to the south at some point to get new stamps.  Luckily being over the age of 60 we will be given 90 days.  Under 60 years and you have no clue what they will do.  Some people get 30 days and some 60.  It isn’t a big deal, just a schlep to Nicosia or Famagusta. 

This set of photos completes our visit to Heidi and Kalle.  You can see we packed in a great deal during our weekend visit.  Thank you again for the wonderful visit Heidi and Kalle!


After our walk through Karaman we drove down the hill to Starling Market to get some supplies for dinners Saturday and Sunday night. On our way back up the hill we stopped to visit Green Heights Park, a botanical garden, aviary, day resort and restaurant. We just made a quick walk around, but Heidi and Kalle have been there in the heat of summer to spend time relaxing by the pool. When we visited it was much too cold and damp to think about a cup of tea in the garden never mind a dip in the pool! But maybe another time.


Where we were.

Green Heights is located on the road up to Yeşiltepe. I’ll know I can speak Turkish when I can easily pronounce Karaoglanoglu! The green line between Ilgaz and Karaman is a walking trail. The blue is, of course, the Mediterranean which you can see from Vila Manzara.

Green Heights Park


Walking through the gardens.

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Peacocks and pheasants in the aviary.

There were lots of different birds; pigeons with curly feathers, a turkey, tufted headed chickens which were hard to tell front from back, some guinea pigs and bunnies. The cages seemed quite clean so seeing them cooped up wasn’t so bad……  They seemed to have lots of shade too for the hot summer weather.


The pool which on a hot summer day in Cyprus must be lovely.


Sunday we took a walk through Ilgaz which isn’t so “storybook” looking as Karaman but quite lovely none the less. Our Cyprus travel guide has no info on Ilgaz. It seems more a place where people actually just live. Apparently it was once a Greek city before Cyprus was divided in 1974.

“Ftericha, or Phteryka, is situated on the northern slopes of the western part of the Five Finger mountains, only two miles southeast of Karavas (Alsancak) and five miles west of the town of Kyrenia. Ftericha was always exclusively inhabited by Greek Cypriots. The name means “large farm” in Greek. However, the village’s name was changed to “Ilgaz” in 1975 by Turkish Cypriots, after a mountain in Turkey.”   This is one version of events.  In Cyprus there are always two versions….


A sign for the Brit restaurant Hoots just across from the “abandoned” Greek Church.

"Ilgaz Ladies Lunch, Last Tuesday Monthly."

12.30pm for 1pm, Hoots bar, Ilgaz. A charity fundraising lunch with a different theme every month. The cost is 25TL, and bottles of wine are available from 16TL. Numbers are limited, so booking is essential on 0392 821 1229 or 0542 873 8068     This was something I found on the net searching for Ilgaz.  Hoots sounds a bit like Deks.

We parked the car near the church and then went for a walk around town.

Parts were expat renovations….




A discussion about how to build a stone wall…..

Some parts of town were more “local” in flavor and character.


And then there was the valley itself……………..



Then back to the church and the car.


One last stop for the day, Club Ilgaz for a walk around and a cup of coffee.

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We only wanted coffee and atmosphere but the desserts looked great!

Actually the restaurant was fully booked for lunch which would begin about 1 pm.


One photo of me…. I had my Sox sweatshirt over my wool sweater over my turtleneck……

Then it was back to Vila Manzara. Heidi had invited friends Marilyn and Stephen Bosworth for an afternoon visit. Marilyn is a retired librarian who now is pursuing her real love, art! Stephen just retired from his professorship at one of Cyprus’ universities. They have lived in Cyprus for 20 years. Amazingly I took no photos as power failed and we sat by candle light and were warmed by the fireplace. Hopefully there will be a chance in the future to take photos.

The End…for now.