Avtepe Tulip Festival part 2 of 3 emails of our adventures with Heidi and Kalle

  March 24, 2012 (Time to Spring Forward at 4 am)

Randal and I have had some busy days lately.  We are getting the boat shipshape for our friends Charmaine and Linda who will arrive Tuesday evening from Canada.  Late in April or early May the 4 of us will move the boat to Israel.  We visited "Charlin" on their island home in Lake Charbot last October.  Charmaine and Linda did the ’round the world bike trip with Randal so are prepared for the half home/half camping life that cruising is.  They are great walkers so this is the perfect place for them to visit with us.  Randal spent 2 days installing the new GPS compass and I have been doing more cleaning than usual.  Friday Randal went off for the rental car and today we took our friend Eve, just returned from Israel, and Susan, wife of my Turkish classmate Pete, grocery shopping at Lamar.  We needed to provision and knew Eve’s boat was totally empty so planned the trip.  Lunch was at "big Deks" near Bogaz where they make the best calamari, my new favorite Deks food.  I was hooked on the bacon sandwich but now I’m equally hooked on the friend calamari.  On the way home we stopped in Yenierenkoy for small provisions and to drop off Eve’s propane gas tank to be filled.  That’s why shopping is so tiring, everything gets crammed into one trip because you have to drive at least an hour away just to get to the closest small supermarket.  But the weather is just about perfect and the fields and hills are alive with wildflowers and it’s just beautiful. 

  I have one more email to write about our Sunday adventure.  Until then.



Avtepe Tulip Festival, Boltashli Village Shepherd, and Bafra “Vegas”


Sunday March 18 was a beautiful day. We set out about 9 am so we could visit the location of the cave church just outside Avtepe. (You can see the cave in the poster.) The road map showed the route to Avtepe along the main road out of Yenierenköy heading west. But Kalle is quite familiar with North Cyprus and knew there was a “back way” so that’s the way we went. We stopped and asked for Avtepe at tiny crossroad towns along the way, just to make sure. But Kalle was right and we found Avtepe exactly where he said it would be. Kalle and 3 friends have met every Thursday for years to go exploring the island. He has been just about everywhere. We were quite early so drove further along the valley towards a hillside cave-church thinking we might takes a quick hike before the festival. We did find the cave but it was obvious there were no short hike options so we decided to put it off for another time. We were lucky enough to see a stork fly overhead and that was impressive. I actually didn’t take photos but will when we visit again. Here is a description I found on the Internet.

“The stretch between Derince and Avtepe is most unusual, with a dramatic drop down into a huge valley and bare rolling hills all around. A track leads along this river valley to the sea, some 4 km away, where a ruined 14th-century domed chapel, Ayios Seryios, can still be seen, to the right of the river mouth. Northeast of Avtepe there is also an unusual cave tomb of unknown date cut into a bare cliffside at a height of some 200m, and visible as you approach from afar. The climb up to it is very tricky and should be attempted only by those who relish heights and unsure footholds. Inside are many deep corridors leading to grave chambers, cut some 26m deep into the hillside. Be sure to take a good torch. At the very back is a well shaft of immense depth, which village tradition has it leads either to hell or to paradise, depending on which is more deserved.”


We returned to Avtepe and the early bird gets the parking space so we had no trouble parking. Had we come later we’d have parked half way back to Yenierenköy!


Craft and food tables lined the main street.


We’d eaten breakfast and it was too early for lunch so we just looked.


The favorite universal gourmet treat, Cotton Candy!


Books for sale: unfortunately they were all in Turkish and I’m just not that good yet! But it was nice to see that popular fiction had been translated to Turkish and that there was a demand even in tiny Avtepe.


A stall perhaps selling borek: phyllo dough filled with cheese and then fried.


A potter selling exactly what I wanted: a tiny pitcher for milk when serving tea or coffee.


Artist friends, Hasan Eminağa and Heidi Trautmann

“Hasan Eminağa, the ceramist from Dizayn 74 who was invited by the local Muhtar to come and add to the festival’s image.”


Heidi’s tale of our adventure and definitely worth reading as she knows so much more about the area than I. A Muhtar is just what it sounds like, the village head honcho.

Randal was totally intrigued and had lots of questions while Kalle looked on along with village children.

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I was busy shopping..photo by Heidi. My small milk jug and olive pit holder.


I really liked some of the taller vases but that will have to be another time.

Our Yenierenköy Monday Market “nuts and raisin” man had a booth. We’d long wondered at the odd looking “sweet” that he sold. It looks like a rubber candle…but now that I’ve tried it, I really kind of like it.



“A more unique dessert is Souzouko – a long string of almonds dipped repeatedly in thickened grape juice and hung to harden. This “wand” of sweet goodness takes days to make but is available for purchase almost anywhere on the island, especially around festivals and fairs.” http://globaltableadventure.com/2010/11/30/about-the-food-of-cyprus/

It’s interesting, not very sweet, but like thickened weak unsweetened grape juice that you chew. It is made the same way you make candles! It’s not tough like gum but chewier than gum drops. Veddie Interesting!!!


See what I do for Y’all!

Heidi just forwarded this photo to me from our Karpaz visit to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery.  I was trying to find the “famous spring in the chapel” but it was just too dark. I had to slide the whole way back down off the side of the chapel but it wasn’t as far as it might look. I don’t do heights unless there’s no second choice.