Day 4 of this wee adventure. I prefer the number 3 in Turkish - üç. You can really put some passion into it. Dört (4) will have to do, however. Until tomorrow, obviously.
The lad in the bakery now understands my pitiful bits of Turkish, and gives me my breakfast simit to take away with a friendly smile. "Günaydın, bir simit lütfen."
He also realises anything more complicated (like him asking a question) will give me a panic attack.
Poor lad probably has a degree in English.
Actually, friendly smiles are quite common here.
Especially if you’re buying something.
The owner of the nearby mini market smiled at me a lot as I went through check out. Was it the 60TL I was about to part with, or...
No wedding ring either.
I was subjected to a random act of kindness by the waiter at lunchtime. The kind of thing which revives your faith in humanity. The downside was that the cook gave me a grilled red pepper with the köfte which nearly blew the top of my head off (and I’m used to “spicy”).
The main event was a visit to the castle - Girne Kalesi. I really enjoyed it. 12TL (say £2.50 or €3) very well spent. It has Byzantine, Crusader (Lusignans), Venetian, Ottoman and “English” bits.
The English contribution - apart from using it as a prison to hold rebellious Cypriots in the 1950s & 60s - was to plant eucalyptus trees around the moat. The trees soaked up all the water and the moat is now dry.
There’s a lovely wee cafe in the courtyard and I really enjoyed sitting there for a cup of tea (çay) in the shade. Perfect peace and quiet. It’s surrounded by bits of ruined castle which would be in a heavily guarded glass case in a British museum. Here they’re just bits of rubble. One of the Extras is the cafe.
Another is the tomb of Ottoman admiral Sadık Pașa. The Venetians surrendered the fort to him in 1570 without firing a shot - after seeing the carnage the Ottomans had just inflicted on Lefkoșa/Nicosia over the mountains to the south.
The 3rd extra is just a panoramic of the inside of the castle.
The Blip is a 2,300 year old Greek trading vessel. It sank 1.5km off Girne and was discovered in 1965 by a sponge diver. It was “excavated” and is now exhibited in part of the castle, along with lots of its contents. They include almonds which were part of its cargo. 2,300 year old almonds - preserved and perfectly recognisable.
- Panasonic DMC-FZ62