04-27 Salamis

Freitag 27.April, Dipkarpaz to Larnaca, via Salamis, St. Barnabas and Famagusta

Directly after a delicious breakfast featuring omelet and grilled hallumi as well as the standard bread, butter, jam, tomatoes, cucumber and olives, we depart the Karpaz Arch Houses heading towards Salamis. Once again we visually confirm the Cyprus real estate bubble, passing many incomplete or unoccupied houses along the seaside.
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First stop: a second visit to Kandili Ekmek, Köy Ekmeǧi. Last chance to stock up on olive bread and snacks. Second stop: Iskele fishing harbor, where a fishing boat is unloading its catch. Among the oddities: a sea horse and a balloon fish, whose powerful jaw is apparently morbidly closed, so the fish cannot eat. Third stop: a short walk along the beach to the entrance to Salamis, an ancient Greek city-state. According to tradition the founder of Salamis was Teucer, son of Telamon, who could not return home after the Trojan war because he had failed to avenge his brother Ajax.
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Salamis became the capital of Cyprus as far back as 1100 BC. Like the rest of the island, Salamis was successively occupied by various invaders, including the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, and Romans. The site extends one square mile along the coast. The city was a major trading center until the harbor silted up, after which activities moved to Famagusta. Only about 5% has been excavated and the remainder is covered by sand dunes and forested with mimosa, pine and eucalyptus trees.
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We visited the hot and cold baths (separate baths and entrance for women), latrines, amphitheater, fish hall and via the recently excavated Roman Road, reached the Ayios Epiphanios Basilica. From here, it’s only a short walk to the bus and an even shorter ride to stop four: the tomb and church of St. Barnabas, where there is much more interest in coffee and ice cream than in archeology.
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Nevertheless, Sabri leads us briskly through the museum, before we head for stop five: Famagusta. There we have a choice: ogle (and / or sample) the fabulous desserts in Patisserie Petek, scale the Venetian Tower or wander to the piazza. At 15.30, it’s off to the beach, on the border between north and south, where deserted high-rise hotels in No Man’s Land, whose future won’t be determined until there’s a political solution, extend as far as one can see. There’s no long beach walk, as the demarcation barrier runs across the sand and extends several meters into the water. Nevertheless the sea is delightful, and for most of us, it’s the last dip in the Mediterranean
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At 16.30, it’s back on the bus for the final stretch in North Cyprus, from Famagusta to the border, where the South Cyprus bus picks us up and transports us to the Flamingo Hotel, directly on the beach in Larnaca. Once we are again fresh, it’s a 15-minute walk along the corniche to dinner: salad, tsaztziki, lamb with potatoes, beef with potatoes and chicken with potatoes. Silvana lauds the preparations for the trip and our wonderful experience, then presents a thank-you gift to Adrian, before our post-prandial stroll back to the Flamingo.                          Jean


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