TRAVELING IN CYPRUS An Island Country Divided Between Greek Heritage & Turkish Heritage Cyprus has been the beach playground of the British and Europeans for decades. It is now in the European Union which seems to have created more financial loss for them than the membership has offered in gains. In Larnaca, many store fronts are shut and there is a general air of striving to "overcome" which nevertheless is definately an admirable trait. The Island is not cheap and the exchange between what one gets in terms of quality, especially in the selection of hotels and inns in Larnaca, for what one pays is generally not equitable, or on a level with other parts of the "western" world.
Ayia Napa is more in keeping with traditonal charm, seems to be more content, has a beautiful ancient monastery and a very special church, as well as offering some family restaurants with home cooked meals on a small scale, a number of coffee cafes and beautiful beach vistas.
Cyprus has numerous other locations where tourists visit but since Ajata and Virginia came to Cyprus specifically to photograph the Ayia Napa Monastery and Church and the Hala Sultana Tekke so that they could be registered in the EMBRACE SACRED PLACES website, it did not require their going further afield.
How much the economic situation has affected the "good-will" of the people, is hard to know. However, there is a intrangent stubborness in some of its' citizens to resist opening either their minds or hearts towards anything Turkish, and unfortunately without doing that they will never be able to overcome the unpleasant deadlock on the island.
WHY DON'T YOU FLY FROM THE GREEK SIDE? The Greeks, such as the owner of the inn Ajata and Virginia stayed at in Nicosia, could not understand why the Founders didn’t fly out of the airport on the Greek side of the island. Why should we give any business to the Turks? The Embrace Founders were definitely under suspecion for their choice of airport for departure. Although, it was explained to the inn proprietor that to return to Turkey via the Greek side instead of a short flight to Izmer of about an hour or so, they would have to first fly to Athens and wait for hours and then fly to Istanbul and wait for hours and then arrive in Izmer nearly a day later. Nevertheless, the unspoken question was, “Why would you want to go to Turkey anyway?”
This was pretty confounding because Cypriot Greeks make a pretty big deal of being "Christian" but it is doubtful that they can even conceive of going to Turkey to visit a Christian pilgrimage site!
Nevertheless, our hostess arranged for a "taxi" to take us from Nicosia across the border to the airport on the Turkish side. When the driver came, it was a long black Mercedes limosine,which incidently is not at all uncommon in Azerbaijan or Georgia either. (Some sales team at Mercedes Benz has sure done a phenomenal job convincing taxi drivers to invest in Mercedes -and often in "limosines." ) If the driver had picked up Ajata and Virignia in a regular sedan, he would have been paid the same, been tipped the same and would have saved a generous amount on gasoline (!)
Anyway, the Embrace Founders joked with the driver that if people saw them picked up in a limosine, they were going to think Ajata and Virginia were politicians!
For those people eager to go to Cyprus please read other reviews of people who love the island. We have met ex-pats who never wanted to live anywhere else and adore it as well as, tourists who come year after year.
Embrace Foundation Retreat Center Embrace.Foundation (skype messaging) - 011+1+212.675.4500 (New York)