Altar Piece – Holiday Memories

I was moving some data round this morning, and found my Cyprus photos on my memory stick. I’m not sure why I didn’t blog this lovely altar piece.

We’re still having problems with the loft ladder (6 months and counting), which means I have no access to the home PC, and have to grapple The Boy to blog from his laptop (he’s working all hours ce moment) – so it’s probably going to be sometime before you’re treated to my Christmas and New Year masterpieces 🙂

Northern Cyprus – St Hilarion

St Hilarion castle is a truely amazing place – and pics really don’t do it justice.

It’s perched on the top of a massive mountian. Most of the apparoach is a restricted military area with lots of signs up saying “Stop and we’ll shoot you” (however, it has to be said that the soldiers we saw yodelled out “Hello” and waved – must the the legendary Traves charm).

The castle just appears to grow out of the rock rather than having been built. Stunning, stunning, stunning.

Walt Disney was very impressed by it apparently, and it’s claimed that the castle in either ‘Snow White’ or ‘Fantasia’ was based on St Hilarion.

Northern Cyprus – Bellapais Abbey

Lawrence Durrell immortalised the village of Bellapais in his book Bitter Lemons. Our 10 year old travel guide proved to be just as out of date as Durrell’s. The island is no longer ‘hardly touched by tourism’ – as this view to the sea shows. The golf course we had come to see is part of it of course.

Bellapais Abbey was built between 1158 and 1205 and enlarged later. It is one of the best examples of Lusignan period Gothic architecture in the Near East (we went in through the wrong entrance and gate crashed a wedding reception).

The local sandstone weathers in a really interesting way. The Boy likened it to honeycomb.

A little bit of the fresco is left.

The refectory had this lovely rose window…

…and other lovely shadows.

I guess this inscription is graffiti but I loved the script.

No idea who this saint is, but I like the way she is dealing with the child-like demon with a toffee hammer. One would have been handy on the flight home which was full of fractious children.

Fantastic teeth on this chair arm!

Cloisters are always lovely and peaceful. My dream house would have a cloister

This restaurant was just outside. I loved the greenery and the gourds.

Northern Cyrus – Kyrenia (Girne) Harbour

On our first day while The Boy was playing golf/working – I took a little jaunt out on my own to the nearest town Kyrenia. As part of the trip, our hosts had arranged a historical and cultural briefing from a lovely lady called Selin (it turns out that she did her O levels and A levels in Oxford, and spent a lot of time in a nightclub called Scamps!). So I am able to tell you that the town was founded the 10th C BC by Achaens.

The Byzantines built the castle in the 7th C and it was expanded by the Lusignans and Venetians.

As you can see it was very sunny – ~34 degrees C. The brightness and heat haze made it quite difficult to take a decent pic.

This is part of the horseshoe shaped harbour built by the British. I rather like this couple – she was one of the few women I saw with a headscarf. I’ve seen more on a Saturday trip to Oxford.

You could go on day and evening trips on these lovely boats. Such a shame we didn’t have time.

Apart from New Zealand, this trip was the furthest east I’ve ever been, and the first Muslim country (albeit a secular one). The call to prayer was very beautiful, but I was diasppointed to see loud speakers on the minarets. I was worried that the call to prayer was a recording, but it seems that the muezzin is usually using a mic in the prayer hall.

Sssh don’t tell Maisie!

We arrived in Northern Cyprus yesterday. While The Boy and Jemma have been doing business at the golf club, I have been ‘soaking up the culture’. I was going to share some of this mornings pics with you, but as it’s taken an age to upload the cruising ones – and the swimming pool beckons, I’ll tease you with a snap of my ‘holiday romance’. Görüşürüz!

Bah Humbug!

Typisch! I am off on holiday tomorrow to North Cyrus for a few days (The Boy is looking at a golf course and we’re staying at The Malpas Hotel [any relation of Steve at the boat yard?]). I haven’t even started packing yet, and I’m shivering and snuffling. Why do I always catch something just before we’re due to go away? While we’re away (all those foreign germs leaping into my system with shrill cries of glee) I could understand – but before hand? The Boy teases me because I drink ‘interesting’ local digestifs, but it’s usually the only way I can clear my sinuses!

I’m determined that it’s not going to cramp my WAG style. However, my bruises mean that I might have to wear the Dr Bones memorial cossie.