Map of Cyprus

The ferry arrives early in the morning in Girne (or Kyrenia). There is not a long queue before the immigration checkpoint, but a big unorganized flock of people. After that procedure and the rather sleepless night on the uncomfortable ferry I decide to stay for a night in the rather charming old town. Kyrenia feels neither like Turkey (despite the majority of people here are Turks), nor like Greece. There are a few British pubs here with plastic christmas decoration, many Africans and people from the Middle East. Basically, everybody seems to be happy to speak English. And I have beers and fish and chips for diner. First beers since I left Kastelorizo.

Departure from the ferry Marina and Fortress of Kyrenia Christmas decoration in Cyprus

On my way to Lefkosia (aka Nicosia) on the next day I try to avoid the busy highway, and end up multiple times at forbidden military zones. Perhaps, I should have gone around the island (as most cyclists do). Lefkosia, the parted city is full of history. The narrow alleys around the famous caravansarai of Büyük Han in the old town on the Turkish side have a charming backpacker flair. There is a border post in the middle of the city, separating the Greek part from the Turkish. The other side of the city suddenly feels modern and somehow cold. When I try to use my few Greek words at the shops, people stare at me and respond in English. At least a young man sits in the shopping street and plays some Beatles songs on the guitar. I stay in an anonymous long-term stayers residence for students for the night, stroll around in the modern city center and hardly meet a soul.

Inside the Büyük Han Backpacker flair in the Turkish part of Lefkosia Greek part of Lefkosia

Lefkosia is a cats paradise. Many cat shelters and feeding stations are located along the Pediaios river valley. In that valley, a bicycle trail leads me out of the city towards the Troodos mountains. Still feeling cold, I choose Kakopetria as todays destination for not being as high up as other famous villages in the area. There is a well conserved old cobblestone street with beautiful stone houses in Kakopetria, where I stay in a rather luxury room. Thank havens tourist season is over.

Cat paradise View over Kakopetria Cobblestone alley in Kakopetria

Leaves are golden brown in the forests, and its is a chilly ride to Karvounas on 1200 metres above the sea. I follow the beautiful bicycle trail from Amiantos to the St. Johns Monastery and Pano Platres through pine forests. Despite a priest with a long beard and some mushroom foragers I'm alone out here. Platres is a nicely kept mountain villages, a hideout for the hot summer months. As displays indicate, further up at 1600 metres, there are even ski resorts. Still 70km to go to Paphos, where I booked an accommodation for a couple of days the cure my cold and do some home office. The road undulates through vineyards and orange plantations. I arrive in Paphos at sunset.

Autumn colors Platres 
Church in Platres

I spent almost a week in Pathos. Besides working, I enjoy the time and the space to do Yoga, pet a Rasta cat that come by frequently and visit the ancient Tombs of the Kings. Plus, book a flight to Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, there is no more ferries and cruise boats going to Israel at this time of the year.

Ancient Mosaic At the Tomb of the Kings site

Getting away: I spend an entire day searching all bike shops in Pathos for a suitable bike box. Eventually, half way to the airport, I find a 26" box in a bike shop and make an appointment to pack everything there just before the flight. A friend of the owner brings me and the packed bike to the airport for a non negotiable price. I have the whole box professionally wrapped again at the airport just to make sure. The security guys check the oversize baggage and spot a drinking bottle in the frame and insists to see it (or rather, remove it). Stupid me - I have to cut open everything and glue it together again... As well, I have to hand out my little guitar at the gangway and cannot bring it to the cabin.

Hallo Welt