Sometimes you end up in places you never imagined you would step foot in. Less than 100 miles from Aleppo and a witness to one of the worst atrocities of our time, is Cyprus, a country that sits on the doorstep of conflict. A desert island scattered with ship wrecks and lush banana farms that stand in sharp contrast to beaches filled with seemingly unaware British tourists, bobbing around in the Mediterranean Sea, sunburnt and happy. Cyprus isn't like any place we have ever visited, an island in search of an identity, yet that is what defines Cyprus.
There are many routes that lead to Cyprus from Florida, but we found ourselves flying from JFK to Moscow and back down to Limassol. We saved two hours and a few hundred dollars, so why not, we have never been through Russia. This alone is an experience in itself, Russian culture is different, and with smiling seen as a weakness (something we learned from our Cypriot cab driver) and a fondness of starring, it made a simple layover into a whole story in itself (we'll save that for another day).
Cyprus is an interesting country with an even more interesting backstory. A quick history lesson...in July 1974, Turkey invaded a Greek governed island and claimed 3% of the island until a ceasefire was declared soon after, however, this is where it gets interesting. After the ceasefire, the Turks never left and the illegal occupation of Cyprus not only remained, but slowly consumed more of the island until a little less than half of the total land mass was controlled by the Turks. The little known caveat to most westerners, is that the Turks were able to complete this invasion with US aid. Today, Cyprus is a fiercely divided country. The US enabled Turks with weapons and equipment and has left as one elderly cab driver described it "a less than ecstatic reception towards Americans". However despite this, we never experience anything less than open arms from the locals during our two week stay here.
Corallia Beach, a hotel you would see out of 1950's South Beach. This is where we spent our nights and we were even able to stream a Dolphins game during our trip. The locals at the hotel bar were glued to the game and we spent the majority of the game (where they beat the Jets) explaining every play and rule of American Football.
You can explore a place by hiking, driving, or walking around or you can experience a whole new perspective by cruising the shoreline on something different. The 2018 Sea Doo GTX, the Cadillac of the sea, and our mode of choice. Between the plush seats and sound system, there is not a better way to get out of the dust and see the country. To explore the mountainous terrain different than you would on a typical drive, we had the Can-Am Maverick X3, an off-road side-by-side vehicle capable of 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and built to conquer any terrain. We were lucky to view this country in a way most people wouldn't.
Banana farms, not your typical find on a desert island, however, we stumbled upon them while wandering around such as the one pictured here.
Shipwrecks, sunsets, desert mountains, and a history of conflict. On a typical trip, you can grasp a general sense of the country's identity, however, after spending two weeks in Cyprus, we still felt there was more to to the country, the people, and it's culture than one visit could reveal.