CYPRUS

Dodane dnia 2010.12.13 -- Zaktualizowano dnia 2012.08.08

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CYPRUS
- REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS and
- TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS

Part I - 27.03.10 – 4.05.10 –  1245 km - 1 month and 7 days
Part II - 25.06.10 – 2.08.10 – 789 km – 2 months and 7 days
Part III -  5.10.10 – 25.10.10 – 1200 – 3 months and 6 days
TOTAL 3234 km – 6 months and 20 days

 

Cyprus is an island divided into two countries. The southern part is the Republic of Cyprus, northern - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, commonly known as "the Greek side" and "the Turkish side.” These terms are inappropriate and politically incorrect, as the "Turkish Cyprus" is an occupied land! In 1974, Turkey militarily invaded and illegally occupied the northern lands. In 1983, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed, but until now, officially only Turkey recognizes it.
To make things easier, we decided to use the terms "northern Cyprus" and "southern Cyprus".

STEREOTYPES – FACTS AND MYTHS
“Cyprus is a Greek island.”
Cyprus is not a Greek island. It has a Hellenic heritage. People speak Greek and have many Greek customs but it's a separate country from Greece with its own structure,  government and law.

“Cyprus is inhabited by Greeks and Turks.”
It's not true. Cyprus is inhabited by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. They have ancestors form Greece and Turkey but they form separate nations. The Greek Cypriots trace their origins to the descendants of the Mycenaean Greeks who settled on the island during the second half of the second millennium BC. The Turkish Cypriots are forbears of Ottoman Turkish soldiers who colonized the island in 1571.
We met many Turkish Cypriots who don't like Turkish people because they perceive Turkey as their oppressor.
“There is a Greek and a Turkish side of island”
There is a Greek and occupied, not Turkish, side of island. After Turkish invasion in 1974, Turkish Cypriots who lived in the south, were forced to move to the north, and Greek Cypriots who lived in the north were forced to move to the south. Thus, Cyprus got divided into two zones, separated by the green line. In 1983 Turkey unilaterally declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which has since remained internationally unrecognized except by Turkey. In April 2004, a referendum to reunite the island was strongly approved by Turkish Cypriots (64.9% voting “yes”) whilst it was strongly rejected by the Greek Cypriots (75.8% voting “no”).
„Cyprus is a perfect place for holidays. It is a charming island with beautiful beaches and pure nature.”
We've been here in peak season. In our opinion there's nothing special in Cyprus. It's very expensive, very hot and very crowdy. Moreover,  Cypriots are not the nicest people on the Earth. The nature and beaches are really average. It's a good place for those who love mass tourism. For cyclists – nothing special apart from Trodos Mountains and Kapras peninsula. Better travel to Turkish seaside if you want to experience beautiful nature, cycle in the great surrounding and you don't want to spend a fortune on nothing.

DANGERS
None.

LANGUAGE
The official language in Republic of Cyprus is Greek and Turkish. In Northern Cyprus  - only Turkish. Cyprus was a British colony so on the southern side all signs are in English and it’s very easy to communicate in English. On the northern side it’s not that easy but still possible.

WORTH TO KNOW
1.Cities names:
While booking our ferry tickets, we were very confused, where actually the ferry embarks. Later on we discovered that all cities have  two (or even more) names – Greek and Turkish. To make your life easier, we list names of main cities below:
Greek:                                                    Turkish:
Famagusta (Ammóchostos)        -       Mağusa or Gazimağusa
Kyrenia                                           -       Girne
Nicosia  ( Lefkosia)                       -       Lefkoşa
Larnaca ( Kition)                            -       Larnaka or İskele
Limassol ( Lemesós)                     -       Limasol or Leymosun
Paphos ( Pafos)                             -       Baf
Ayia Napa (Agia Napa)                 -      Aya Napa or Agia Napa

2. Working hours:
On the “Southern Side” working hours pattern is very strange. Greek Cypriots appreciate long hours spent on the beach with a cup of frappe in their hand. Wednesdays some shops are closed, some close early.  On other days, they make a siesta break in the middle of the day.
Shops:
In the summer period - April 1 to October 31 -  most shops are open at the following times:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 09:00-13:00 and 16:00-20:30
Wednesday: 09:00-14:00
Friday: 09:00-13:00 and 14:30-21:30
Saturday: 09:00-17:00
Note: During high summer -  from June 15 to August 31 -  shops in towns may close from 14:00-17:00.

In the winter period -  from November 1 to March 31 - most shops are open at the  following times:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 09:00-13:00 and 14:30-19:00
Wednesday: 09:00-14:00
Friday: 09:00-13:00 and 14:30-20:00
Saturday: 09:00-15:00
Offices:
Office hours in the summer period - from June 1 to September 14 - are:
Monday to Friday 08:00-13:00 and 16:00-19:00
In the winter period, September 15 to May 31:
Monday to Friday: 08:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00
On the Northern Side  there's no siesta time and working hours are more „normal.”
3. Electricity:
In Cyprus  plugs used are the square three-pin system, same like in the UK. For European plug you will need to have an adaptor (about 2€).

VISA
Cyprus is an island which is divided between two countries. On the south - Republic of Cyprus, on the north - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Those two parts of the  island are commonly called “Greek side” and “Turkish side”. Politically it’s not correct because in fact, so called “Turkish Cyprus”, is an invaded and illegally occupied part of Republic of Cyprus. Turkey invaded the island in 1974 and in 1983 proclaimed their own republic which is recognized only by Turkey.
To simplify this description, to make it easier to understand but not to offend anybody’s political feelings,  I’ll call Republic of Cyprus – a Southern Side and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – a Northern Side.
Republic of Cyprus  is a member EU since 2004. You enter the country same as another EU countries.
To enter Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, you need to have a visa. For EU citizens, visa is for 90 days and it’s for free. You get it at the border.
In Nicosia, the capitol, border runs right in the heart of the city and it cuts it into two sides.
Since 2008 this border crossing is open, so if you want to visit a “Turkish side”, you need your passport or ID card (we checked it, and it works with ID). People walk everyday from one side to another, even just to buy a bread.

HOW TO GET THERE
To Republic of Cyprus you have many ferries from Greece and many flights from all over the Europe.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as an self – proclaimed country, is not recognized by EU. There are no direct flights from Europe. You can fly to Turkey and from there you have take Turkish airlines to Cyprus. There are direct flights from some Middle East countries (i.e. Syria, Jordan) You can also take a ferry from Turkey or Syria.
From Turkey:
Akgünler company operates every day an express ferry from Taşucu to Kyrenia (called in Greek Girne): http://www.akgunler.com.tr/schedule.htm. Fergün Denizcilik company runs an overnight ferry form Mersin to Famagusta (called also Mağusa or Gazimağusa) http://www.fergun.net/Kibris_Hakkinda_TR.aspx
From Syria:
Akgünler company from Latakia to Famagusta (called also Mağusa or Gazimağusa):
http://www.akgunler.com.tr/schedule.htm. Check this connection because it doesn't operate all year round.
On all ferries there is no charge for a bicycle.
You can also travel to Southern Cyprus and cross the border by land.
Note:
There are no ferry connections from Turkey to Southern Side.
There are no ferry connections between any part of Cyprus and Lebanon, Israel or Egypt. There are only 3 days luxury cruises to those countries. Sometimes it's possible to travel one way on such cruise but you have to anyway pay return. It's about 300€ and you can't take a bicycle on the board, so it's much cheaper  and better to fly.

OVERNIGHT/ CAMPING
It’s not a problem to camp wild in Cyprus. We had no problems on both sides.

WATER
Water in Cyprus in most of the places is terrible!!! Tap water is absolutely not drinkable. In Southern Cyprus fortunately you don’t have to spend a fortune on bottled water. You can get cheap and good water from water dispensers. You can find them on most of petrol stations, beside shops and along roads. It’s written “Nero” (water), on them. 20L cost 1,20€.
In the mountains, you can get water from numerous springs beside roads.
In Northern Cyprus you can get drinking water in mosques (not always) or you have to ask people in restaurants or staff at petrol stations.
 On both sides of the island, you can buy a bottled water of course, but when we cycle, we drink so much that we don’t want to go bankrupt on water:-)

ROADS/ TRAFFIC
As a former British colony, all Cyprus drives on the left – hand side! Roads on both sides of the island are in very good condition.  In Southern Side we’ve seen the worst signposts ever! They show inaccurate distances and sometimes put in confusion. In Northern Side we didn’t have any problems.  

MAPS
We got our maps from tourist information. On both sides tourist information is well organized.

CURRENCY
Since 2008 the currency in Republic of Cyprus is Euro.

1€ = 2.0 TL (Turkish Lira)
1€ = 1.42 US Dollar
1€ = 3.91 PLN
(October  2010)

The currency in North Cyprus is Turkish Lira (TL or TRY). You can also pay everywhere with Euro without any problems. If you want, they’ll give you change also in Euros.

1 TL = 0.5 EUR
1 TL = 0.7 US Dollar
1 TL = 2 PLN
(October 2010)

PRICES
Southern side:

1.5L Water – 0.35 – 1.20 EUR
1.5 L Milk – 1.30 EUR
1 Bread – 2 EUR
Frappe coffee – 2.5 – 3 EUR
Beer in shop – 1 EUR
Beer in restaurant – 2.5 EUR
1 kg Nectarines – 0.50 EUR
1 kg Pears – 0.60 EUR
1 kg Oranges – 0.80 EUR
1 kg Bananas – 0.75 EUR
1 kg  Obergines – 1 EUR
1 kg Tomatoes – 1 – 2 EUR
0.5 kg Rice – 2.3 – 5 EUR
0.5 kg Lentils – 2.3 EUR
250 gr Raisins – 1 EUR
1 kg Bananas – 0.5 – 2 EUR
1 L Petrol – 1.1 EUR
1 L Diesel – 0.80 EUR
Postcard – 0.5 EUR
Stamp to Europe – 0.5 EUR
Northern side:

1.5L Water – 1 TL
1 Bread – 0.85 TL
Beer in restaurant – 3.5 TL
Turkish tea  - 0.5 – 1 TL
Coca cola 200ml – 1,5 TL
Lentil soup – 5.0 TL
Pide - Turkish pizza – 7 TL
1 kg Tomatoes – 1 TL
1 kg Cucumbers – 1 TL
1 kg Oranges – 1TL
1 kg Onion – 2 TL
Ayran – 0.8 TL
0.5 kg Helva – 10 TL
Postcard – 1 TL
Stamp to Europe – 0.7 TL

CURRENCY EXCHANGE
No problem with money exchange. On Northern Side you can exchange money also in shops. Rate is O.K.

BANKS/ CARDS/ CASH MACHINES
Plenty of banks and cash machines. No problem with card payments.

INTERNET
No problem on both sides.

BIKE SHOPS
It’s better if you have all what you need with you. In Northern Side forget that you'll get any parts. If it comes to Southern Side, don't get deluded into thinking that it's a part of EU, so you'll find all what you need. The supply is also very poor. We found one reliable shop called Micromania. It's located in Nicosia and Limassol.
http://www.micromania.com.cy/biker/
Micromania:
15C Stasinou,
Egkomi Municipality,
2404, Nicosia
Phone: (+357)22661517
Micromania
232 Makariou III Ave, Shop 1,
3030, Limassol
Phone: (+357)25376839

Bear in mind that Cyprus is an island, and all prices are double.  Parts are imported from UK so it's very expensive.

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