“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Friday, 27 November 2009

Day 204 – Tuesday 24th November

My macro lens got a workout shooting mums silver jewellery for the web –

Only a week to go and the macro lens will be inches from some Australian critters - hopefully not the deadly kind.

Day 203 - Monday 23rd November

Along with my new found enthusiasm came the urge to upgrade my telephoto lens from a cheapy amateur zoom, to a stabilised (and very heavy) professional version.... so I spent the morning researching on the internet, the lunchtime period in Park Cameras (buying more than a new lens of course) and the afternoon reading the manual and impatiently willing the new batteries to charge faster. Grrrr. Patience never was a strong point.

Day 201 - Saturday 21st November

Saturday was a lovely lazy day... spent recovering, shopping and mooching about in WH Smiths (in fact at one point I was comfortably camped cross-legged on their carpet, head in a book about Bruce Parry – oh how I miss British book shops!)

Day 202 – Sunday 22nd November

As is fast becoming an annual tradition, Sarah took me to see the Wildlife photographer of the year exhibition in the National History Museum, followed by a beautiful Sunday Roast in Kilburn. The standard of entries is just as amazing as it was last year, but was this time more inspiring. I am going to make it my mission for the next 6 months to try and capture enough images to enter the competition myself next year.

Day 200 - 20th November – off to the big smoke

Spent Friday night catching up with Sarah, drinking champagne and eating Chinese. As usual a truly hilarious evening, but I think the less said about the details the better!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Day 199 - 19th November - Thursday

Spent the morning getting to know my newest niece Chloe-Anne who is truly adorable; the most placid baby ever. She is now crawling, but will be walking by the time I get back from Oz! Then drove out to my old home to discover the farm residents now include a pair of gorgeous grey donkeys, a Shetland pony and some fluffy chocolate-coloured Llamas! Made me miss it quite a bit actually, but lunch and a good chinwag with an old friend at Zizzi’s cheered me up no end.

Day 198 - 18th November - My Birthday!

Had a fantastic day. Spent the morning in the hairdressers going nutmeg and getting the wonky DIY job finally straightened out. Then spent the afternoon catching up with friends and singing along to ‘The Boat the Rocked’... AGAIN!! Love that film.
The evening was fantastic, catching up with everyone’s news and recounting stories from the trip so far. It really did remind me of all the adventures we have experienced. Thanks for sharing everyone. X

Day 197 - 17th November - Tuesday

Giggled the afternoon away shopping in Crawley and made the depressing discovery that the 80’s fashion revival is still lingering like a bad smell, (I did buy some ski pants, but no amount of money would make me wear a batwing again!). I was also forced to accept the horrific truth that I am rapidly approaching middle-age when I came home with not one, but two pairs, of magic pants!!!! Argh. Chinese finger food and a bottle of Fleurie in front of the telly helped ease the pain.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Day 195 - 15th November - Sunday

Finished packing and decided the suitcase was way overweight so had to remove it all again and take all the books out. Went for Sunday roast at The Old Mill and said goodbye to the dogs. We all decided to go to the airport and crossed the border without hassle or being searched - result.
The plane left 15 minutes early which was a pleasant surprise, but then the captain announced the reason for it.... a 150mph head wind, which would make the journey 1½  hours longer than normal. Grrrr. We took off at 930pm Cypriot time and I touched down at 1am UK time.

Day 196 - 16th November - Monday

Went to bed at 4:30am after a bottle of bubbles, got up again at 8:30am feeling slightly less than perky.
Disappeared into town to get new phone, replacement fridge key cut (oops another UDI), a guide book to Hong Kong and a new fountain pen – all this journaling has finally taken its toll on my beloved Parker.
So, wearing flip-flops in mid November and still a little sleep-deprived, I managed to complete all tasks, have coffee with Janet (wonderful surprise), and be back in time to collect my temporary car, generously donated by my brother, whom I have named ‘Kerplunk’. She’s a true gem, despite costing me more to insure for 12 days than she is probably worth, she still saves me the cost of a hire car or lots of taxi fares. So thanks Lee, I’ll take it off your bill. xx

Day 194 - 14th November - Saturday - Saying Goodbye!

Almost finished packing and did all the washing – thank fully the sun was out and was lovely and warm to dry it all.
Went out to Rafters restaurant in the evening for a meal with Derek, Cathy, Malcolm and Anita and had a gorgeous Indian meal and a sing-a-long (and bit of a dance) to live music from Katie B.

Day 193 - 13th November - Friday - Packing

Ant went into Leftkosa to get a month’s insurance for Cathy and Derek’s car to allow them to take me to the airport. I started packing. Feels like the end of the first part one of the journey.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Day 192 - 12th November – Thursday – The Akamas Peninsula

After a silent, pitch black and somewhat eerie night, we woke early and I washed my hair and made some tea. We decided to press on through the Akamas taking the mountain track and eventually ending up on the north coast of the island by about 11am.
We had wanted to take the coast road all the way back to Girne, but discovered that the coastal border point wasn’t actually a permitted crossing point at all, but a closed barrier, guarded by what looked like an armed 15 year old. So we were forced to take the very long, very windy and totally deserted mountain road. Beautiful scenery and lovely rugged coast, but very hard to tell whose land you were in at any point, as army stations and look out posts outnumbered houses and the flags alternated from Turkish Cypriot to Greek for more than 50kms. Two hours later, feeling carsick and losing count of the number of live and dead snakes we passed, we crossed the border at Guzelyurt, hassle-free, and rejoined the coast road back to Girne.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Day 191 - 11th November – Wednesday (Greek Cyprus)

We continued our tour of the Cyprus coast driving through the lower town of Paphos and on to the Tomb of the kings, a UNESCO world heritage site. The tombs don’t actually house the bodies of any kings, but a load of very rich noblemen from around the 4th century BC. But they are chiseled into huge solid rocks on the beach and are quite impressive. We came out of the park and were accosted by a hyperactive sales rep from the Lion resort next door, who persuaded us to go look around, drink some free coffee and take away a free holiday and bottle of wine for our time. Which of course we did. It wasn’t the promised 90 minute tour, nearer three hours in total, but thankfully our guide, Wilson, was a likeable guy and the coffees were good. We have yet to try the wine, and have 18 months to take our ‘free’ holiday, so not a totally wasted morning (except of course for Wilson!) and we did come to the south looking to immerse ourselves in their customs so to speak. We certainly discovered their love of the English. By the time we eventually escaped, we were starving, and so drove to the Bird and Animal Park to make tuna pasta in their car park before paying the extortionate entrance fee only to be surrounded by peacocks at every enclosure.
At close to sun down we drove out onto the Akamas game reserve and wildlife conservation area passing countless game shooters in their 4x4s returning home from a day on the peninsula. The area has no roads, only deeply potholed gravel tracks for miles and miles. We drove until we could no longer see properly and backed Bee into a side track to watch shooting stars and get some sleep.

Day 190 - 10th November – ‘The South Side’

Tuesday we got up early-ish and after a quick dip in the sea we drove on to the Larnaca Salk Lake and its’ Hala Sultan Tekke; one of the holiest of shrines within Ottoman Islam. The mosque supposedly houses Umm Haram’s tomb (Muhammad's 'wet-nurse'), but the lake dries in summer and then fills through the ground again during the winter months. A shimmer of water was visible when we saw it, reflecting the mosque amongst its surrounding palm trees.
We continued passed the new Larnaca airport, through the port town of Limassol and double backed at the Kolossi Castle until eventually we reached the Rock of Aphrodite; A huge rock in the sea which is said to be where the Greek Goddess of Love rose from the water. Now many people come here to pledge undying love for each other (or propose of course – congrats Nick and Sam. Xx), they make hearts in the sand out of pebbles, they watch the sun set and drink champagne. Not Ant. Let’s just say Ant’s cynicism hasn’t waned at all since we have been travelling and there is more fluff in his belly button than there is romance in his soul. So imagine his delight when we rounded the beach to discover a huge pebble heart with my initials in it that he could claim ‘here’s one I made earlier’!!!
We left the rock before sundown which happens at 4:30pm around here and headed North along the old Paphos Road, finding a quiet spot on the beach to sleep.

Days 186 – 188 (6th – 8th Nov) Tony and Angie’s : Round II

We left Derek and Cathy’s at noon and went via La Marda to Tony and Angie’s. They drove us out to a beautiful nearby village surrounded by fields and farmland, then down to the harbour at Bogaz for drinks, where we saw Hassan and agreed to revisit his bar, followed by Stan the Bulgarian who let us have a quick nose around his boat.
The evening was a brilliant laugh and instead of the 3 litres of wine Angie and I consumed on our last visit, we went for Sambuca shots and a fair amount of Vodka before hitting the dance-floor for the second time. Ant replaced his break-dancing with a Turkish Bull-fight dance and I managed to stay upright the entire evening. Hurrah! And the best part was that I managed to ‘forget’ to take my camera with me!! Oops, sorry.
Saturday we went totally Turkish; starting with a wander around the ruins at Salamis, followed by a walk around the old lost city of Famagusta, where Ant and I fell in love with a hand-made Oud embedded with mother-of-pearl shells (a very old 11-stringed folk instrument of the Arab world and, as we later discovered, favoured by a true God of the comedy world - Bill Bailey). We disappeared for lunch to ponder the price and I ate a traditional Turkish ‘Kuru Fasulye’ (beans and rice with pickled cabbage and olives) whilst everyone else had the ultimate hangover cure of double egg and chips! We returned to iHan’s shop and bartered £100 sterling off the price of the Oud and got a packet of Turkish pomegranate tea thrown in. What a lovely-but-loopy man.
Sunday saw us back at the Moon-on-the-Water restaurant for a traditional and gorgeous roast dinner, with extra spuds. We stayed all afternoon waiting for our dinner to go down so we could fit pudding in – Apple Crumble with cream. It doesn’t get any better.
Monday we all set off for the border and a rummage through the racks of second hand bargains at the thrift shop on the edge of the border army camp. Definitely be going back there again. We said our goodbyes and continued on into the Greek side of the island; With the formal name of - The Republic of Cyprus.
We passed Dhekelia army camp and reached the beach north of Larnaca just as it was approaching dark, so we made some food and got our heads down for an early night.

Days 179-185 30th October – 5th November - 2009.

Highlights this week include the Carpenters market the other side of Girne (which was almost washed out on Halloween) and the Mind, Body and Spirit class I went to with Cathy in Catalkoy, which was centred around ‘Abundance’. Although we almost didn’t make it there at all after the car got a puncture, then Ant sliced his finger to the bone and Cathy and I had to take one of the puppies to the vets when it got run over (or we suspect it was kicked). Not a good day at all.