Girls will be girls…

…and crave Taco Bell once in a blue moon. Our blue moon was sometime in February. My office mate / friend / rant buddy and I were suddenly overcome by an immense need for Taco Bell. Not sure how it came about, but it got to the point where we were google imaging tacos. Turkey doesn’t do tacos. This led Jenny to looking up the closest TB locations, which happened to be close enough for a weekend get-away. There are zero TBs in Turkey, but TWO on the island of Cyprus (on the Greek side). 

If you aren’t aware, Cyprus is literally divided by a wall, separating the Turks from the Greeks. If you’re Turkish, no TB for you because you aren’t allowed on the Greek side. Probably because the Turkish government invaded and literally pushed Greeks from their Northern homes. I’m using literally a lot because this just blows my mind. It’s so divided, there are two names for the capital- Nicosia if you’re Greek or the rest of the world, and Lefkoşa if you’re Turkish. Turkey is the only country that recognizes the Northern part as a sovereign entity. THAT IS CRAY CRAY. 

So we took a weekend trip (leaving early Friday afternoon) to Taco Bell. Er… Cyprus. 

Although we were only there for 2.5 days, we had so many adventures (almost all unplanned), that it felt like a week! 

Adventure one occurred as soon as we arrived. Wait. The fun started on the plane. It wasn’t exactly an adventure, but it’s pretty funny. Our boarding passes originally said two seats somewhere in the middle, but when we went to board the ticket guy changed ours to the very last aisle. We think it’s because we are foreigners and won’t stand up to leave two seconds before the plane lands. When we got to our aisle, there was a man in my seat (the window). He saw us, freaked out, and said (in Turkish) something about he doesn’t want that seat anymore, and took the aisle seat. Even though there were about five aisles completely empty and we were done boarding, he refused to leave, and even took Jenny’s armrest! MIDDLE SEAT GETS BOTH ARMRESTS!! IT’S COMMON PLANE ETIQUETTE. So we decided to switch to another aisle (one that was empty) right before take-off. 

As soon as we moved, what does he do? MOVES TO ANOTHER AISLE. What. Weirdo. 

We giggled like schoolgirls almost the entire flight (partly because of the weirdo dude, and partly because we were so excited). 

Back to the previous paragraph… 

Adventure one started when we arrived. Our plan was to buy bus tickets and take a shuttle from the airport to the city center, then walk across the border (there is a specific border crossing just for walkers). We bought our tickets, only to discover that the shuttle wouldn’t leave for another hour and a half. Thanks for telling us, ticket dude. We tried to get our money back so we could just take a cab to the city center, but of course they wouldn’t let us. So we starting asking people in line. We were able to sell one back, but ended up keeping the other as a souvenir. As we were trying to sell the tickets, an older gentleman asked why we weren’t going. We explained we still were, but didn’t want to wait over an hour. He was also going to the city center with his father, and we ended up splitting a cab with these two. 

The cab driver took us as far as he could, then explained we had to walk about five minutes through this shady-ass neighborhood to the border crossing. It was about 2030, so the sun was already gone, and there was about one street lamp. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something isn’t right? We both had that while walking to the border crossing. We were one a walking street with many shops, but they were all closed, it was dark, and we ran into about three people. I had my knuckle-sandwich ready! But, we turned the correct corner and saw the welcoming light of passport control. We passed through, no problem, onto the other side of the street. And pretty much another world. This was the same street, but after the boarder crossing, everyone was awake, the shops and cafes were bustling, there were crowds of people (none of whom blinked an eye at these two white girl tourists). I imagine it’s what it would be like to cross from Nogales, Mexico to Nogales, AZ… Politicals!

We both ate before arriving, and were planning to get up early, so we decided to search for our hostel. I didn’t have service on my phone, but I did take a bunch of google map screen shots of the directions. It was only about a 10 minute walk, but of course it took about 20-30. We asked for directions four times, and none of those times were really helpful. Although I had the google maps, the actual street signs were all in Greek (duh), so we were trying to confirm that we were on the correct road (a main road that would take us almost to the door of the hostel). No one knew what road we were on! One nice lady even told us, “Oh I’m not from here, you’ll have to ask a Cypriot.” 1. She was carrying grocery bags, so she wasn’t a tourist. 2. WHAT DOES A CYPRIOT LOOK LIKE!? A HUMAN? OH OKAY. We weren’t frustrated or annoyed, it was just super comical to us. Oh, and we immediately felt safe when we crossed the border, so we weren’t worried at all. Just another adventure. We eventually found the hostel, and although the guy didn’t speak much English, he was super friendly and set us up well for the night. We had our own bathroom and shower, and had the four beds all to ourselves! Not too bad for 20 Euros (for both of us)! 

We got up around 7 the next morning, showered and stuff, and set off! This was our plan: Eat, Rental Car pick-up, CrossFit (me), drive through the mountains to Limassol, and then, if we have time, check out Aphrodite’s rocks (where she was born).

Of course, it didn’t work like that at all. First of all, Cyprus doesn’t wake up on Saturdays until 9. So we walked around, checking out a farmer’s market, until a cafe opened. The first one we checked out only had coffee and desserts, and we didn’t want Starbucks (we were in CYPRUS. I know we originally came for Tacos, hush). Luckily, the cafe across the street had omelets! WITH BACON! Or maybe it was ham. PORRRRRRK. After we ate our fill, we made our way to the rental car place (Avis). Since they drive on the left side of the road in Cyprus, and Jenny has had experience, we were going to put her as the driver. But she forgot her license, so I was put on the spot. My first time driving in eight months, and it was in a left-side driving country. ADVENTURE NUMBER SOMETHING. The rental agents were so cool. They gave us tips on where to go in Limassol, assured us that Cypriots are the best drivers in the world and they won’t get mad if we forget the rules of the road, let us know that Jenny can drive (but if we get into an accident we will have to pay more. But we “won’t get arrested or go to jail”), and gave us more detailed directions on how to get to the CrossFit. 

According to google’s calculations, it should have taken us 15 minutes to get to the CrossFit. Due to our inability to follow directions and me mistaking my left from my right a few times, it took us about an hour and a half. To be fair, we didn’t have an exact address. Just a place name that popped up on Google Maps. I emailed the CF beforehand, and was told it’d be no problem to find and they are in the middle of nowhere. Long story short, we eventually made it, after asking about 10 different people for directions, and memorizing the entire Nicosia road system. We even went off-roading for a few minutes to chase down a runner. We were SURE he would know where the CrossFit was… he didn’t speak much English and had no idea what we were talking about. We probably scared him. And at one point, we thought we had arrived at the correct place, only to find out it was a completely different gym. The owner was super sweet, and didn’t get insulted when we weren’t interested in his gym. He also helped us trouble-shoot Aveos (our Greek-named Chevy Aveo).  Let’s just say, I may have ruined the parking brake (give me a BRAKE).

FINALLY. With an hour to spare for the open-gym, we had arrived! I think the dudes were all a little confused when I busted through the doors, exclaiming “IS THIS CROSSFIT CAN I WORKOUT YOU NEED MORE SIGNS.” For any other CrossFitters out there, I recommend this place! It’s got everything you need, the coaches are awesome and helpful, there is a puppy, and it’s actually not that difficult to find once you know the way. 😉

After working out, we hit the road (the ONLY road) through the mountains to Limassol. We were told by the CrossFit coach if we are still driving after a couple of hours, and don’t see the sea, then we have a problem. LUCKILY, no problems. We aren’t completely hopeless. 

By the way, Cypriot drivers are the most patient in the world. There were so many instances when I thought for sure I would get honked out the yoohoo, but no! I only got honked at a few times and they were all my fault! I wasn’t even mad. 

Once in Limassol, we met up with Jenny’s friend, whom she met over the summer while island-hopping with her brother. Because we were about 4 hours behind schedule, we decided to save Aphrodite’s birthplace for the next day. Emilios (EMILIOSSSSSS) took us around and showed us the Limassol sites and introduced us to some of his friends. We ate a funky / trendy restaurant (FALAFEL FOR ALL OF US). Actually, Emilios might have gotten something else. I digress. Again. 

After eating, we were going to head to Emilios’ parents’ apartment (they were out of town and let us stay there), but there was some kind of street dance party going on that we had to check out. Apparently, everyone had so much fun during the Carnival celebration a few weeks earlier, they decided to have another one! The mayor was even there, in full costume! We got our dance on for a few hours. 

Day two, Emilios took us to a neat breakfast / cafe / grocery store, showed us a neat, non-touristy beach, and then took us to Aphrodite’s rocks. It was super gorgeous, the weather was just perfect, and because it was March, not many tourists. We dropped Emilios off and said see ya later, then hit up… yeah, TACO BELLLLL. Totally worth it. It was a little different than American TB. We think it was better! I said it. But I’ll be set until I make it back to the states now. 🙂 

After we had our fill, we drove to Larnaca, and spent the rest of our afternoon lounging at the beach. We touched the water, but didn’t swim. It was definitely warm enough, but we didn’t think we would have enough time to dry off before having to head back to Nicosia. Our flight was at 2130ish, and we left Larnaca around 1600. We had almost no trouble getting back to Avis (good eyes, Jenny!), and since it was closed, we simply had to park the car in a gated area (there was a unlock button) and leave the key in a drop-box. Cyprus is easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.

We headed back to the walking / border crossing street, grabbed some protein bars and coconut flakes at a health food store, and then got real food. Can’t go to Greece without getting a gyro (YEErow! We got confirmed pronunciation!) and frozen yogurt.

Although we stalled for as long as possible, we eventually had to cross back over, in order to make our flight (we wouldn’t have been too upset if the flight was canceled). 

No problems on the way back, and we arrived back to Ankara safe and sound. 

Cyprus: 10/10

Entering Greece / Cyprus!
This way to the old city!
Not sure what this means
First glimpse of the ocean!
AK follows me everywhere 🙂
On our menu 🙂
Possibly the worst pistol I’ve ever done… but look
at the pretty scenery!!
Aphrodite’s Rocks
I thought the splash would be larger…
Looks like Ariel had a bit too much Taco Bell…
“Sampling point? Oh, the OCEAN?”
Sandy selfie!
I tried to look excited!
Pork Gyro with FRENCH FRIES
Leaving Cyprus / Greece…

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