With only a few weeks left in Cyprus, we along with some friends went on a beach excursion to the northern occupied territory of Cyprus. Prof had read that Golden Beach (aka Nangomí) was arguably the best beach in all of Cyprus, according to several guidebooks. Well, we just had to see for ourselves, since we already felt that nothing could top beaches in Agia Napa.
Our friends wanted a tour of an archaeological site, which was a nice addition to our beach trip. (Who wouldn’t want to learn more about this beautiful country?) Prof took us to Salamis, a very old, ancient site where he’s visited many times before.
At Salamis, Prof shared how each location held a specific purpose, such as a place for Romans to gather and exercise before a match, or the water closet (aka toilet), or the theater where crowds would gather to watch a performance.
(Photo Top Left: Hot Water Bath House. Photo Top Right: Unexcavated amphitheater. Because Salamis is located in the occupied area in the north, any archaeological excavation conducted today is considered illegal in the international community. Photo Bottom Left: Cool Water Bath House. Photo Bottom Right: Heart-shaped cornerstone pillar.)
(Photos: Additional photos at Salamis)
(Photos: Piano Man enjoying being an amateur photographer. Also, a photo of a latrine during Roman rule. Imagine a wood or marble top to sit and conduct some bathroom related business. Romans cleverly used old bath water from the bath houses to flush out the latrines. Very clever.)
In Salamis, according to Acts 13 in the Holy Bible, this was where Apostle Paul and Barnabas first landed in Cyprus. It is said that Barnabas lived and died in Cyprus. (You can find the presumed tomb of Barnabas about 500 m down a local road to see it.) When Prof mentioned these facts, It was pretty neat to watch history come alive.
The weather was quickly warming up in spite of the cool ocean breeze, so we ate lunch at the local taverna next to the archaeological site. The kids wanted to dive into the ocean waters in Salamis, so we hopped back in the car and drove to Oasis Hotel Karpas, located along the Karpas peninsula – the most northeastern tip in Cyprus.
We arrived at Oasis Hotel Karpas at mid-day, but the place looked so unassuming, one would never guess that a few hotel rooms were overlooking the ocean were there. We dropped our bags, changed, and drove about 30 km to the famous Golden Beach.
Along the way, we met some new friends. This one got a little too close for my taste, but I was asking for it since I lowered the window for a close-up.
(Photo Top Left: Goats roaming free. Photo Top Right: Donkey crossing sign. Photo Bottom Left: Live Donkey a little too up close and personal. Photo Bottom Right: After some rough all-terrain driving, we see signs for Golden Beach.)
Golden Beach (aka Nangomí)
We parked behind some bungalows which one could rent and stay for the night, but these were a bit more rustic – a true beach camping experience. I don’t think there was running water or a bathroom in the bungalows. I am not sure if there was even electricity available.
(Photo Left: Golden Beach Bungalows were an option to stay close by Golden Beach, but it was a camp style cabin area. Photo Right: But if you walk on this wooden deck towards this view, it is worth it, right?)
Once we walked down the shoreline, I think you could hear an angelic choir singing in the background, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hal-le-eee-lu-jah!” Seriously, folks, I heard this song in my head as we walked toward the beach.
For a pretty famous beach, it was largely empty. We secured a couple of beach lawn chairs and an umbrella and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
A whole bus load of tourists came walking down the wooden path, and it felt like a big party was brewing, so we retreated back to our hotel for some dinner.
(Photos Above: Piano Man didn’t even notice the crowds, and Linus thought, “Why did we have to leave so early?”)
Oasis Hotel Karpas
Oasis Hotel Karpas was a no frills hotel, but it had the basics – running water, shower, toilet, bed, and electricity run on a generator, which gets shut off in the middle of the night. So beware that your mosquito repellent might not work if you have to plug it in the night like we did. Fortunately for us, there were no mosquitos, just the sounds of the oceans crashing into the rocks and shoreline below our rooms.
We ate dinner at the hotel with all the locals, and the dinner was fantastic! We ordered fish, which I still have no idea what kind of fish it was, but it was fresh.
(Photos Above: Chicken Kebabs, Beef Kafta, Fried fish, Salad with homemade vinaigrette)
After a long day of visiting an archaeological site, a famous beach, and some good food with excellent company, we turned in for the night. It took Piano Man and me awhile to settle down for the night, since we were not used to the sounds of the ocean waters serenading us at night. But if you’re into that and like the sounds of ocean waves crashing when you sleep, no need to bring a CD of the ocean sounds when you can have it played live.
Tomorrow’s post promises to be equally appealing to your travel senses. We tackle another beach, Turtle Beach, and head back to Kyrenia for a little lunch before going home.