After working hard all year Sloph and I thought we deserved a beach holiday so we managed to slope off for a few days to the Dipkarpaz peninsula. This is in keeping with our idea of holidays in so-called conflict zones: Kosovo (not really a holiday resort), North Cyprus, watch this space for further developments.
Following a recommendation from a colleague, we hired a Suzuki jeep (rather cheap) and drove off. I last drove a Suzuki jeep when Sloph was a baby and it was considered her buggy, as we lived a kilometre off a road in rural Wales.
We drove for three hours taking in Girne (Kyrenia) on the way. Not so impressed by the picturesque harbour, which was just like any other picturesque harbour. After that we drove along the coast watching the prices of the holiday homes advertised drop, the further away we got. At one point a new picturesque harbour was in the making.
Final offer - last two villas at only £50,000. All notices in English so it's clear who the clientele were. Eventually the road surface disappeared and so did the holiday homes.
As we crossed from the north coast to the south coast, settlements became less and the beaches golden and deserted. Some beaches had beach huts on stilts. Wild donkeys galloped in the fields.
Finally we arrived at Hassan's Turtle Beach and found our beach hut. Pretty basic but all you need as a beach bum.
The sand was red hot, I thought I would die before I reached the sun bed in the distance, over the dunes you can see here.
But the water was fabulous, shallow for quite a long way out (I'm not a good swimmer out of my depth) and with just the right amount of waves. We shared the beach with about ten families, including some fully clothed Moslem women. A young couple, man in bathing shorts, woman in full clinging Moslem dress and headscarf, doing the sort of things that young couples do in the water together was interesting.
Later we had an excellent dinner in the cafe overlooking the beach, cooked by Hassan. Unfortunately we didn't see any turtles as they are now in short supply according to Hassan, who is actually a marine biologist, monitoring them and their environment. Sounds like a good job.
We didn't have time to explore the rest of the region, but noticed that it was still very Greek, with Orthodox churches well preserved unlike the areas around Nicosia. But as you can see, not much of a conflict zone.