Cyprus: an island divided by the past

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Cyprus island has really confusing history and still its status is very complicated. It’s even visible: architecture in every town is so different, because this island was ruled by so many different empires.  And of course, today nation of Cyprus is not one type.

Island’s lands are divided between Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and… British. Britain has two military bases which are officially its sovereign lands. Today, no one really has problems with British guys, but if we start to talk about Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, here we come to big troubles. They kinda… highly dislike each other. Especially, after 1974 when Turkish army entered the island and “took care” of  Northern part to ensure Turkish Cypriot independence from Greeks. Many people had to leave homes in both sides and move to ensure safety. And still, Northern part is official part of whole Cyprus, but it calls itself independent Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus. This “Cyprus issue” is one of the reasons which stops Turkey from becoming a part of EU. Also it creates problems for Greek part to get more advantages of EU membership (still not Shengen).

Both nations really dislike each other. From Turkish side, they more hate Greek government, than population. Greek Cypriots also hates Turkish government (they directly talks about Ankara), but also have many prejudices about Turks and Cypriot Turks in personal. I found them very Islamaphobic. They believe, that religion differences make Turks very aggressive and undeveloped.

Greeks blame Turks for not taking care of their churches in Northern part. It’s partly true, because most of the churches are or abandoned, or transformed to mosques. It’s really easy to do: just add a minaret on church and here you already have- Muslim praying house. Meanwhile in Greek side, mosques are not destroyed, but renovated, even there are almost no Muslims.

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People can freely travel to both sides, but different rules, different laws are making it too much complicated. Differences are obvious. Northern Cyprus is not as developed as Greek side. Good infrastructure and international companies can be found just in South part. Also, in North part it’s cheaper to shop (they are using Turkish lira), but in South part  it becomes more expensive (euros).

In North part main economy is …tourism. Not just simple tourism, but mostly- casino tourism. Maybe you know that in Turkey gambling is illegal, so people are travelling to Cyprus to have some fun. Its like a Las Vegas for them (as Batumi in Georgia, next to the border of Turkey).

I thought, maybe my time in Cyprus will let me to conclude about “Cyprus issue” and who’s fault it is. Finally, I guess, that …both sides are fault about current situation…and they will never be together. I don’t know how it was before separation, but now exist big cultural and development differences. So, it would be better to let Northern Cyprus to become an independent state, and 50 years old conflict would be over.

P.S. About Abkhazia I was thinking similar- Just let them to be, they can not join back Georgia. Too many shits are already done. I guess, that’s my usual opinion about this kind of issues “Just let them to be as they want”.  https://scontent-b-mxp.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/v/t1.0-9/p480x480/10292468_10204226384478888_7987230281239361096_n.jpg?oh=e6038c26a2c7f10ad163bf4bf5ad2565&oe=55142572https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/p480x480/10277354_10204207422284845_4602202569204980158_n.jpg?oh=812271a544f0fd70e83b38503af79314&oe=551D3BB1&__gda__=1427315210_fbbf6ab1fdde706680d1eb76e71bce3e

Escape from autumn: the island of Cyprus

I see a sky closer than usually. Clouds are behind me, a map on my knees and the backpack next to me. In one hour I will land in unknown lands that I will try to discover. I am ready to hit the road. To find new things, to experience stories and to calm down my traveler’s soul. It’s time. It’s getting to hard to stay in one place.

My travels start from a moment I buy tickets. I start to imagine and plan future trip and it makes me really exited and happy. At some moment, I understood – autumn is killing me. I bought tickets and since that moment, problem was solved. Travelling heals me. It makes me to feel alive and … happier. Continue reading

Things to do in Istanbul #2 (Balık Ekmek, Çamlıca, Bosphorus, Bazaar, Football)

5. Try the  BALIK EKMEK in EMINÖNÜ

Eminönü is the place where you can experience a spirit of Istanbul. Just sit down next to Galata bridge and watch how people are going in and out of the spice market, getting on or off from the ferry, walking towards the mosque, eating, playing, talking and enjoying life. For centuries fishermen were bringing their catch from the Bosphorus and the Marmara sea over the Golden Horn for sale. No doubts, fish is super fresh here. Years ago, few boatmen had an idea: cook the fish right on the boat and sell it for hungry people. Today you can not miss colorful boats and smell an aroma of fresh frying fish. If your nose and eyes still can trick you, you will hear people shouting “Balık Ekmek! Balık Ekmek!”. It’s very simple street food. Fried fish in a bread.

It’s kinda weird to buy sandwiches from boats bobbing in the water, but also it feels old-fashioned and romantic. Eat this sandwich with a drink called şalgam (pickle juice with some pickled vegetables). It’s sour, salty and perfectly fits with Balık ekmek. Best place to eat it, next to big stairs. There are many places to sit and enjoy the view of Galata Tower. Continue reading

Things to do in Istanbul #1 (Ferry, Sultanahmet, Hamam, Tramway)

  1. TAKE A FERRY BOAT.

If it is your first time visitng Istanbul, don’t miss opportunity to enjoy very daily activity of local Istanbul citizen- crossing from European side to Asian side by ferry. It fascinates me somehow in very childish way. It’s really entertaining! I always feel a risk to fall down to Bosforus water while I am stepping into a boat. Mostly because I am lacking balance and also there are no safety fences or something to protect people from accidents. Also, it’s great to have a cup of tea or glass of french orange juice, meantime enjoying beautiful view of two continent’s coasts. If you are eating simit (circular bread with sesame seeds), don’t be greedy and share it with seagulls (aka sea beggars). They are always following ferry boats… Maybe that’s why Istanbul’s seagulls are so fat. Continue reading

An Ode to Travel

Last days I spent with my very good friend Rita. We are meeting once or twice a year, somewhere in the world. Between these meetings we are not so much keeping in touch, but it’s not a problem to be friends. We are both these kind of people who are connected by stories and adventures which we experienced together while travelling. We cannot stop being friends, because we know too much about each other :) . We are meeting each other to create more stories together or to plan future destinations we dream to visit.

We are vagabonds. We don’t have settled home, but in many places we are feeling kinda like home. We are wondering around without job, but with big passion to experience more. To travel further, to be exited more and to discover unknown places.

We are sharing passion for having a life of travel. Continue reading

Insomnia

One of these kind of nights when it seems to impossible to fall asleep. Maybe because of caffeine in midnight’s Coca Cola glass, maybe because to many thoughts about next year and how to manage everything.

Or maybe, because I am not feeling very happy. Most often here I am feeling…OK. Not so bad, not so good. Just OK. I don’t like it. But I will put a fake smile on my face and continue a performance…

I have problems. However, most of the people I got to know here, every week are coming/calling/writing to me to talk about their problems. And I am listening, trying to understand them. I am honestly putting efforts to find solution for their personal dramas. I’m patient and I’m willing to hear about their lives.

Stories from DramaLand aka  Turkey are about jealousy of partners (and its very common story). Some stories about learning and failing how to trust. Other stories seems like some “soup opera” with crazy people and crazy obsessions. But some, like sweet teenager love stories…

To conclude, the main problem of all of them- not talking with partner about feelings and thoughts.

So, I’m attracting these stories and I’m patiently listening them.

At least it’s excuse not to think about my own personal drama. Although, I still haven’t heard a story more complicated than mine.

p.s. wow, my blog posts becoming like teenager girl’s life chronicles.

Bored

My life in Turkey is not so exited as it was before. I’m feeling too much local here. Not so much Erasmus, but more as person who came back… again and again. Before coming here I was aware that it will not be as it was the first time. Everything looked so new, so undiscovered and I was open to do the craziest and the most adventurous things to experience as much as possible. But now, I kinda know how it is to live in Turkey. I have my routine here. Some nights out in Taksim, rides to visit Babaanne’s (bf grandmothers), daily internship, Saturdays in local market and Thursdays at university… I know my favorite food, places and people.

I don’t feel disappointed about it. I was expecting it and now I’m the most busy with filling unfinished documents, making strategies for life and cooking for my handicapped in kitchen boyfriend. I’m really spending a lot of time in kitchen, because neighbors across the street, who can see me through windows, started to tell my flatmates, that ginger foreign girl is always preparing some food… Continue reading

Burning minds

10712911_290512507809857_6204601706528101942_nI wish to say that I am trying to listen my minds, but truth is different. I am trying not to think and keeping myself too busy to do so. Or I am creating some vacuum in my head when someone is pushing me to think too much. Sometimes I’m just listening music and letting myself slowly drown into lyrics and melody.

I feel that inside me something strange is going on. Some kind of breakdown coming soon and I can hear invisible clock ticking louder and louder. I breath deeply to calm down and… carry on.

I have no time, no energy to try to understand why thoughts are burning my soul. I have stuff to do. I feel scared of missing deadlines to decide about my future… I want to make a plan or strategy, but there are to many variables, so I feel powerless. And I hate this. I need to be in control of my life. I’m missing a feeling of having wheel of my life in my hands. Continue reading

Trying to find a balance…

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Three archetypes of me. First archetype : The student/The intern

Crossing Bosforus makes me feel somehow magical. I see mosques around me, skyscrapers behind them, seagulls trying to catch some food and small houses on hills. While listening murmur of the city, the only thing that interrupts such a magical moment is the fact, that I really badly want to sleep. My campus is on another continent, so I have to take a bus and a boat…or a boat and a bus (that gets stuck in the traffic every morning). My campus is in the place called „Anadolu Hisari“( Anatolian Castle). Maybe I will become a princess of it? Neh, I don’t think so, because I am planing to visit university once a week and establish my Kingdom in Besiktas (home and internship place). Continue reading

Merhaba Türkiye… again…

I couldn’t grasp that I have already landed in Istanbul after seeing spectacular view of the city through the plane window, when officer suddenly started to flirt with me. While checking my passport, he expressed his thoughts about my beauty. At the same moment I understood, nothing changed since the last time I was in this country. Turkey is still Turkey.

Two days after, I was waiting for a friend in Taksim square. A man came to me and told me: “Doyouwannadirinkcola”. What? Do you want to drink cola? It was hard to stop laughing of such a straight forward strategy. Next evening somebody in the street was offering tea… I don’t know these people. But… I can’t be surprised. I have already spent too much time in Turkey, so I can not pretend that I don’t know, how Turkish do not hesitate approaching foreigners and especially girls.

First time I came to Turkey in 2013 February for my first semester as an exchange student. Since then, because of interesting and romantic twists in my life, I officially entered Turkey six times and I spend around 10 months in this country. And now, I am again settling down in Istanbul for at least next 4 months…

Now I am not so surprised or feeling exited about everything around me. In my face you can see a wise smile, because I overcame “integration period” 1.5 year ago. Now, I feel somehow local… As much, as foreigner could be.

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The first morning and I am already trying some East Turkey traditional  bride accessories

Continue reading