Saturday, August 12, 2006

Holiday Blog Day 4

We set off in the late afternoon up a steep and treacherous track to visit the village of Bellapais which is perched on the edge of a ravine backed by mountains.

It is famed both for its 800 year old abbey and for being the home of the writer Lawrence Durrell for three years in the 1950s. The abbey is fabulous - the name is a corruption of 'beautiful peace' and it certainly lives up to its name, with shady cloisters, a chapel with 500 year old murals still visible over the door and stunning, vertiginous views sweeping all the down to Kyrenia harbour below. Most of the abbey is still accessible and classical concerts are still held in one of the intact rooms.

Belapais Abbey

After exploring we were ready for a drink and something to eat so we crossed the road to the 'Tree of Idleness'. The actual tree where Durrell avoided writing still exists, although looking a little bedraggled now. The Huzur Agac restaurant was just the ticket - a shady and breezy terrace overlooking the abbey, with some excellent, cheap and plentiful food - four enormous 'lamp' chops for Jamie, prawns with macaroni (that turned out to be spaghetti) for Alicia from the 'Vegyterrian' menu, a fish shish for Jan with added chillies and a huge plate of fresh calamari for me. Yum.

The tree of idleness

We then headed back down the hill, this time taking the new tarmac road which was a lot easier and safer. We passed the 'Akkünt' supermarket which now joins the 'Cokomilk bar' and 'Arçelik' gas fire as funny foreign names to chuckle at. Mind you, we can't talk with places like Penistone and Scunthorpe at home. The sun had set by the time we got back to the villa and we watched the full moon rise majestically over the mountains before switching on the pool lights and jumping in to cool off under the stars.

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Inside for a final cold beer and 'Carry on Doctor' on the dvd - still groan inducingly funny after all these years. I nodded off near the end and awoke to find the kids playing 'Dad Buckaroo', putting things on my head ...

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