Nicosia is a divided city, with the more prosperous Greek Cypriot side in the newer part of the city and the Turkish Cypriot side in the old part of the city. From 2003, people have been allowed to cross into the Turkish part of the city. However, actually doing the crossing is a bizarre experience for most people, as it represents a step back in time. Firstly, you have to fill in a small piece of paper, giving your name and passport number. When you get to the head of the queue, you hand over your passport and form, and the man/woman then manually inputs your details on a computer, stamps your piece of paper and returns it to you. When you return, you have to show both passport and paper. The Nicosia divide is a very complicated issue and no doubt my criticisms of the process would be contested by some in the Turkish part of the city. It is a strange experience nonetheless. The old part of the city (see photo 1) is historically very interesting and the highlight is the Selimiye Mosque – a magnificent piece of architecture to be admired whether you have religious beliefs or not. The mosque was a former cathedral – interestingly, there is no mention that I can see of this fact in the first link to the Mosque. This reminds me of my teaching and writing about website evaluation. We also went to see the impressive Buyk Han or Great Inn. When you enter the courtyard and look up, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in a former monastery, but it is a 16th century building built as an inn for travellers. Today, it is a busy restaurant/cafe.
I’ve seen geckos in many parts of the world and I love watching them. Photo 2 shows a larger gecko on a limestone wall in Cyprus. Geckos have ability to cling on to rock surfaces and you often see them soaking up the sun on the rocks. They are fairly tame creatures and will willing sit and pose for your camera shots, ony daring into crevices if you get too near. You can also spot geckos in rocks as they often leave their tails sticking out of the crevice. They dart about very quickly and have great acceleration for their size.
In my garden recently, a dozen double headed tulips appeared. I had forgotten that I had planted them in the autumn, so this was a pleasant surprise. What is fascinating about these flowers is that they change colour, being brighter and predominantly white, with pink lines, during the day when the sun is out. However, when the sun goes down or it’s dull, they become more predominantly pink. Photos 3 and 4 show a close up and a group of these charming flowers. It is thought that tulips – so often associated with Holland – originated in Turkey, thus giving a nice symmetry to this posting.