After a quiet English breakfast (yes, for € 2.50 I get fried eggs with bread and a piece of bacon) along the sea we hit the road and cross the mountain range that separates the north of Cyprus from the south. A nice route but if you have to drive it every day, it is a long stretch. We first visit the remains of the Venetian shipyard at Gouvia on the east coast. There are still 15 arches of the 18th century shipyard where ships were stowed and repaired in the winter. Not really exciting, but Teije can mark it off from his list. There is also a monument in honor of the Serbian soldiers who landed here in 1916 and died.
Today we want to explore the rest of the east coast above Kerkyra and from Gouvia we drive further up to the north. Gouvia and Limni are on a big bay and at Limni we see a headland with a chapel on it, the Ypapanti church. Especially the location of the church is beautiful and it is therefore not surprising that it is very popular as a wedding location. We can not enter the church because the gate is closed.
But the rest of the area up to the slightly more northerly situated Pyrgi does not appeal to us very much, but we stop at every village to look around. There are many hotels and tourist complexes, driven by the ever-growing number of tourists. Fortunately, you also see enough smaller places but for how long? Tourism has been a mass product for a long time and that is probably only getting worse. For the local people, tourism is good in itself, but when large companies and chains start to focus on it, it is ultimately no longer profitable for the small business.And of course, we also participate in it, by going on holiday and by sharing our stories: we hope that people will also want to travel thanks to our enthusiastic stories but obviously we do not have that much influence, but it does give us somethink to think of: do we all need to go to point B because we live at point A and do not know B yet? Point C to Z we also don't know yet, by the way... We hear from owners of apartments stories about how tourism was 20, 30, even 40 years ago in this region, that it was very small and there were still undiscovered places. Beautiful beaches, as we have seen on Lefkada, where only goats and shepherds came, but where there are now daily traffic jams in the summer. Tourism used to be special but now has become an economy and economy only wants one thing: to grow, because otherwise decline threatens. But if you see some buildings along the Greek coasts (and in the rest of the world) you can only hate mass tourism: who wants to go there? Well, the whole world apparently!
And that's why we go back into the mountains, away from the coast. A very exciting road, very narrow and full of hairpin bends and fortunately very few tourists (so also few oncoming traffic), brings us to Sokraki. There is usually a (not too high) concrete edge along the road but personally I think that the ravine should have been a bit further away. I have no idea why Teije finds this kind of roads fun to drive. We can see many tens of kilometers in the distance, the view is definitely worth it. Hundreds, maybe thousands tourists are walking down by the coast, but we do not see them.
Via Spartulas we take even more spectacular mountain roads back to the east coast, although the roads become a bit wider again. Many of the more luxurious houses that lie further from the sea have their own swimming pool of course, but we have been told that these are mainly houses of foreigners, non-Greeks, and they were called barbarians in antiquity. So, houses of barbarians. But well, our children also say that, if we ever buy a house here, there must of course be a swimming pool. Barbarians, indeed!But we prefer to spend our money on traveling to different places than buying a house in one place so that pool will not come soon. We have thought about buying a plce somewhere abroad but then you also have so many obligations: taxes, maintenance, you have to go there regularly because you have it and so on. While vacation should ensure a lack of obligations, enjoy doing what you feel like, even if you have a guy like Teije with you who always comes up with lists of sights we have to see. Fortunately, he is also getting a bit older and wiser now and learns to see the value of relaxation.
And so we arrive in Agios Stefanos where we ended yesterday and drive along the north coast to our beach at the bay of Apraos where we spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach, I with my e-reader and he with his paper book. After all those busy tourist spots we have been to, it is a relief to lie here on a long and almost deserted beach. A beautiful sandy beach also with shallow water where I can paddle quietly. But also here, just like on Lefkada, few beautiful shells can be found.On the way to Roda we eat something and we spend the rest of our evening on the balcony. We must be certainly in a bad place because there are few other tourists, something we do not mind at all.