Destined for North Cyprus

One city that I would have never imagined myself booking tickets for was North Cyprus. The reason why !!!! - cos I never knew that there existed any such country i.e it was something different from south Cyprus or what I would call just Cyprus. Reading my blog  is perhaps one more feather of intelligence shown as it leads you to next one which is getting to know what is really this divide.Let menot do the honors and give credit to Mr Wiki  .

Anyhow as destiny would have it one of my  trips to Turkey was diverted to this rather beautiful country ( I know not yet recognized by UN, but for the sake of this blog lets give it an identity for  ease of reading and comprehension).Now its only later that I  understood that why it was no other European country  but this ,cos the North part is apparently occupied by Turks as compared to south which is occupied by Greek Cypriots and remember Turkey is where i was supposed to be originally going.
Not getting too much into the political detail , I  just cant hold on anymore to tell you that what a beauty was I discovered .A calm , serene yet urban with enough oomph & drama , this country was much more than I expected.

The normal route to enter North Cyprus is  via Istanbul . I learnt it the hard way when I was cajoled by my  European colleagues to take the south Cyprus route and being only a Schengen visa holder ended up getting detained at at airport , questioned, warned and then let go as a one off. Heartfelt thanks to  the officers-- if you are reading this blog.
Only a 2 hrs  distance  by road we entered the city of Kyrenia or Girne and made our way to one of the best hotels Cratos Premium Spa and Casino.This was also my first time where  I came across the concept of all inclusive hotels which meant the day rate catered to all day food and drinks. Apparently most of the hotels as well always come with a casino in North Cyprus , of course key reason being to promote tourism.
While the mornings were mostly spent at Hotel attending Business workshops , the evenings were spent in various touristy locales which were within a very easy reach by taxi from hotel.
Places visited and recommended.

Even If you aren't staying here ,I  would still urge you to arrange a dinner at one of the Turkish Ala ca rte restaurants which  opens up to the beautiful sea shore. 
The whole hotel is designed & decorated  beautifully with large Crystal chandeliers, pianos & grand  buffet tables accompanied with wonderful live music at most of the  nights.  

 I should also mention that the Casino was equally impressive ( except for the smoke part ) , with seemingly latest technical  gadgets to  play digital roulette's  or hidden cameras tracking expressions and eye movements to catch deceitful players. 

Day 1-Kyrenia bay area, 
Crimson sky meeting at horizon with blue sea set against a back drop of setting sun is  one of the best calming ingredient that nature provides you. 

The small boats with sails give a rustic look to the bay and the many coffee shops just around the corner provide the perfect excuse to relax your legs after a long walk for a tete-a-tete. Kyrenia castle is also one of  the local interest however I made peace with only looking at its giant  walls from outside

Day 2- Archway hotel 

Unfortunately since it was nighttime  so I couldn't appreciate the  beauty of  the hotel itself , which I did later when I checked it out  on google next day . It truly seemed a missed opportunity but I  would still g on to recommend it for its interiors and the delicious Turkish food. 
We opted for a set meal which  was a relay of one dish after another. As such I would have like to remember the name of all but one drink which totally  blew my mind was called Shalgam (turnip jice). A  non alcohol drinks traditionally served with another alcoholic drink raki , is spicy  yet sweet & is a perfect accompaniment to  some times the compared-to-Indian-food bland egg or chicken . 

Day 3 - Bellapais monastery
This monastery is literally  ruins , but the  beauty of it lies in the way its positioned at Hill top. A  view of the cobalt blue sea is magical . The  broken Archs, the view of plush bungalows with swimming pools , the green palm trees all over give  you a picture perfect setting to keep clicking your pictures like forever.

Once we were done with the monastery, we decided to take round of the city and the twist and turns of it reminded me of my own village. The day ended  with another Turkish tea and baklawa at a near by  coffee joint. 
Leaving the place  the only  thought  in my mind was to return to it some day soon and perhaps soak the sun all day long rather than in  bits and pieces that I did during this trip.