It felt so hard to say goodbye to Olympos – not even because of the former paradise beach (former – due to crowds frequenting it), flames of Chimera, night scorpions in micro version or beautiful weather… But those dinners at Saban Pansyion, awaited from early afternoon, filling you up until you can’t move… I will definitely miss that.

The first car I hitchhiked was full of hairy Turks, one of them speaking fairly good English …and Serbian thanks to his Balkan study experience. Then a hike with a truckdriver praising the beauty of Kirgistan where he found his wife. He also explained to me that it is impossible to get away from paying traffic fines in Turkey as the first thing that policemen do when they spot you is send your registration plate number to their hedquarters (they seem to like sending those numbers everywhere in Turkey, epsecially in petrol stations, BEFORE you fill the tank up).

Antalya, the place…

http://vimeo.com/12940974

You can’t reach Olympos from Alanya directly – first you need to take a bus to Antalya, then a dolmus will bring you to a bar next to the main road, then you have to catch another, smaller one to Olympos itself. The driver of the second vehicle decided to wait so that it fills up… which could take some time, thus, I decided to hitchhike – and it worked perfectly. After arriving in the tourist village I found countless „treehouse” pensions with fake treehouses – these are simply elevated bungalows, that’s all. I chose „Saban Pansyion”, recommended for its big breakfasts and dinners included in moderate price. And it was true – the meals, especially dinners, are delicious and huge (if you stay there longer you might find yourself gaining lots of kilograms). As for Olympos itself, it can be summed up with three words: sea, ruins, Chimera. The first notion needs no explanation I guess;…

On the ferryboat to Alanya I meet a friendly Kurdish lady (who mentions her kurdishness with a low voice) – talkative despite not speaking any foreign language and in spite of my Turkish not being improved at all… After a couple of minutes she invites me to her house in a small town near Alanya – unfortunately, towards the end of the cruise she gets seasick and she is not in a shape to host anyone… Alanya itself is a city of immense beaches on both sides of beautifully set castle. Next to Kleopatra beach there is a moderate-interesting Damlatas cave – it is said that the humidity and air composition inside is very good for health. And that’s it, done sightseeing, time to start catching the tan – the British way (intense pink) is still fashionable but not 100% dominant as this place has become a very popular destination for Polish tourists – so popular that numerous Polish shops…

One day stay in Kyrenia/Girne was free of any activities. After my last visit here I knew there was nothing left to sightsee. I only checked on Ela – still trying to sell cruise tickets, still no success. High season and no tourists around – could it be that everybody already knows this town is not worth coming? Really desperate, I entered a small gallery with paintings made by one retired Turkish general. Flowers, kittens, no disasters of war. I stay at Girne Dorms – this time I manage to get a relatively cheap place for 8 euros.

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Jednodniowy pobyt w Kyrenii/Girne spędziłem na leniuchowaniu… Po poprzedniej wizycie nie zostało mi nic do zwiedzenia. Sprawdziłem tylko, co słychać u Eli, wciąż sprzedającej bilety na rejs wzdłuż wybrzeża. Słychać mniej więcej to samo, co ostatnio – bryndza, brak ruchu w interesie. Dziwna sprawa, wszak lato w pełni, czyżby wszyscy już wiedzieli, że Kyrenia nie jest warta zachodu i omijali ją…

It wasn’t he best moment to meet my hosts in Nicosia. Just a minute before my arrival, Kawai had car accident. Greeks really are terrible drivers – they never use brakes, they just try to go around the obstacle. You can’t help thinking of donkey carts… Waiting for insurance company representatives seems to be endless (at first they didn’t even want to come, asking on the phone if it was REALLY necessary). Fortunately Kawai didn’t get hurt, it’s just that the car doesn’t look elegant anymore.

The next day Reinhard takes me to visit his work – UN base in Nicosia! The whole place feels quite special – a huge piece of land, fenced around but lots of shepherds walk their goats in here. We visit Nicosia international airport, shut down after the events of 1974 – the last plane didn’t have time to take off. It is still here, waiting for better times… In a distance you can see…

After night-morning trip I feel exhausted and decide to have a little nap on the beach in Ayia Napa. This town seems to be perfect for this purpose – there is absolutely nothing to do here, apart from sunbathing and getting drunk – a very popular activity for thousands of British tourists frequenting the place every summer. After a couple of hours rest I catch a bus to the easternmost place in (southern) Cyprus – Cape Grecko where I plan to spend the night. And Cape Grecko was full of silence, nature, beautiful rocks, caves and lizards… In some places the rocks are shaped in a very interesting way – big holes fill with warm water make comfortable bathtubes. After having a little was in one of these I find a different, dry hole and decide to camp there for the night. In the morning I head back to Ayia Napa where I can catch the bus to Nicosia (with…

I go to the Dead Sea (421 metres below sea level, the lowest place on the surface of Earth) together with two Japanese girls who saved me offering me a mysterious herbal medicine that took just a few seconds to get rid of un-fresh falafel sensations. We all walk to the bus station and when we get there… we have to wait for almost two hours to get on the right bus. In the meantime we have an interesting talk – I learn that one of the girls, Yuka, has been traveling for 10 years now, making small pauses only to sell in Japan all the clothes she has purchased abroad. Inspiring! Our bus has a little breakdown on the way. Instead of waiting we decide to do some hitch-hiking. A jolly Germane rave-guy joins us and shows us some movies from a rave part he had a couple of days ago in plain desert… After a short while comes…

In spite of my late arrival I still wanted to feel a little bit of Jerusalem right away. I left my luggage in New Palm hostel (but it could have been any of cheap hostels located in one row next to Damascus Gate) and after walking just a few steps I entered the Old City. Strolling without any certain goal I almost got mugged by a couple of Palestinian kids, then passed a security check and arrived at the Western Wall, the holiest place for religious Jews. I got there on Shabbas, so the whole wall square was full of Jews wearing characteristic black and white vests, praying, crying and swaying rhythmically. An amazing feeling – as if I landed on a black-and-white planet with sidelocks. After having photographed and filmed the place I returned to the hostel with a strong resolution of walking all the streets in the Old City. The following day, however, I don’t spend in Jerusalem…

A couple of days before, while in Limassol, I wanted to find a ferryboat that would bring me to some of those interesting countries just across the sea – Syria, Lebanon, Israel or Egypt. No success, though – high port taxes made all carriers shut down their business, there is only one ferry going from North Cyprus to Syria, too expensive though. I tried my luck in cruise companies – maybe they would smuggle me on-board? – but that was not possible either. The only solution was taking a plane – and I’m not a big fan of this means of transport due to all the things you miss on the way but this time I had no choice… I chose Israel – not only beacause it was one of the cheapest options but also to visit an old friend of mine whom I had not seen for 10 years and thought I would bever see again. Seeing her would…