From Neo Chorio I returned to the Akamas Peninsula. I followed its southern, sandier coast back towards where I’d started the trip in Paphos. Cyprus is small enough that you could ride anywhere in half a day. Unlike other motorbike trips I’ve been on the route didn’t need to be so direct, nor the distances so committed.
With the broken speedo I didn’t know how far I had gone. It felt like there was less pressure to rack up the kilometers. Looking retrospectively at the map, this post covers about 130km.
I went back through Polis, round the Chrysochou Bay and through Pomos. Past there the road started climbing around the Kokkina Enclave, where I first encountered the border.
I was in the south of the island. The north has been occupied by Turkey, without international recognition, since the 1974 invasion. Between the two is a demilitarized zone maintained by the United Nations. A clear north/south divide, except at Kokkina, which is a few square kilometers of Turkish-occupied Cyprus surrounded on three sides by the south and on the fourth the sea.
The mountains abutted the coast. The road cut and followed their contour lines, rising to some spectacular views. But it was hard to miss the occasional UN 4×4—heretofore a fixture only of television news—driving the opposite way. Or the Greek base in the woods at the road’s highest point, stemming the path of anyone trying to come up the valley. Or the distant hilltop outposts flying the Turkish and Northern-Republican flags. And the road itself: a twisting, smoothly-surfaced navigation around the geopolitical complexity.
I came down to the coast at Kato Pyrgos. I found my hotel, a balconied, four storey edifice set on the harbour. It felt like it might have been very busy in the summer, or perhaps in the 1970s. I unloaded my gear and had some food. The wife-and-husband proprietors were unhurriedly doing the service and cooking respectively. It was a quiet and peaceful place, cut off and preserved by the border and the mountains.
I was interested in seeing more of the border. The next morning I booked another hotel in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, with enough time to spend the majority of the day there.