The title of this blog post is ‘The pleasure of little things in life’. Because I strongly believe that the real joy, happiness or pleasure can only be found in the details of little things. I am talking about little things like cooking, enjoying a nice coffee or a company of your loved one. Maybe reading a book, riding bicycle or just walking in the city for observing the atmosphere. We can make this list as long as we want. It is unlimited. Those things are small, but they have the power of motivating us and giving a satisfactory feeling to our hearts. Traveling is also part of that little things and I am going to talk about my Akamas trip in this blog post which happened at the beginning of April with my friend, Rita Neophytou.
As we all experience day by day, we are living in a post-modern, a post-truth world, where everything changes so rapidly and everything is fast. Plus, we as individuals always aim big things, career plans and dreams about traveling the world. There is nothing wrong about being successful, aiming high and making career plans. Also it is an amazing thing to dream about traveling the world. But Aren’t we missing the real colours of life in all those fast life? Aren’t we missing the pleasure of little things in this temporary world?
There is a quote that I like, from a book that I read years ago which fits good to this issue, which is:
“We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
the new neighbor.
We’ve built more computers to hold more
information to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communications;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These times are times of fast foods;
but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It is time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.
from Sacred Economics”
This quote tells a lot actually, so I do not think it needs extra comment, but if anyone wants to check the book which makes criticism of today and suggestions on new world, it is recommended.
Let’s come back to Akamas trip. The main argument of this piece of writing is, traveling the world is good, but you do not have to go to the other side of world to face a different story, a different nature and people. What I am trying to say is, till you can make this dream real, one should start to go around in his/her country to know it in real terms. This is also part of discovering the pleasure of little things and finding new parts of yourself, and questioning the identity of yourself and image that you create about your country. I should say that, Akamas trip was a challenge to the Cyprus image in my head and the identity that ı developed around this image.
With those motivations of getting to know my little island better, I had the opportunity to visit the Akamas peninsula. Before going to there, I was very curious about what ı will face, because probably, this is one of the longest trips that you can have in Cyprus which is about 140 km going from Nicosia through Guzelyurt, Lefke, Yeşilırmak and Pomos to the region and 180 km back to the Nicosia through Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca.
But what is special about this region? Akamas Peninsula has rich biodiversity of animals and plant, its pure nature! People are not living there, and large parts of the area is not accessible with cars. For that reason, there are boat tours in the summer to reach the famous ‘Blue Lagoon’ that is located in the area. It is very much similar with Karpaz in the north, in terms of the peace that it provides through its natural beauty, but also it is so much different in terms of landscape. When I google it, Wikipedia tells me that interesting information: ‘…Until the year 2000, the peninsula was used by the British Army and Navy for military exercises and as a firing range. Under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, the British Army was allowed to use the Akamas for exercises for up to 70 days a year…’
Additionally, Akamas peninsula consists the Baths of Aphrodite where it is believed that, the Greek goddess of love used to take her shower here. So it is not only rich about natural beauty, but also, it is an area that has rich cultural heritage through the stories and legends of mythology and Aphrodite.
In the first saturday morning of April, we arrived to Baths of Aphrodite which is the last point that a car can reach. After this, hiking trails is starting. Therefore, we parked our cars in between to the huge touristic buses, and started to walk in the land of Aphrodite. After walking a bit, ı felt that it is obvious why she was coming to here for bath. The beauty of the place was just stunning!
I have to say that we were lucky to enjoy this beautiful nature. Those, who live in Cyprus will know that spring is the time where you should expect the unexpected. Because, it is very much possible to experience different seasons in one single day. The day we went to Akamas was one of those days. It was raining and sunny at the same time. Thanks god, we were enough lucky to have an amazing sun during our hiking to this special region.
In our 3 hours of walking, we also encounter with the special mountain goats of Cyprus which is called as Muflons in Turkish. I was so happy to see them, as they are special to Cyprus. They were feeding themselves, with the plants. I tried to not to scare them while I take a photo. Here is one:
To sum up the whole hiking on the trail that is started after the Baths of Aphrodite, ıt was extremely beautiful and great with its mountains, sea, animals and songs of birds. All of those things are some examples to the pleasures of little things that ı mentioned at the beginning. A simple human act like walking can get a different meaning in those kind of places. Also, There were a lot of people from different nationalities and backgrounds that enjoy this amazing place that day.
Above, I said that this trip was a challenge to the Cyprus image of myself. Because, I was feeling like at home, the signs were obvious and ı was in Cyprus, but the region was so much unknown to me. Somehow, I was feeling strange and comparing the places that ı see with the North of Cyprus, specially Karpaz region which is very much similar in terms of the nature. I know that comparison is not applicable here, because every place has unique character and beauty, but my mind was starting to play games to me and ıt was not possible to stop it. All of this was very normal because it was my first time there. But, there was another reason for this strange feeling, which was the division of Cyprus.
In theory, we all say that Cyprus is one, peace, reunification etc. We cannot deny that there are two different realities of life on the ground after this 42 years of division many reasons that can be a discussion for another post. Plus, we are all saying this nice wishes, theories and rhetoric’s from our comfort zones instead of actual try to learn about the reality of the other. We do not have connection with the realities of other side like what motivates them, how is the life and how things are going. Through following the media, We assume that we know things without touching the real human stories. We have very little relations, even though the checkpoints opened in 2003. Under all this distance, we are trying to form a federation, which is a very complex issue thanks to the half-century conflict. But, in a place where very few percentage of its people talk to each other, a political agreement is doomed to stay on the paper. It is very much obvious that, people in both sides have different motives about a reunification and very few of them are about the ‘other’. Negotiations are happening between leaders, not in the aim of finding a deal, but in the aim of showing who wants a solution more. Under all these facts, what we have to do is to bring more people together to have coffee at least. If we have one friend from the other community, we should introduce them to our friends and include them in the circle. Because, in the end we are all together in this island. One way or another, regardless of a political settlement, we have to find ways and be good neighbors to each other, and ı believe that this is only possible through interactions of people, not in the buffer zone only, but in all corners of the island.
All of those facts are parts of the challenge that I felt in Akamas. Being in the western corner of my island, driving for nearly 400 kilometre in a weekend, is an extraordinary experience that affected my identity and the Cyprus image on my head positively. I can say that, image of Cyprus, idea of Cyprus in my head is expanded after this trip. I see very beautiful and interesting things, it made me to think all those things. But I am sure, there are a lot to learn, a lot to see and a lot to experience about the other side of my little island. In this determination of mine, I am very glad and lucky to have a friend like Rita, who always adds a bit of joy and color to the trips that we took together, and who is always there to explore and share together. As they say ‘Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter’ .
To sum up: Thank you dear reader, for reading this long blog post till here. You read my late reflections on the weekend trip that happened 1 month ago. Probably, tomorrow I will write about the latest trip that happened to the strawberry village, Yeşilırmak with the amazing group of people which is organized by Maras-Der.