Travel

Cyprus and The Olive Branch

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Cyprus hits you with its warmth from the moment you step from the aeroplane and kiss the sun drenched ground. The Cypriot heat is like no other and it is one of the most memorable sensations your skin will have in its lifetime; more than enough reason to return to this pearl of the Med time and time again. Its people welcome you into their homes and hearts with their genuine hospitality embracing you and yours as family.

Ask anyone who was born on the Island before the conflict of 1974 and they will tell you that the Cypriot and Turkish people lived in harmony in their respective villages. I have met Turkish people who knew my Mothers father back in the day and spoke highly of him; a friend not foe. You see harmony is all anyone in Cyprus craves. Ottoman Cyprus, British Cyprus, Byzantine Cyprus… the only word that remains firm to this day is CYPRUS.

The Goddess of love Aphrodite arose from the sea of foam to bestow this fragrant land with its title of the Island of Love; and we love just about everything and everyone! Displays of this undying affection are reflected in the songs that are written and sung when drunk with classics such as, “I will cut out the wine for you”, “I don’t want the kind of friends that want to see me hurt” and “Dibi Dibi Dibi Dai”; I still don’t know what that means (What Cypriot does?) but they are catchy tunes that we get down to and we love to get down… any excuse to shout out “Opa”!

One word that sums up an entire nation is ‘Passion’. You will find us expressing this passionate side when we speak or should I say shout!! Anyone within ear shot will contemplate calling the police for fear of another war breaking out but we raise our voices because each one of us believes wholeheartedly that we are right and will fight to the death to be heard and agreed with. There are fall outs and one not talking to the other over money usually but when the olive pips are down and an outsider threatens our kith and kin they feel with force the Cypriot wrath. The women are just as fierce as the men… especially sisters.

This jovial, Keo beer swigging Meze loving Island has its sadness too. That sadness is one of forbidden love through the ages. Religion, status and the guilt put upon these young, effervescent, dreamy good Cypriot girls meant that they married second best for fear that their parents would die from the shock of them doing what their hearts desired. I’ve heard many of these tales by women who made the best of an impossible situation and grew to respect the men that they had been forcefully betrothed too. We have it easy compared to them these days with education being the preferred course for all Cypriot children. Love comes later, is allowed and accepted.

Be under no illusion, Cyprus and Cypriots have an unwavering love for their homeland. The threat and fear that looms over this diverse and historical land will be met by its people; because as long as there are Cypriots there will always be a Cyprus.

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