Community member Molly Kate (@mollykatephoto) was able to travel to Northern Cyprus in late February 2020, before news about Covid-19 broke out and lockdowns were imposed all over the world.
In this edition of Around the World in Analogue, she shares wonderful sights in Northern Cyprus taken with a Canon A2e, surprising and unforgettable experiences, and important tips for travelling in the Turkish republic.
As we were leaving in the airport, waiting for the plane outside to take us home, people started watching the news and that was the first we heard of it. Of course, shortly after we flew home, offices and everyone were told to go home for a couple weeks, little did we know it would be a couple of years and counting.
We wanted to visit Northern Cyprus to see both sides of the island and both cultures on each side which are so different. The British/Greek south and the Turkish north. There are many historical sites and landscapes to visit in Northern Cyprus to learn about their history and explore the landscape. Quiet hilly villages, mountains, seascapes, etc.
This roll was taken in Northern Cyprus (Turkish side), which is another world from Southern Cyprus (Greek & British side), yet only a thin debatable line splits the two. In the search for a toilet on a drive along the coast, we stumbled into this luxury hotel next to a dodgy underground Casino. Deciding it was too nice not to hang about a bit, we shared a milkshake at the bar and scouted the outdoor pool area. It was off-season and tourists were hard to find so the hotel felt empty. We had the whole lounge to ourselves.
Entering the Casino to see what it was like, I had to leave my Canon A2e behind as no cameras were allowed under the surface. The hotel was a stark contrast to our next random stumble which was an ocean-side trailer community. We had pulled the car up next to the shore looking for a place to have a picnic, not realizing the circle of old campers next to us was full of kids, parents, dogs, laughter and loud conversation.
Not one minute after getting out of the car, a couple of dogs came over to us, tails wagging. Friendly faces came out of one home and handed us a bunch of dog treats.
Molly has these tips for anyone who's planning to see and experience Northern Cyprus themselves:
Firstly, do not follow Google maps to the Turkish border blindly. We did this and ended up driving down an abandoned pot-hole filled road that led to an old barricade of cement blocks and barbed wire in the middle of an expansive field. After backing down the road painfully slowly, we manually found our way back to a more main road which led us to the border crossing.
When we reached the border crossing, we didn't know that we had to purchase additional insurance solely for the north side. So the border police informed us that we had to pay extra insurance. But there was only one person who could do this and she was at home! It was confusing, but the border police were very nice and friendly. The staff member who took care of the insurance ended up coming down to the crossing station, taking our payment in cash, providing us with a certificate and sending us on our way, very late at night! We also learned that Google maps does not work north of the border. You can use it manually, but it won't be able to give directions.
Also, the traffic can get heavy on the main road along the coast so if you can, avoid driving during rush hours. People are generally friendly, but it is much less touristy than the southern part of Cyprus.
Because of its climate, Molly notes that Northern Cyprus is a great location for film photographers to take photos.
Film loves the sun and the sun loves Northern Cyprus! There are lots of blues, tans, oranges, yellows and greens so films that work well with these colors would be great.
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