We sit in the mud… and reach for the stars (Ivan Turgenev)…literally that is!
Note to reader: This blog is not about an airport…however, I hope it brings the same comedic relief as my airport stories!
We found Cyprus to be an amazing place! To really appreciate the island, you need a car to explore the many ruins and castle that dot the mountainside. We found renting a car to be seamless and efficient. Our Atlas Global flight from Istanbul was two hours late arriving but the rent car official waited patiently for our flight to arrive. We were supposed to land at 11:50pm but arrived at 2:00am. I would highly recommend Pacific Rental if you find yourself in North Cyprus.
Because we had a car, we were always on the move and one particular destination I wanted to visit was the Karpas National Park and the Cape, which marked the end of the island. So on Monday, January 2, we embarked on what we thought would be a two-hour car ride. The trip was progressing smoothly until our google navigator lost connection with the satellite and we missed an important turn. At first she recalculated and told us we would arrive 15 minutes after our original time. However, we found ourselves deep in a rural Cypriot town. At one point, we found ourselves driving down a road in the middle of an olive grove. It should have been at that point that we reassessed the situation and found a new way out. However, we continued along the highlighted route.
There is a great episode of The Office that makes fun of following the GPS. In this particular episode, Michael, the Regional Manager, drives the car into a pond because he believes that the GPS is telling him to take a right. While our car didn’t end up in a pond, it ended up in the second worst thing…mud! The Office GPS Episode (YouTube)
We came to a cemetery in the town of Sazlikoy. Once past the cemetery, the paved road turned into a muddy, pothole ridden road. When we approached the road, I initially told myself to find an alternative route because I have watched too many movies where small cars are bogged down in mud. I kept thinking, the last thing I want to do is get stuck in a random Cypriot town where probably no one speaks English.
The mud should have been our indication to turn back and find an alternative route. To give ourselves credit, we discussed the situation for several minutes. There was a back and forth of what to do and whether to turn back. Sadly, we convinced ourselves to power forward in the smallest car in the world. And into the mud we went. My last words were…”Ah, Sheila, I really don’t want to get stuck.”
And just as expected, the car leaped into the mud and settled in for the long haul. And we were stuck. I was so furious that I thought this tiny little car could barrel its way through the mud with no problems. At one point I had to calm myself because I was starting to overheat. I knew that the only way we were going to get out of this muddier predicament was to get out and push. I wasn’t initially gun ho about this idea but Sheila kept chiming in that we should get out. Now it’s important to note that while the day was sunny and mild, it was still winter and putting my foot in muddy water was not how I saw the day planning out. I decided to get out and push with Sheila manning the driver’s seat.
So out I went into the mud and began pushing the car with Sheila following my commands to steer the car out of the mud. Luckily for the us, this small car was easy to rock back and forth. At one point, I thought that I should push from the front. But I was concerned in all my commands that maybe the car was in drive and Sheila would run me over. And in all the excitement and panic, she would overreach and continue to press me in the mud. There is a funny video that we have with me asking “is it in “R”? and making an R in the air. The whole ordeal took us about 15 minutes and only a few splashes of mud on my clothes. However, my feet were caked in mud.
It was an awful ordeal as it was not how I wanted to spend our day in the Cyprus country side but it has given us a hilarious detour on our vacation…one that brings us to laugh each time we think about it and watch the video.
It turns out that we never made it to the cape and the donkeys. We took the northern route that actually led us to more mud (where Sheila demanded that we turn around and not continue on) and a few cool Byzantine churches. The Cape and donkeys were on the southern route through the Karpas National Park. In the end, we witnessed an amazing sunset along the north coast of the island and discovered the Ayios Philon ruins. The church of Ayios Philon was reconstructed in the 10th century on the foundations of an earlier 5th basilica. The Byzantine church was abandoned in the 8th century because of the constant Arab raids, but was rebuilt at the turn of the millennia.
The day was a reminder that life is not about the destination but about the journey…and oh what a journey we had that day.