Androula and I set off for Lefkosia early on Monday morning with a list of people to visit. Up in Treis Elies it has been pretty chilly especially at night, I wish I’d brought my hot water bottle and a few more warm clothes! Down on the low lands though the temperature is about 10 degrees warmer. It was a sunny day and a pleasant drive. Our first stop was my Uncle’s house to collect four boxes of my books, he is kindly storing them for us. After a pleasant turn around his garden where he is growing all manner of vegetables and flowers in pots, we set off again. The next stop was a large bookshop Solonion, one of the first to be established in Lefkosia over 30 years ago with a very large selection of both Greek and English books and amongst them is ‘Androula’s Kitchen’. After a brief chat with the owner we set off again to park in the centre of town so that we could walk to the Turkish side over the Green Line.
By now we were both hungry and in need of lunch so we headed for the Buyuk Han built by the Ottomans in 1572 as a hostlery for travellers, it’s now used as a place of trade for souvenirs and local crafts as well as a few restaurants. We headed for one that Androula frequents and ordered a sort of kofta with salad and rice followed by bourekia tis saatches, delicious.
We made a few more stops one of them was at a friend’s house in Lefkosia which is an old house built about 100 years ago and the owners have restored it beautifully, re-discovering some of the original features. This was a delight for me to visit as I have long wished to see inside one of these traditional town houses. Once inside the front door you are in the ‘iliakos’ which is a corridor through the middle of the house leading to the courtyard garden. There are rooms either side and around the courtyard, there is an open veranda area which is a cool, pleasant place to sit and acts as an outside room. The main room is large and features a huge stone archway as does the veranda area, long windows are either side of the room making this an airy light space. Other rooms line the sides of the corridor acting as bedrooms and studio areas. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to not only see inside the house but learn about the process of restoration. I have taken so many photos of dilapidated buildings it was a refreshing change to see the restored ones. After a few more meetings we next visited another old restored house in a different area of Lefkosia which used to be a village and now is connected to Lefkosia. This house has been added to with new modern areas that are very sympathetic with the design and has a very contemporary feel. This house has a very attractive garden with old date palms in the corner. Now it was time to wend our way back up into the mountains.
We started off in sunshine but soon encountered a violent thunderstorm with heavy rain which turned into huge hailstones. We luckily escaped the hail stones but they lay like a sheet of ice on the road and it was fortunate that another car had gone before us making a pathway in the ice. With the very windy roads and the dark and ice it was a tense journey home but thanks to Androula’s experience in such conditions we arrived safely.