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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Reading about Cyprus

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. We do this in a bid to be less polluting and tackle climate change while at the same time keeping a global outlook. Lots of my elder daughter's friends have family links to Cyprus - I've seen their holiday snaps, but still hanker to know more about what this island is like. One way of finding out more is to get reading. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).

Cyprus – allegedly the birthplace of Aphrodite – is probably better known as a tourist hotspot or being divided. At least that's what I knew... until I read a new book which doesn't tackle the politics, but does give a sense of what it was like to live there during the 1980s.

The Green Line Divide by Z Vally.
The Green Line Divide by Z Vally is a small book about a burgeoning romance between student Alexis and a UN blue beret from Sweden, Sven. Politics doesn’t really feature in the story. Instead the author concentrates on Alexis’ experiences trying to earn enough to survive and retake her college exams. And she does, thanks to her ability to do cleaning jobs. Luckily Cyprus is blessed with a lovely climate so much of the story takes place as Alexis cycles to jobs or meets friends to discuss their work hiccups during their time off.

I’ve always loved travel stories – even people talking about their holidays – and the new quantities of books arriving as a result of self-publishing in print and on e-readers give us all plenty of new ways of looking at the world from people who (without being rude to Z here) are more normal, more like you and me than the English Literature graduates from Oxbridge.  That said The Green Line Divide has some rather odd English constructions, so if you are a stickler for correct grammar then it’s not going to suit you.

Another drawback is that what the author thought was funny I didn't. Despite this, the book still offers insight into an adventurous young woman’s life as she gets to know herself and Cyprus - often by backpacking around it - during the 1980s. There are plenty of allusions to real life - dusty roads, warm sunshine and grilled hallumi; not much time spent as a tourist looking at ancient ruins. Towards the end Alexis and her boyfriend quarrel over what to drink, but then both end up independently choosing mythos served in frosted glasses - surely that was a clue that they were made for each other?

Cyprus basics
  • In 1960 Cyprus gained it’s independence from the UK
  • 1974 – Greek and Turkish clash led to a divided country. There is now a buffer zone (known as the Green Line) between the Greek part in the South and the Turkish part in the North. This is protected by UN peacekeepers.
  • The capital is Nicosia (this is also divided)
  • Population: 1.41 million
  • Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and a member of the EU.
  • The Trodos Mountains have nine UNESCO heritage sites. Throughout the island are many important, ancient ruins.

The Green Line Divide: romance, travel and turmoils by Z Vally, available on Amazon.


Z Vally said...

From the Author:

Nicola, Many Thanks for your comments.

It says: "That said The Green Line Divide has some rather odd English constructions, so if you are a stickler for correct grammar then it’s not going to suit you."

Author's comments: The book was edited in the USA, four times round.

Enjoy reading it !

Cheers, Z Vally, London, UK.

nicola said...

Thanks Z for your comment. I think that's a very fair point - sometimes English and American feel very different, no doubt I was confused by the comments about the character Alexis having UK and Cypriot family inks. It never crossed my mind that this was American. Interestingly one of my own books was v criticised for the same thing (grammar!) on Amazon.com but not on Amazon.co.uk Readers eh! Anyway good luck. Nicola

Z Vally said...

From the author of - The Green Line Divide:
Romance, Travel, and Turmoils.

ACROPOLIS LINDOS – one of the ancient ruins
of Rhodes Island (Greece).

As you will see it is lengthy and one has to mention all the features to give a clear picture. This is the reason why I left it out as I felt it may bore the reader. I researched on it, using the internet.

The archaeological remains found inside and around the Acropolis of Lindos reveal the wealth of this ancient town. Part of its worth-visiting monuments is a Doric 4th-century temple devoted to Athena Lindia, where people used to worship their patron goddess with offerings and sacrifices. It was built on the remains of another temple.

The Propylaea (the gateways) of the Sanctuary consists of a staircase and five door openings. You will have the chance to see the relief of an ancient warship, called trireme, at the foot of the staircase. Apart from these, there is also a Roman temple dedicated to the emperor Diocletian and a Hellenistic wall that surrounds the Acropolis.

All these ancient sites are protected by a Medieval Castle, built in the early 14th century by the Knights of St John. Two towers of the castle are well-preserved till today. Outside the castle, on the southwest side of the wall, there used to be an ancient theatre. Today the only remains of it are some rows of seats, part of the auditorium. It is believed that the theatre could have hosted 1,800 spectators. From this position the sweeping views of the Aegean will take your breath away…

The Italians occupied Rhodes island from 1912-1945. The site today belongs to the Greek Ministry of Culture and much work is being done, by both Greek and foreign archaeologists, to protect this monument.

Real Life experience can be seen here:

Megan McCoig said...

Really great post!

živilė minutkaitė said...

great blog!

Z Vally said...

From author:


The scenery from the top of the Acropolis is really beautiful with white roofed houses of Lindos and the surrounding bay of St Paul. Also, part of the movie, Guns of Navarone 1961, was shot around Lindos Acropolis and the bay below. The bay is quiet and impressive with the view of the rock used for the film. This has been mentioned in the book too. Cheers.

Z Vally said...

from Nicola's post: "I was confused by the comments about the character Alexis having UK and Cypriot family links."

from Author: Sorry, I just saw this and hopefully this will clarify this....... Alexis was born in the UK and she is Anglo-Cypriot. Her mother is English and her father is Greek Cypriot, both living in the UK. Alexis goes to Cyprus to a British college and then adventure follows with a Swedish United Nations officer. Her parents too travel to Cyprus at one point for a special reason.