Contrasts again. The richly self-indulgent road south of the line turns into a dusty careworn main road on the Turkish Cypriot side. No Starbucks, Top Shop or McDonalds to be found here. Stepping off the main drag we are in a monstrous slum of poverty and wasteland.
The once garish colours are now reduced to a uniform greyness; a 1970s monochrome war torn news report from the BBC frozen in time. The roads are strewn with detritus and weeds grow uninterrupted up through the asphalt and concrete, cocking a snook at man’s feeble attempt to control nature.
It’s a most startling and incongruous sight. In fact I found it impossible to suppress a slightly hysterical giggle at what had happened to this old monument to Catholicism. (During later sight-seeing forays I saw other, similarly changed, monuments of Christian worship, all of which triggered this irrepressible giggle.)
Famagusta is in the north of the island. Well, most of it is. Quite a large part of it is now sectioned off with barbed wire walls behind which can be seen the eerie no-man’s land of skeletal hotels, tumble-weed roads and literal urban decomposition…
When you’ve lived the life of a gypsy, on a boat, in southern Turkey for a couple of years and have had scant access to the delights of western commercialism in one of its purest forms, it’s a little disconcerting to find yourself in a shopping mall… at Carrefour… next to Debenhams and round the corner from Ikea.
It’s an exciting time for the manager of Delta Marina, who has doubled its berths to 80 in the last few years. With the borders between northern and southern Cyprus now open, hope for relaxation of trade restrictions and loosening of prohibited areas, the cruising scene is set to expand very quickly. “The Minister of Trade [who, incidentally, spoke at the rally reception we attended] has stated that tourism is Northern Cyprus’s number one priority. Key to this is sailing, which is one reason why they are building a new marina up the coast from us”.