In the time that passed since my last visit to Cyprus, I had a couple more trips overseas, and with COVID-19 restrictions now a thing of the past, they had gone without a hitch. I felt I could now properly plan for this, and see what tours were available for North Cyprus - the half of the country I’d not yet seen. I found the best options all started from the Turkish part of Nicosia, the Cypriot capital also known as Lefkoşa in the north.
Once I’d realised this, I booked an apartment very close to the ‘Green Line’ and the UN border crossing at Ledra Street. It’d help make my arrival for the tour that little bit easier, not knowing how long a crossing could take. Information I could find on the internet seemed to suggest it could be something like five to ten minutes, so perhaps not too bad.
The best of the tours would only be bookable on a Thursday, so it dictated when I’d need to arrive, and how soon after that I could travel to Limassol. I decided that Friday would be a good chance to see any sights remaining in Nicosia itself, and to take the bus to Limassol as soon as I could after that.
I decided to leave the planning at that, and for Limassol would just take each day as it came. However, I didn’t book flights until the month before travel, and between initially looking at flights and booking them, most flights had sold out, and the ones that remained were double in price. If I wanted a flight to Larnaca at a decent time, then it’d mean spending over £300, whereas a flight arriving at 23:05 would be just under £200.
The best option was to fly from Gatwick using easyJet, and there were just three seats left by this point! It’d get me into Paphos instead which would double my travel time on the other side, but at least I’d arrive early enough to not just check-in to my accommodation on time, but to also get some food in the evening after a quick bit of sightseeing - this would also save time on the Friday when I’d need to travel between cities.
I did however manage to make a mistake. I’d misread “1 cabin bag and 1 large cabin bag” to mean that the large one was a bag for the hold. I didn’t spot this however until checking in, so had to pay the extra to have hold luggage for both flights. Expensive mistake, but sometimes these things happen even when checking, and double checking the details.
To get to Nicosia from Paphos airport, the cheapest option is the airport shuttle, but sadly I was arriving slightly too late for this to be of use. Instead I booked an expensive taxi from the airport to the Kipros Accommodation, and one for the shorter journey from Limassol to Paphos airport which of course is cheaper. They do operate an airport shuttle from Limassol too, but on the day in question the times it would be available were no good. I felt paying the extra would be better than getting up early and then waiting around for many hours in an airport.
For getting between Nicosia and Limassol, I’d use the Intercity bus that I’d used previously for getting from Paphos to Limassol, and from Limassol to Larnaca. The travel time for this would be just under two hours, so the morning would be seeing sights, and then the afternoon would be travelling and picking up my race number. Maybe after all this time to plan, my plans will go smoothly. Two weeks today, I'll find out as I head down to London to stay near the airport ready for that early start.