Wood Sculptor in the Northen of Cyprus: “The Secret Box shop” in Kyrenia

If you will have the chance to visit Kyrenia, in the Northen side of Cyprus, i recommend you to stop by “The Secret Box Shop”. It’s a small shop,  in the centre of Kyrenia. Quite magical and typical. Inside you will find a sculptor. I really would love to remember his name. He gave me his card but i’m afraid i’ve lost it in my journeys. He creates and sells his hand carved wooden boxes with secrets opening mechanisms.

secret box shop

He made all these boxes. Some of them have more than 18/17 mechanisms are are almost impossible to open.  Believe me, when i entered, he gave me a box and told me: “open it”….

wood toys

After 30 minutes i was still trying to open that box… and i could not. His boxes are quite different from those you commonly find in the Maghreb Area: The mechanisms here are more precise, and he really gives an attention to the detail. What he does really have a soul.

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He explained to me that he comes from a long family tradition of wood sculptors. Some of the mechanisms are so complicated that you still do not figure out how it works, even after 5/6 times he shows you. I was fascinated.

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While he was speaking to me he offered us some tea. I really felt the good spirit of the people living there. People from Cyprus are just lovely. They are the most gentle people i have ever met. They really help you, offer you what they have in order to share. I was really touched by all this kindness that is completely lost in big cities like Paris.

 

 

Cyprus. A travel through a painful history. PART ONE

IMG_0625It took me some time to organize my mind…and figure out a way to express what i felt visiting Cyprus Island. I’ve been traveling to Larnaka last week, and i had the chance to visit a big part of the Island. And it’s wonderful. Not only for the people or the landscape: you feel a pulsing sense of history. Something stuck in time.

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Cyprus is not only a “vacation island”. It’s not Greek. It’s considered to be a part of Europe but it’s still out of the Shengen area and you feel to be really at the borders of the occidental world. Just some history: On 16 August 1960, Cyprus attained independence after the Zürich and London Agreement between the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey. On 15 July 1974, 14 years later,  the Greek military junta under Dimitrios Ioannides carried out a coup d’état in Cyprus, to unite the island with Greece.

Five days later, the Turkish army invaded the island, citing a right to intervene to restore the constitutional order from the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. This justification has been rejected by the United Nations and the international community.

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Turkish and Turkish/Cyprus Flag next to the Check Point in Nikosia

The Turkish air force began bombing Greek positions in Cyprus, and hundreds of paratroopers were dropped in the area between Nicosia and Kyrenia. International pressure led to a ceasefire, and by then 37% of the island had been taken over by the Turks and 180,000 Greek Cypriots had been evicted from their homes in the north.

At the same time, around 50,000 Turkish Cypriots moved to the areas under the control of the Turkish Forces and settled in the properties of the displaced Greek Cypriots.(*)

turkish frontier

People there is torned up by the euro and global crisis. It remembered me about Italian people: very hard to unify, everybody has a different point of view. A lot of persons from the south considers themselves as Greeks (at least very linked to them), others cannot stand Greeks. Some are mad at UK’s dominion and their way to maintain Great Britain’s power there, others would like to have more help from them. One thing is sure: there is something deeply broken, marked by the deaths and war of 1974.

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A lot of persons still cry thinking to what they have endured in 1974 and dream to have back their homes.

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Even if there is not a wall like in Berlin, their Capital, Nikosia (or Lefkosia) is cut in two. The airport of the capital lies on the buffer zone and cannot be use since then.

You don’t feel a willing to fight. On the contrary, it appears that some improvements were done and there is a desire, at least from the politicians, to push to a unification of the island. (maybe because many are interested in the the largest gas deposit found in the triangle Israel-Egypt-South of Cyprus?….if yes, they will do this probably not respecting the population’s choice).

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I was impressed to see that in a Britain military base near Larnaca, there was a petrol power plan: UK give to the south of Cyprus electric energy. At least a good part of it.

cyprus map

In a part of the Island, the road belongs to the UK, and on side you have Cyprus, and on the other side the Turkish part. Watchtowers on both side, and to draw the borders just black stakes all along the road.

Turkish monument

In all this unresolved matters, you have tourists, especially from Russia and the Balkans, visiting and enjoying the sea. They go on the Turkish side to buy expensive copies of Occidental Fashion Brands (Copies of Louis Vuitton bags, Chanel, and so on…) and they don’t seem to care about the rest. I felt very uncomfortable in Kyrenia  looking to these shops selling copies, and tourists concentrated more to find the best bag instead of looking to the Venetians walls, and all the history that Europe left these during the middle age.

(*) Datas taken from Wikipedia.

 

 

 

My first post “not-at-home”

You’ll probably make fun of me but there’s a first time for everyone. I’m in a Starbucks coffee in the center of Paris right now. I’m realizing right now that i always wrote from my desk at home. And it’s quite different writing from here, in the heart of Paris, sat around so many people. The coffee isn’t bad at all. And i’m italian, so i tell you, it’s not an easy thing to say.

It’s a rainy day, and i feel very sad. I argued. And to be alone in a foreign city after arguing with the most important person in your life makes you feel… well… pretty bad.

But at the same time, i think that everyone should experience what i’m living now.

When you leave alone in a foreign place, you can’t tell yourself all the lies that you usually tell to yourself when you live your [often boring] everyday-routine. It also helps you see what is normally around you with a good distance.

When you see things from a good distance, you can have a full-view of it, analyse them more globally, somehow with mess “heart” and more reason. And sometimes Reason is necessary to show you the correct way to face some problems.

I feel that i forgot what love is. Passion? i guess i lost it too, at least with other human beings.

Sad, isn’t it?

May life always treat you gently.

Traveling around my beloved city: Paris part 1

I said many times that i grew up between France and Italy. So i would like to share with the world these pictures i always keep next to me. It often happens that nostalgia just takes all of me. I’m always divided in two: when i’m in Rome, i miss Paris, and when i’m in Paris well… i miss Rome. Let’s start by the Quartier Latin, on the left side of the Seine.

Place Saint-Michel, in the fifth arrondissement. This is saint mikael, on the top of the Fountain.

Place Saint-Michel, in the fifth arrondissement. This is ST Mikael, on the top of the Fountain.

Have you ever heard about the Luxembourg’s Gardens? It’s always on the Rive Gauche; The park is the garden of the French Senate, which is itself housed in the Luxembourg Palace. It’s a big Garden in the heart of Paris. The second of Paris: the biggest one are the Tuilleries, in Spring it is magnificent:

Jardins du Luxembourg

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While i was coming back home (i always lived next to the Louvre, in the 1st arrondissement) i just saw this old car next to a bistrot.

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Let’s go back to the right side of the Seine. I’ve mad some captures on the Pont des Arts the “Bridge of Arts”: it’s a famous pedestrian bridge that connect “the square court” of the Louvre to the Left Side of Paris. Do not ask me why, but today “Le pont des Arts” is completely full of lovers who hung up padlocks to demonstrate their love.

Le Pont des Arts

Le Pont des Arts

The view from Le Pont des Arts by Night. You can se Notre Dame Far away.

The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum.  The Pyramid was commissioned by the President of France François Mitterrand in 1984, it was designed by the architect I. M. Pei.

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If you love Photography and the games of glass reflections, take your time to look at the Pyramid during the sunset.

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Some Street art in the 2nd Arrondissement.Tulipes