Ergates, Cyprus part 1
My weekend in Ergates started in the Starbucks store in Nicosia. I met up with my friend Nicolina, who had just arrived from New York where she worked for the Cyprus delegation in the United Nations.
She´s a special friend I met on a 6 month traveling experience, volunteering in 19 different cities in 7 countries around the world with the non-profit Up With People.
Like other “uppies” as well ourselves, participants of the Up With People program, we talked for hours, in between sips of hot chai tea and bites of cheesecake – New York style, please.
She filled me in on her great experiences while in NY – being at the Rockefeller Center when Obama won the elections, everyday work at the UN and the over caffeinated life in NY, donut on the side, please.
I filled in on the transitions I’ve been living from the US to Spain to Cyprus. (Sigh).
For lunch, we drove from Nicosia, to her hometown Ergates, where her parents live and she keeps coming to and from constantly. She beats me in the moving around the world department.
Nicolina´s mom had made typical Cypriot food, which started with Greek salad (I know, Greek salad is typical Cypriot food… we must respect each country’s “anthropology”). Then we had “macaronia”, which looks like lasagna but made with penne and minced meat, with a creamy béchamel sauce, topped with cheese. Delicious!
We spent the afternoon like good old Cypriots, playing backgammon and eating (yes, Cypriots feed you a lot like Greeks!) small savory pastries stuffed with olives (home made with olives from her garden) and with haloumi – traditional Cypriot cheese.
Continuing the cultural immersion, we went for dinner in a Cypriot tavern in downtown Nicosia with live music. It was truly a gastronomic feast!
First came large wood boards filled with a variety of cheese, alongside Greek salad (omnipresent), tsaziki (seasoned yogurt sauce with thin cucumber slices), tahina (sesame seed paste). All accompanied by lot’s of bread. Then came the traditional souvlaki – meat variety grilled on a skewer.
While I indulged on all that food, with Cypriot wine, of course, Nicolina´s friends entertained me with a great demonstration of typical Greek/Cypriot dance, all in a circle, with their arms on each others´ shoulder, crossing their legs over going round and round; with white napkins flying all over the place – at least no plates were broken!