The Railways of Cyprus…what?

Yes you read right! Everyone who visited or lives in Cyprus knows that we don’t have railways or we won’t have in the future. So the only thing left is the past!train_miniature

And yes indeed, we did have railways in the past, a part of our history, that even most Cypriots don’t know, especially young people.

When we visited Kakopetria village, a place that we really like and visit often, we decided to explore the villages close to Kokopetria,  in case they had something interesting to see. On our way to Evrychou village, a sign about Evrychou Railway Station, caught our attention.

So we followed the road signs and we arrived at the Cyprus Railways  Museum.

What we learned in our visit:

The Cyprus Government Railway (C.G.R.), as it was officially  known, ran from 1905 until 1951 when it closed down due to financial constraints.

The first section heading from Ammochostos to Lefkosia (Nicosia -the capital city of Cyprus) was 57km long, and officially opened for public transport on October 1905. By December 1907, a further 38km had been added, from Lefkosia to Morfou.  And by June 1915 a third, 23km long extension from Morfou to Evrychou had been added. With this section the line of C.G.R. was completed.

train_wagon_0611
A hand pump track and a freight wagon are exhibited in the yard

The Cyprus Government Railway was used in a number of ways and served both the colonial authorities and the local population.

The railway was an important conveyor of mail to and from Ammochostos harbour and carried mail overseas. It was also used for the distribution of mail throughout the island.

During World War II and post war years, the Cyprus Railways played a significant role as a prime mover of troops, stores and ammunitions from  Ammochostos harbour to the Royal Air Force airfield in Lefkosia.

With time, road transport developed at the expense of the railway. So the British Government announced the closure of the C.G.R. on December 1951.

An extension of the railway which was built to serve the Cyprus Mines Corporation operated until 1974.

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It would be very nice if we still had railways in Cyprus!

Official link:  http://www.mcw.gov.cy/mcw/DA/DA.nsf/All/E9A885735520686EC2257DE7002A8081?OpenDocument

 

 

Agapanthus flower

On a warm Summer day, this purple flower bud, which you can see in the photo below,  began to  bloom in my mom’s garden.  As always, I didn’t know the name of the flower, so I made a little search!
flower_purple_garden_closeup

Here is what I found out

The flower is called ‘Agapanthus’ which means flower of love, from the Greek agape, meaning love, and anthos, meaning flower.

Agapanthus is also commonly known as  Lily of the Nile,  African Blue Lily, and African Lily. It origins from South Africa. There are now more varieties of this genus than ever before.  Agapanthus flowers bloom in large, round clusters or umbels of blue, white or violet-blue.

It is built to withstand even the toughest summer conditions. It is a common garden plant, easily grown even in coastal areas – especially if the plant is well watered and it flowers in summer.

flower_white_agapanthusI spent a lot of time shooting the agapanthus flowers. I started capturing their progression from when they were small buds and I continued shooting them as they grew. These flowers have a slow and steady blooming progress, so it took me a few days to fully seize their evolve to their fullest.

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Sunset silhouettes

I love sunsets. The sky and the sea are painted with such great colors and it is fairly called the golden hourIt is also known as “magic hour” but in photography, the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer, we prefer the term the golden hour. 

sunset_silhouettes_1At those specific timeframes we can achieve a great effect. We can create a silhouette  of a subject which is back-lighted from the sun. In photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background.  More specifically, it is where our subject is seen as a black shape without detail against a brighter background.  This effect can be achieved with any kind of bright light source, but the most commonly used is the sun around sunrise or sunset.

sunset_at_potima_sea_0396_2

These past few days, I have been going for a walk along the sea shore during sunset and the view it’s just breathtaking! 

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The wish flower

Foreword

I am the sun in sky of green 
I am the golden summer queen
I’m the friend to every child
Because I’m strong, bright and wild.

Grown-ups cut me when they mow-
Forget they loved me years ago.
But when I’m gone, then don’t you sorrow.
I’ll be back again tomorrow. 

This is a poem about dandelion flower from the poetry book “The Winds that Come From Far Away and other poems”,  by Else Holmelund Minarik (the author of the Little Bear books).

dandelion_big_book

Dandelion is known as the wish flower. The plant flower is yellow and when the flower matures you see the white fluffy seeds. Some people say, that when you see the first dandelion of the season, you should make a wish and others say you should blow on a dandelion puff and make a wish. After that, you are supposed to say:   “Dandelion, puffs away, Make my wish come true some day.”

Refreshing lemonade

Now that summer is one month away and the weather here in Cyprus is getting warmer, it’s time for a refreshing home made soft-drink! It is ideal when you will have friends coming over your house! They will love it. This lemonade  is so simple that I  wasn’t going to post it, but sometimes simple is good.

refreshing lemonade ingedients

Ingredients:

  • 1,5L sparkling water (or soda)
  • 200ml squash lemonade (home made preferable)
  • peppermint leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 lemon
  • ice

Instructions:

refreshing lemonadeRinse well the orange, lemon and peppermint leaves and slice them into small pieces.

 

 

refreshing lemonadePour the 200ml of squash lemonade into a big pitcher with  ice, and add the sliced pieces of orange, lemon and peppermint leaves.

(If you want you can add the ice before you serve)

The last thing to do is pour over the sparkling water,  stir slightly and serve. Your refreshing lemonade is ready. Quick and easy!

refreshing_lemonade_new_1Note:

Before you serve  leave it about 15minutes in the refrigerator. If you want the lemonade  sweeter add more  lemonade squash. Also you can create your  own variations and add other fruits or syrups.

Photo frame decoupage

Decoupage is a well known technique that everyone can use and create beautiful decoration for their homes. You can use old things you have at home.  For  this craft project,  I used an old photo frame.

photo frame decoupage

Is good to know that…

Decoupage derives from the French word découper (= to cut out ). It is the art of decorating surfaces of an object by gluing colored paper cut-outs onto it. Each layer is sealed with several coats of varnishes until  the result looks like painting or inlay work. The traditional technique used 30 to 40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish.

Decoupage may seem like a new trend, but the technique actually dates back in 12th century. Actually the first origin of decoupage is supposed to be East Siberian tomb art. From Siberia, the practice came  to China,  where by the 12th century, cut out paper was being used to decorate lanterns, windows, boxes and other objects. The history of modern decoupage,  starts from  the 18th in Europe. This art form  was also known as  arte povera – poor man’s art,  because in the olden days those who couldn’t afford to hire an artist to decorate their furniture could obtain quite elegant effects with cut-outs pasted on and covered with multiple coats of varnish.

 Materials for decoupage

  1. Objects to decoupage onto like furniture, trays, boxes, photograph albums, plates, ceramics, shelving, frames, mirrors e.t.c.
  2. Pictures such as newspapers, magazines, old books, printed clip art or photos, wrapping paper, fabric, tissue paper,  paper napkins and so on.

Materials that I used:

  • raw_photo_frame_decoupage_2aold wooden photo frame
  • tissue napkins
  • white glue
  • varnish(optional)
  • paint brush
  • scissors

Additional materials for the flower:

  • orange color fabric -petals
  • green felt – leaves
  • needle
  • thread

With a  pair of scissors you cut out long pieces of colorful paper napkins. Apply the glue  on the wooden surface  with a brush and paste the cut out paper napkins. Then cover the object and pasted paper napkin with a few coats of glue to protect it.  At the end you can apply a layer of varnish.

Paper wasp

On Easter time we were invited by family friends to a village called Melini, in Cyprus, that is close to the forest. The house is built on a hill and the nature there is beautiful,  so I went for a walk around the house and I found a lot of things to shoot. Something  that attracted my attention was a wasp trying to get into his nest. So I spent a lot of time there taking as many shots  as I could from different angles. As soon as I got home  I searched  the web for more information.

Some information from Wikipedia

paper wasp
photo by karafc

Paper wasps are 1.8 to 2.5 cm long wasps that gather fiber from dead wood and plant stem, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material. Paper wasps are also sometimes called umbrella wasps, due to the distinctive design of their nests.

Unlike other wasp species, which can be very aggressive, paper wasps will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest are threatened. But if they attack their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individual.

Most wasps are beneficial in their natural habitat, and are critically important in natural biocontrol.  Paper wasps feed on nectar and other insects, including caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae. Because they are a known pollinator and feed on known garden pests, paper wasps are often considered to be beneficial by gardeners.

photo by karafc
photo by karafc

In my effort to get  better shots I had  to get closer.  I am so glad that the paper wasp  didn’t think of me as  a threat, or else I would have  been stung!

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