2001.THE DECISION YEAR.
We have for some time now been in favour of retirement to some place where the sun shines and the pace of life is more relaxing.
Many would have expected us to choose Holland, we lived there before, have many friends there and it is a boat lovers paradise, but the climate is no better than North England and the cost of living would certainly be no improvement. Apart from that, nowhere is more than a plane ride away, so we can always visit both the U.K. and Holland, from any Mediterranean hideaway. It is probably also true that friends and family can also ride the same airplanes to their holidays in the sun.
We have been looking and considering our choices for some time. France was a runner at one time, you can drive there from anywhere in Europe, the weather is good in the south, but it’s not always quite so good in the winter. Add to this the fact that the further south you go so the more the house prices rise. Spain was a possible contender, as we have friends, both Dutch and English who chose to live there so we could visit them, have “free” holidays and assess for ourselves. House prices are very reasonable still and there is no doubt that the winter weather is at least three overcoats warmer than the south of England. The cost of living is favourable and if you are careful were you buy your home, then maybe you won’t have to eat roast beef and yorkshire pudding washed down with cold English keg beer. The next possible was Crete, the most southerly of the Greek islands. This was quite a strong contender for some time, there are some lovely village houses ripe for development and even some resident English builders who know their way round the planning rules etc. We don’t quite know why Crete fell out of favor, possibly only because we fell in love with Northern Cyprus which is still as yet undeveloped, a bit like the Greek islands used to be before the tourists.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is still split off from the South of the island, only recognised by Turkey and still has trade and travel embargoes, in place since 1974, which hinder economic development. The Greek Cypriots in the south and the Turkish Cypriot population in the north are actively trying to find a solution, which brings the island together again. Should a solution be found then it is probable that entry into the E.U. will be the next step. Such a step will change the entire economic position of Northern Cyprus and probably bring greater and much needed, prosperity to the people. We have had two previous holidays in Northern Cyprus and found that apart from the advantages of weather and cost of living, the people were relaxed and friendly and made you very welcome in their land. A detailed information source on Northern Cyprus is www.northcyprusonline.com there you will see that it is a Mediterranean island that has history, and sunshine, and blue sea, and magnificent mountains, in short, a place to relax and enjoy life.
This was to be a holiday, – but as we had spent considerable time at home searching the websites of available properties, and in fact used the facilities of one agent to book accommodation, car hire etc. we both new in advance that if the right property was available, then we were going to make the big decision.
Unwin Estates were very forthcoming with information about how to buy in T.R.N.C. what the legal situation was, the banking rules etc. and we later checked this out with two other English Estate Agents and a firm of solicitors. Armed with this information we arranged to select some interesting properties and a day of viewing. No different to buying in the U.K. really, apart from the permanent sunshine, the prices, the glorious views……….we were sold on the idea. Especially when Mark Unwin took us to a recently built bungalow by The Australian Construction Company.
Suddenly the decision was made. All we had to do now was select a plot, from those that the builder had available. Dennis, the owner of the building company, took us around his available building sites. We discussed availability of water, very important over there, access to the village shops and the nearest main town of Kyrenia, which even has a supermarket. Dennis took us to some other houses, which were being built, so that we could see the quality of build, the various styles, some on stilts, some bungalows and nearly all with deep blue pools.
We had a couple of days of driving around ourselves looking at the building sites we had seen, being nosy around the houses that they were working on and finally decided on the village of Lapta. Dennis had bought a parcel of land, with beautiful mountain views, surrounded by citrus and olive groves, about 500 meters from the sea and on which he had planning permission for four villas, each on a third of an acre. Three of the parcels of land had already been sold, so we bought the last one. This is Our Site, not much to see really except some sand and our hire car, but watch this space!
Of course we went back and took more photos of the road from the village, at least I think you call it a road, and then turning 180 degrees, the rest of the road which shows the remainder of the site and the sea in the distance. From the bottom of the plot you can see The Whole Site – for 4 Villas and from what will be the back of our garden, The citrus trees and then our view of the mountains.
Finally we decided for the house on stilts, as you can build underneath, a large garage, a storeroom and a utility and second shower facility, useful when you come out of the pool. We also decided that by leaving half of the lower floor as covered terrace you had a shady place to snooze on hot days. A man has got to have his siesta.