He knows no fear!

Archive for February, 2012

Scotland Referendum: What is it?

The Scottish Government intends to hold a referendum to the Scottish people on the issue of independence from the United Kingdom in the autumn of 2014. The Monkey Party has so far not spoken about this important issue for the electorates. However, today for the first time, we at the Monkey Party (which is the fastest growing political party in the UK) are now going to speak about our views on the intended referendum.

We are the fastest growing political party in Scotland.

We at the Monkey Party will never back a rival political party and therefore we will not form an alliance with any other political party. We do not support the SNP on a “yes” vote nor do we support the Conservatives on a “no” vote instead we at the Monkey Party asks all voters to vote “maybe” at the referendum.

The truth is we politicians don’t know what we are doing! So we are supporting a “maybe” vote!

We ask all our supporters to vote “maybe” on this important referendum.

Thank you and please vote “maybe” in 2014.

The Monkey Party secretary

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My trip to Cyprus in 2010 – part 5

Today I was going to Troodos Mountains for hiking.

These mountains are the biggest mountain range in Cyprus with it highest peak at 1,952 metres being Mount Olympus.

The walk was the 7km circular Artemis Trail around Mount Olympus. The starting point is 300 m from the junction between the road to Olympus mountain peak and Troodos village.

The green path was the the route I was taking around the summit of Mount Olympus.

The walk starts in a Black Pine forrest.

The walk began with woods that gave shade from the sun.

A military radar installation is at the summit of Mount Olympus and therefore the general public are not able to go to the actual summit.

The radar domes are known as the golf balls.

These installations are very important to the British.

The golf balls can be seen from far away.

Nine Byzantine churches and one monastery in the mountains form as a World Heritage Site as listed by UNESCO but they were further down the mountains for me to see that day.

This trek was hard going in the scorching heat of a summer Cyprus.

Coming out of the Black Pine Forest, the path become very exposed to the sun.

The view was amazing, I was able to see as far as Limassol bay.

A ski resort on Mount Olympus offer several slopes during the winter season.

The ski resort is very small with just seven runs.

The ski resort has one chair lift and three T-bar lifts, and seven ski runs.

I have never been sking. I want to give it a try one day.

On a clear day, it is possible to see most of Cyprus from the top of the Troodos Mountains.

I could see the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

After a hard day trek, I went back to my appartment for a bath before hitting Ayia Napa and the nightclubs.

I was very excited that it was Christmas 2 eve and tomorrow was to be Christmas 2 day.

Santa was enjoying his summer holidays.

Christmas 2 is celebrated on June the 25th and is the a celebration of Christmas when it is hot and sunny unlike the December Christmas Day which is cold and miserable. I was glad that Christmas 2 is celebrated in Cyprus on June the 25th!

After Christmas 2 Day, I flew back to the UK as my Colonel wanted me back for our summer training exercise.

For more information about the Troodos Mountains please visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troodos_Mountains

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Olympus_(Cyprus)


My trip to Cyprus in 2010 – part 4

Today I was going to drive to Paphos on the West coast of Cyprus. The town of Paphos is a World Heritage Site listed with UNESCO.

In Greco-Roman times Paphos was the island’s capital. The remains of the governor’s palace with it mosaics is the main tourist attraction here.

However, today I was going the see the castle, the harbour and the Tombs of the Kings.

The castle was on the harbour edge.

When I got here, it just started to rain! Rain in Cyprus in the middle of the summer!?!

The castle was just next to the harbour.

Apparently the British used this castle to imprision people!

The harbour was used by the local fishermen.

Despite the rain, I went to a wee walk around the harbour.

The harbour was very nice for a wee walk.

It was very quiet on the quayside.

So that is where I locked my bike to eight years ago!

After a coffee on the quayside, I went to the Tombs of the Kings.

These underground tombs gave me the creeps.

The tombs have been known and casually explored for centuries but it was in the 1970s to 1980s that they were excavated.

It was late afternoon when I arrived and very few tourists at this time.

The tombs date back to the 4th century BC.

The site is quite large with about 100 tombs in all in 8 or so complexes.

It is thought the tombs are the burial sites of Paphitic aristocrats.

This was someones grave!?!

The tombs were carved into the rocks.

The tombs was carved into the rocks by hand.

However some of the tombs were feature Greek style Doric columns.

This tomb must had been for someone very important or rich!

It was nice looking at these tombs but one must remember these tombs are actual burial places.

I went underground in one of the tombs.

I had decided that I am going to write a letter to Edinburgh City Council asking for the construction to begin of my very own tomb to be built on the grounds of Edinburgh Castle. Afterall, I am a very important cuddly toy.

My own tomb will be constructed like this in the centre of Edinburgh for all to see.

The next day I was going to be trekking in Troodos Mountains.

For more information about Paphos, Paphos Castle and the Tombs of the Kings please visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paphos

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paphos_Castle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tombs_of_the_Kings_(Paphos)

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/cyprus/paphos-tombs-of-the-kings.htm

To be continued….


My trip to Cyprus in 2010 – part 3

I was well into exploring Cyprus by now and so I decided to rent a car for four days so I could get around to see the sight and sounds of the island.

My first day of the car rental peroid, I went to Kolossi Castle. This castle was a stronghold from the Crusades peroid.

The Kolossi Castle is a few kilometers outside the city of Limassol.

The castle held great strategic importance.

The castle was built in 1454 by the Hospitallers.

The castle was impressive.

Next to the castle was a small chapel that was locked then a local priest invited me inside this charming chapel.

This little chapel was just next to the castle.

Afterwards I then went to Kolossi village to see the village square and church.

The church in Kolossi village.

After visiting Kolossi, I then went to the ruin city of Kourion which is located on south shore of Cyprus near Limassol. The city is believed to have been destroyed in the 4th century by a number of earthquakes.

The most spectacular site at Kourion is the Greco-Roman theatre that has been completely restored.

The theatre has been restored for open air musical and theatrical performances.

The restored theatre has modern speakers and sound equipment installed which makes photography difficult to get a sense of history.

No performance was on when I had visited.

The International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama has this theatre as one of it venues.

Me in the theatre, I was singing and scared all the other tourists away.

My foster auntie whom I was travelling with made me do a singing performance which she had video recorded *blushs*.

It was a hot day.

The ruin city has a number of attractions such as the public baths, the mosiacs, the House of Gladiators and more.

The public baths at Kourion.

These chambers produced the steam for the public baths.

It was windy and my hair blew in my face at lot!

There is a lot of walking when visiting these ruins.

Me admiring the ruins of Kourion.

The whole city has beautiful floor mosaics.

These mosaics are thousands of years old!

Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored stone.

The House of Gladiators Mosiac.

The House of Gladiators has my favourite mosiacs in Cyprus but that because I like fighting warriors images. Most people say the mosiacs in Paphos are better than Kourion.

They were very impressive.

The next attraction on my list was Paphos and the Tombs of the Kings.

For more information about Kolossi and Kourion please visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolossi_Castle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kourion

To be continued….


My trip to Cyprus in 2010 – part 2

Today I was going to the capital city of Nicosia, the last divided capital city in the world. Also known locally as Lefkosia.

Since 1974, the city has been divided by the Greek South and the Turkish North. A UN contingent keeps the two sides apart in the what is now called the UN buffer zone or the Green Line as it is known locally as the orginal 1974 ceasefire line was drawn on the map by a British Officer with a green pen. The northern part of the city functions as the capital of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a disputed breakaway region whose independence is recognized only by Turkey, and which the rest of the international community considers as occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

Nicosia has many Orthodox Churches.

The Orthodox Church is commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church and is the second largest Christian denomination in the world.

I was enjoying the sights of Nicosia.

The Orthodox Church is the main religion in the Southern Republic of Cyprus.

Orthodox Christianity is the main religion in the Southern Republic of Cyprus.

The Orthodox Church is mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine.

The Southern Republic of Cyprus displays the Greek flag on it buildings.

The city of Nicosia can be split into the walled old town and the new modern commercial city.

The streets are narrow in this part of Nicosia.

The old town had a nice feel about itself.

The streets were very quiet in the Old Town.

The Old Town was so different from the commercial modern city that had all the typical fast food outlets and street traffic.

The Old Town had character.

Since the 1974 invasion many of the streets and buildings in the Old Town had been untouched due to the ceasefire line agreement.

Some of the buildings remained untouch since 1974.

Many of the old streets of Nicosia still have the bric-a-brac market stalls.

An assortment of clutter for purchase.

The stalls and narrow streets made the old part of Nicosia a pleasure to walk around.

I was curious at this Coca-Cola sign!

Having patrol the Green Line as part of the UN, I was currious to see the ceasefire line from when I was last here eight years earlier.

The UN patrols the Buffer Zone.

There was a lot of UN soldiers here with big guns!

Chrikes!!! They shoot cuddly toys here!!!

Using my ninja stealth skills that I had learnt from my time in the British Special Forces, I was able to sneak over the Buffer Zone and into the Northern Turkish Nicosia.

The Nothern part of Nicosia was islamic with many mosques.

Many of the mosques here were former churches and since the 1974 invasion, they had been converted into mosques.

Me posing next to a mosque.

The skyline of Northern Nicosia has many islamic minarets that had been constructed since the 1974 invasion.

This former church had been converted into a mosque.

The Turkish part of Nicosia was so different from the Southern part in many ways.

The Turkish part of Nicosia was not so touristy.

I was glad that I had self catering apartment so I finish the day shopping in the market for fruit and veg.

Plenty of fresh fruit and vegs was on sale.

Tonight I was going to do the cooking.

For more information about Nicosia please visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicosia

To be continued….


My trip to Cyprus in 2010 – part 1

This posting is about my visit to Cyprus in summer 2010. As many of you know, I was posted to Cyprus for several years with the army. I had left the island in 2002. So for me, this trip was about revisiting my old haunts including my old appartment that I used to live in.

At the time, I was the only serving cuddly toy serving in Cyprus. But I am sure that more cuddly toys are now serving in the Armed Forces.

Cyprus itself is a island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It became independant from the UK in 1960, but the British still retain two military bases on the island as well as deployed as part of the UN contingent on the disputed green line zone separating Turkish North and Greek Southern Cyprus.

A map showing the Island of Cyprus.

My plane landed at Laranca airport, and this was where I had a self-catering apartment rented for the two weeks I going to be here for.

Larnaca itself is an industrial town and not one on the tourist destinations list however the old city and the old fishing port is nice unlike the popular tourist resorts of Ayia Napa and Paphos which is spolit with umpteen hotels and English football bars.

Me in the old fishing harbour in Larnaca.

I had to visit my old apartment that I used to live in when I was serving in Cyprus. I remember parking my motorbike on the road each day under my balcony. Because I am a 30cm tall cuddly toy, my motorbike had to have stabilizers on!

My old apartment outside Larnaca on the beach road.

Larnaca has a number of interesting features including the Aqueduct known as “The Kamares”, that stands outside the town that carrys water into the town.

The old aqueduct outside Larnaca.

The Church of Lazarus is a Orthodox Church which was built in the town over the tomb of St. Lazarus.

The Church of Lazarus is a Orthodox Church in Larnaca.

The seafront promenade is a neat row of palm trees and seaview cafes. The boat marina is just here.

Some beautiful boats here.

One of these days, I want to become the first cuddly toy to sail solo around the world.

I hope one day that I will have £250,000 to buy a boat like this myself.

My first full day of the trip on the island, I was going to go Quad biking over the dirty tracks on the Dhekelia hills.

Listening to the safety brief from my tour guide.

I put on my dust goggles.

I was ready to go biking.

The ride up the hills was two hours.

The view of Larnaca Strip from Dhekelia Hills.

After my ride, I was covered in white dust so my foster Auntie put me inside the washing machine and hung me up to dry.

The next day I was going to Nicosia. The capital of Cyprus and also a divided capital with the Turkish North and the Greek South.

For more information about Larnaca please visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larnaca

To be continued….


My visit to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

A few days ago I posted my Morocco trip blog with the Berbers desert tribe. Whilst on my flight back to the UK following that desert trek, I had to change planes at Paris CDG airport. I had eight hours stopover so I decided to take the train into the centre of Paris.

It was a misserable wet day in Paris, so different from sunny Marrakesh where I took the flight to Paris from.

The airport fast train stop in the subway station just on the banks of the River Seine. I was at the west end of Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Western facade of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Notre Dame Cathedral is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It was completed in 1345.

In 1991 a major ten year restoration program began, so the cathedral is in top form for any potential travel photographers. It was a shame that I wasn’t able to take photos under a clear sky.

I wish that I had my brolly with me!

Whilst I was looking around the cathedral I kept my eye out for a sighting of the famous hunchback bell-ringer Quasimodo but I never saw him!

The cathedral is on the banks of the River Seine.

After a mulled wine on the banks of the Seine I took the train back to CDG airport and back to the UK.

After my Moroccan desert trek and my wet day out in Paris, I was very dirty so my foster Auntie put me into the washing machine for a spin.

For more information about Notre Dame Cathedral please visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_de_Paris