Having heard all about it from local friends and in the press, last week I decided to take a drive down to the seafront and have a gander. It was more of an excuse to get out of the house in between the buckets of rain we’ve seen this week more than anything, but I was interested to see where some of our EU investment money was being ploughed.
So, what is it? Actually it’s hard to describe. ‘Seafront walk’ would be a loosely accurate term, but like most things in North Cyprus, it’s pretty ‘unique’ to our part of the world. Once someone says the word ‘promenade’ to me it conjures up images of wide walkways, palm trees, people idly sitting on benches admiring the view. Perhaps a sort of mixture of Kyrenia sea front walk and Florida’s wide sweeping seafront walkways – maybe I’m spoilt.
What we do have, however, is nothing of the sort. To be totally honest, it’s a pavement that runs along the edge of a dirt field…next to the sea. Now don’t get me wrong, the view is pretty, as it is from pretty much anywhere on the north coast of the island and people are using it for walking & jogging, but the whole things just seems a little bit….sparse. For its lack of anywhere to sit, no shade and no plants of any kind, it does look a little bit odd. And I also wonder how much was invested in providing this facility when the money is so desperately needed elsewhere.
I know a lot of investment from the EU grant has gone into putting Lapta back on the map by rebuilding the stone walls that were so traditional here once, but the roads are still in immediate need of repair, with tyre bursting potholes (ask me how I know this), crumbling edges and train tracks from heavy vehicles and melted cheap tarmac.
If the mayor of Lapta wanted to bring back traditional feel of the village then he’s certainly succeeded, at least with the condition of the roads anyway.
Ok, rant over. There are some upsides to all this that I do appreciate. It’s great that the mayor has vision for his village where many others have none – Lapta is a very pretty spot with dramatically rising mountains and wonderful, uninterrupted views of the sea without the somewhat ugly obstructions of big hotels that spoil the vista in other nearby villages. I also appreciate that the walkway doesn’t need to aim for Venice Beach style popularity and is probably ‘good enough for Cyprus’ as they say but I can’t help thinking that we need to get the basics right before we invest in frivolity.
As the project is now commencing ‘phase 2’ of development and will extend further down the coastline, I’ll be watching with eager anticipation. If we are going to invest in something like this, then at the very least, let’s hope it becomes everything is could be. Fingers crossed, or is this just wishful thinking?