While strolling around the beautiful narrow streets in the village of Karmi we come across Andy Bunn. Andy is, since five years ago, the caretaker of Karmi Village and his employer is the North Cyprus Tourism Ministry. Andy and his wife Diana are from Manchester and have lived in North Cyprus and Karmi since 2005. They absolutely love it here, and the only time they’ve been away from the island since they moved here is when they’ve travelled to England to see the family.
– It’s actually only been three times for me, Andy says. And one time for Diana.
Andy invites us to their home for a coffee and explains how they came to buy a property in North Cyprus.
– Diana and I had a conversation in England where Diana said that she had a wish, as so many others from the UK or Scandinavia, to live permanently in a foreign, warm country. A lady overheard our conversation and said that if we would ever visit North Cyprus we should to pay a short visit to her house to see if we liked it.
Later that year they started to look for properties abroad, first in Portugal and later in the southern part of Cyprus. But it was first when they arrived in North Cyprus, and saw what it had to offer, they decided to make the move. Andy and Diana wanted to live in a village full of Cypriots. Together with a real estate agent they saw many beautiful and newly built properties, but the one they fell in love with was an old house in a non-livable condition, but with incredible potential. The entire garden was overgrown and they couldn’t access the house until later, after hours and hours of work. When they bought the property it had many problems, such as several water leaks, wholes in the roof and so on.
– The first day I said; What have we gotten ourselves into? Diana remembers with a big smile.
Andy, who is a crafty person, started to redo the house himself but it was so much to do that he had to look for assistance. That’s how he came in contact with the builder Ayhan Avcı.
– Ayhan redid the kitchen, bathrooms, ceilings, everything downstairs, garden wells, the outside of the house, front- and backside patio, all windows, water systems, hot water etc. He has done fantastic work on this house and to anyone who needs help we can highly recommend Ayhan. Today he is like a member of our family, says Andy and mentions that he and Diana were invited to Ayhan’s wedding as the only British people attending the ceremony.
Karmi is an area with lots of regulations when it comes to reconstruction and building, to keep the village looking unexposed. Today there are over 17 different nationalities owning properties in Karmi, including a few Scandinavian families, and around 20% of the property owners live here permanently. Due to its location high up in the Kyrenia mountains, many young cypriots have moved away and instead it has turned into a touristic picturesque village with lots of expats. It’s a very charming village with houses in every shape and sizes. The village is active all year around with its many bars and restaurants.
Read more about Karmi here.