Should we or should we not? That was the question Rolf and his wife pondered as they sat and looked into each other’s eyes at the kitchen table in Jönköping, Sweden. The dream of living abroad had been there for a long time, but to actually take the plunge…
It all began about a year earlier. Rolf and his friend sat and thought about what they would give their wives for Christmas. A golf trip was a good idea, but where would we go? Rolf was going back and forth but finally decided on North Cyprus. So it had to be. When his wife opened her Christmas present there was the map of Cyprus drawn on the wrapping paper.
A few weeks later when she sat flicking through the newspaper she saw the same map in an ad for expatriates. It was a Turkish real estate company that would exhibit in a Housing Exhibition in Jönköping the following weekend, promoting North Cyprus. It would be a good idea to go there and talk to them about Cyprus, not because they were interested in moving there, but the real estate company might know something about the golf course that they would visit later that summer.
The day of the show was held in February with “crappy weather” as Rolf describes. The property company recommended that the couple come and look at the apartment complex, while they were on their golfing holiday in Cyprus. Rolf and his wife were only thinking to play golf and not to look at real estate, but in the end they gratefully accepted the brochures.
It was then time for the long awaited golf week in North Cyprus. Rolf laughs at the memory of when they first came to Cyprus.
Apparently the contest North Cyprus Open Championship would be held on the same weekend as they were arriving, and they wanted to have access to the course that weekend so had no other option but to take part in the competition. That was exactly what they did. The championship turned out to be stroke play with a start from White Tee, something that was definitely a challenge for the two Swedes who had not attended the golf club last season.
– After the first hole, I came last, Rolf remembers, and I then thought that no bastard is going to take my place away from me!
We laugh together at the memory of Rolf’s first round of golf in Cyprus where we sit in the afternoon sun in Korineum Golf & Beach Resort, a place that Rolf now spends a lot of time in.
– We stayed at Malpas Hotel, not far from Korineum, says Rolf and one day someone had stuck a note under our hotel room door.
The note was from the Real Estate Company they met at the Housing Exhibition in February. They had not planned to go and look at property, but when the note with the telephone number of the broker now lay before them, they thought it would be fun to see.
– We had a day off from golf, so why not? We decided to take an excursion to the area which was not far away from the golf course.
It was the summer of 2009, and the place was a big construction site with concrete trucks and construction workers. The brokers were not pushy but just let the pair walk around and look at their pace.
Satisfied with golf week in North Cyprus they returned home to Jönköping again. Months went by and then one day the phone rang, it was the broker from Cyprus, who informed them that one of the apartments they liked in the area had suddenly become vacant.
So now they sat there at the kitchen table and looked at each other. All the signs had been there; the golf trip, the ad in the paper, and the note under the door… They asked the question, should we or should we not?
– In the end we decided: We’re doing it!
When they came back to Cyprus later in the summer of 2009, it was with their own air mattress in the luggage.
– The mattresses were so uncomfortable that we hurried with our furniture purchases, Rolf laughs at the memory.
A few months later the container from Sweden arrived with all the things that they wanted to take with them to Cyprus. They shared the container with another family in the area, and Rolf remembers they celebrated with whiskey in the evening, once everything was unpacked.
– There were a lot of things that were brought from Sweden. We wanted to fill the container completely, so in every small space that was empty we stuffed in whatever we could i.e. a waffle maker, iron or something similar, smiling Rolf.
It has now been a few years since they came to Cyprus for the first time. Rolf was previously a partner in shipping company procurement and in is now retired. His wife is still working, but in the future they imagine to spend more time in their apartment in North Cyprus.
– Now we spend about eight weeks a year here. Sometimes, we are here over Christmas, sometimes in the summer, it varies.
Rolf and his wife love it in North Cyprus. None of them had heard much about the country before, but they recommend it warmly to others. When friends came down to visit, they went with the rental car on trips to places like Kyrenia and Famagusta. Rolf is interested in history, something there is plenty of in Cyprus.
– We had promised ourselves that even if we became expatriates we would still continue to travel to different places in the world, but it has yet to happen, said Rolf. Cyprus has the most open, friendly people, low prices and almost non-existent crime.
But the warm climate is certainly the biggest reason why they feel so good in Cyprus.
– That’s why we live here and not in Antarctica, Rolf jokes that they never seem to have much of a laugh.
Fly here seamlessly with Turkish Airlines from Landvetter to Ercan airport, with a stopover in Istanbul.
And Mexico, how is it going with that?
– We play several times a week at Korineum. We do not have membership because we are not here enough for it to pay off instead we pay green fees each time.
Rolf feels that there are many benefits to Korineum Golf Club.
– There is a welcoming atmosphere here, the people who play are very open and inviting, it is easy to get into the community. And it’s not impossible to get the times as it can be at other golf courses.
Rolf knows about 30 other Swedish golfers who play here regularly.
Korineum is an incredibly beautiful golf course, but it is known to be difficult to play. It is known as a championship course that is stingy with margins.
– A good tip is to hit the middle of the fairway, Rolf laughs. Golfers often say so to each other, but on this track it really is true!
Rolf also mentions Korineums practice area Golf Academy, where you can go to practice putts, rash or chipping. The ranks are facing down towards the Mediterranean and to Turkey.
– There are amazing Mediterranean views from this golf course. If you get a good hit from the driving range maybe knocking the ball all the way to Turkey!