By Margaret Sheard ….

Recently we received and published an article from Ahmet Abdulaziz about restored Bedford buses in North Cyprus and we received some very nice comments in response to this.

We had the pleasure of meeting Irem Toygan and Nezih Beyaz who are the inspiration behind these Nostalgia buses and they told us that the venture was generally a hobby which they have undertaken to promote the old Cypriot way of life.  They both have full time jobs – Irem is a Primary School Teacher and Nezih works for Girne Municipality.  As well as working and promoting their Nostalgia buses they are both members of the Girne Folk Dance Group and perform at local Festivals throughout the year.  Busy people with a love of Cyprus heritage.

Nezih told us that his grandfather who lived in Limassol, had one of these old Bedford buses but sadly during the troubles on the island, on one occasion he had parked his bus but was then not able to recover it and when he did have the opportunity it had disappeared from where he left it.   This was a big blow to the family as it was his means of earning a living.  The family have no idea what happened to the bus and unfortunately there are no documents or photographs which record the licence number plate.  Nezih and Irem would dearly like to locate it but without knowing the licence plate number, it is an impossible task.

In 2016 they bought 3 old buses and another in 2017.  Currently 2 have been restored and are now in use for Festivals and for private trips and functions, including weddings.   There are no plans to restore the other 2 buses at the moment and maybe this will be another project at some future date.

The first time Nezih and Irem took their first restored bus to a Festival they were amazed at the interest shown in it, which prompted them to think about using it, together with the second bus when it was restored, so that they could be used for nostalgic trips and other uses.   Irem is very protective of their buses and keeps a watchful eye on them to ensure that a perhaps heavy-handed visitor does not do any damage to door handles etc.   Due to the age of these Bedford buses, it is very hard to obtain spare parts so it is important that people understand they must treat these vehicles with respect.

This is such a wonderful idea by two young people.  They have no plans to make this an expanding business, they both have good jobs, and it is their love of the heritage of Cyprus which has led them to create this nostalgia for the locals and a taste of old Cyprus for tourists and residents on the island.

If anyone is interested in hiring one or both of the Nostalgia buses for a cultural tour, Henna night, wedding party, private party, Nezih and Irem will be pleased to organise this for you.  You can choose the route of your tour, and on the journey enjoy the traditional Cypriot songs, treats and see the staff in traditional costumes, which will make it a unique traditional occasion.

For more information call 0533 885 8589 or 0542 881 3499 or email nostalgiabus@gmail.com.  There is more information on their Facebook page – Nostalgia Bus –  which is in Turkish but can be translated into English through Google.