The Troodos mountains in Cyprus
We're going on another tour today: to Troodos, the central mountains.
This time in a large comfortable tour bus. In fact there are two buses: one for the Swedes and one for the Danes. It isn't as intimate or "private" as yesterday, but OK. We visit a few mountain villages and an old church from year ca. 1000 - Sct. Nicolaos or something like that.
I've never been particularly interested in churches, however the painted walls are indeed impressive, and the guide explains that the church lies off the beaten track, almost hidden, because Cyprus was plagued by Arabian pirates when the church was built.
We do more driving than seeing, and the guide talks non-stop about Cyprus and the local culture. I didn't know that it is quite common with 2-3000 guests at a wedding!
Agros and rose oil
In the village Agros we visit a family business (factory) that produces rose oil, rose water, rose liqueur and rose brandy! The liqueur in particular had a very intense flavour. Helle and many others buy some get-pretty-water and - sensibly - some firewater too.
Click to enlarge
Yes, the mountains are beautiful at this time of year, and you notice the many terraces. Not house-terraces, but shelves up the mountainsides: laboriously built "stairs" which must be the work of generations. On many you see vines cut low and still without leaves. Harvesting must be hard work, because you cannot use machines, and there are small ladders used for climbing from one shelf to the next.
On the tour are the 4 elderly ladies from our hotel. Three of them use sticks, and one must admire their courage and willpower to go on a mountain tour despite their handicaps. They get more than one helping hand and explain that they are old school friends who have travelled together for many years.
They still do, obviously, and even though it gets more and more difficult to get around they manage by helping each other. I sure hope I'm as brave when and if my legs ever get in such a bad shape!
The trip home goes through Nicosia during the rush hour, and we have a coffee and toilet break at a highway cafeteria. The coffee is tepid Nescafe. Around us is a construction site and wild grass. Suddenly I'm attacked by hay fever. Back home that doesn't happen before June, but it is no mistake: I sneeze and the eyes itch.
We're back in Larnaca by 5, and at Hobo Café we get a decent cup of Cypriot coffee with a glass of water as is the custom and enjoy the last rays of sun at the promenade. The promenade faces east and the sun soon sets below the houses, and towards the setting sun we walk back to the hotel to relax.
Evening at Restaurant Militzis
Rested we walk slowly towards Militzis. It is another warm and balmy evening. The waves splash peacefully and the horizon disappears.
Once again we get grilled halloumi for starters and I munch the tasty olives. This time Helle has Kleftico for main course and I have grilled pork marinated in wine. Today we get the red house wine, which is pleasant and cheap (£3.25). Neither do we miss coffee and a Cypriot brandy.
The meal is just as good as the last time, and the portions are huge! When I get the check I notice and tell the waiter that he has forgotten the brandy. He looks at me a bit surprised and says that it is on the house. Stupid Dane!
It is too warm and nice to go home, so we settle in front of The Meeting Pub. The pitch-black sky melts into the sea. Off coast is an illuminated ship. Cruise?
In spite of the beautiful weather there are surprisingly few guests at the promenade, and we digest in peace except for an intermezzo with a gang of young Brits that are very drunk and very loud. Hooligans to be.
They want taxis (home?) and complain loudly that the price is too high. "No fuckin' way I'm payin' fi-fi-five quid!" Never the less some get into a Mercedes limo and drive off, but soon they return like wet dogs.
The driver must have told them to get out once they turned the corner. One urinates behind a container on the sidewalk and probably doesn't sense the shocked Cypriots passing by. He probably wouldn't care anyway, and fortunately the gang leaves for some other pub.
We're tired and walk straight home to bed.