A Trip to the Mountains
On the second day, Thursday October 11th, we decided to have a change of scenery and headed off to the Troodos mountains to walk through and tour a couple of the villages, Lania and Omodos. It turned out to be another hot day so it was good we decided to head to the mountains as it would hopefully be a bit cooler, turns out it wasn’t so much cooler at all! But still better than it would have been going somewhere near the sea. Its only a 20 minute drive or so from Limassol but it’s like entering a completely different place and time to see these villages which mostly retain the old way of life.
Photos for this post are here: http://picasaweb.google.com/garazon/Day2Cyprus
Before I go on about the villages I want to relate another story. We needed gas/petrol before we went out too far today and made a pit stop just before leaving Limassol. Well we pulled into one of the stations , can’t remember the name of it right off, well anyway I noticed a couple of employees near the pumps as we pulled in. I didn’t think much of it, one was sitting down in a small chair and I just assumed she was taking a break and I thought the other was just there to collect the money. Well Alison mentioned upon pulling in to see about getting someone to check the water as she had just had a new radiator put in the car and wanted to make sure things were ok before we headed up, and asked me to see is there was 50¢ CYP laying about to tip the guy. Well being from the states I was used to nothing but self service stations and was wondering what the tip was for. Ok we do have a couple of places that come pump the gas for you and collect the money, but that’s all they do. well the guy puts the gas in and heads back to the pump and then I found myself dumbfounded as the guy turns and comes back with a bucket and a squeegee! He then proceeds to clean not only the windshield, but the door windows and back window as well! I was in shock almost! I haven’t seen that kind of service since the late 60′s here in the states! Well he didn’t stop there, Alison popped the hood and the guy checks the oil and topped of the coolant tank as well! WOW! It was one of those twilight zone moments almost! well it made me smile too to see that there are still places that do this sort of thing in the world, I was loving Cyprus even more then. :)
Well with the car filled up we set out on our way. Our first destination was a smaller village that Alison said was one of the more picturesque, Lania.
She was right as usual :)
(description from website ) LANIA
Lania is a small, beautiful village, built at the foot of Mount Troodos on the main Limassol to Troodos road, about 26 Kms from Limassol. Lania is one of the main wine producing villages.
According to tradition, Lania got its name from Lania, daughter of the Greek god of wine and pleasure: Dionysos. This indicates the deep roots of the village in the field of vine-growing and wine-making. The village is well known for the high quality of its grapes and wines.
At the time Erricos was King of France, the country’s vineyards from which champagne was produced were destroyed by disease. The King went in search of healthy plants, which he found in Lania. The plants were loaded on a ship, transported to France and used to replant the Champagne vineyards. It is believed that during his stay in Cyprus, Erricos used to spend time at the Royal Oak of Lania, an 800 year old oak tree which sadly collapsed in 1997. In the same area, only a few metres from the Royal Oak, there is another oak tree, even bigger and well worth a visit.
The inhabitants of the village are occupied with vine-growing and the production of wine-related products including Zivania, Commandaria and Sousouko. Amongst the flower-lined streets and traditional architecture lies the village church, dedicated to St Mary. The Icon of St Mary of Valana, one of the oldest paintings in the world, is displayed in the church.
In Lania one can find an ancient and authentic Linos, a wine press, formerly used in the production of Commandaria. The entrance to the village is dominated by the old fountain from which villagers would get their drinking water and still today brings back memories of bygone times.
I totally fell in love with this village with it’s narrow stone streets and old stone houses, many of which have been restored and updated but kept their look and feel. And the amazing variety of floral plantings all along the streets and houses was beautiful. Somehow we missed the church, but did see the Linos. I guess because of the time of the year some of the places that usually are open, artists galleries and souvenir shops, even the Linos, were all closed. It was so quiet and peaceful and as we strolled the streets you could sense it. I could live in a place like this, long as they have Internet access! ;)
Omodos was the next stop. (from the website) Omodhos is located in the district of Limassol and is one of the best wine producing villages in Cyprus. It is about 35 kilometres (26 miles) from Limassol, 80 km from Nicosia and 7 km from Platres. The first view you get when you arrive in Omodhos is of its enormous big square, surrounded by whitewashed stone house, mulberry trees, tavernas, coffeehouse and souvenir shops. The village consists of many narrow streets, white houses and a picturesque church. The villagers speak the original Cypriot language and are very devoted to the contact with each other and their religious believes. Without doubt, when visiting Omodhos, one will be astonished by the women, farmers and traders who still maintain the traditional way of working.
For centuries, the people of Omodhos have worshipped and established this richness with care and devotion, which explains their, and my, proud. The inhabitants of the village Omodhos form a close community, who sometimes tend to exaggerate in their proud for their village. (Of course, we are just as common as any other villager in Cyprus, but we like to think of ourselves as the best people of the island. The village has a rich cultural heritage and is especially famous for its agricultural and natural resources, for example the many vineyards that can be found in and around the village.
A more detailed site for Omodos can be found here, giving the history of the village, the church, the wines and more. Including some links to photos of the inside the church. We weren’t allowed to photograph inside ourselves.
Omodos was much larger than Lania and of course had all the little tourist shops open as well as a few restaurants and taverns. We parked near the large village square and went there first. The entire square is paved, if that is the word to use, with stones and rocks mostly set on edge rather than flat, and you need some good shoes to walk on it very long! The walk down the square leads to the Monastery of the Holy Cross, a really lovely setting with the church in the center and the surrounding structure housing some artifacts and restored rooms now, as well as a museum for the National Struggle and a folk art museum as well is housed in one of the areas. We spent a good while in this area taking a few photos, outside of the church itself. :)
Being about lunchtime we decided to grab something to eat and drink and have
a sit down for a bit. Even up in the mountains it was still warm this day. We decided on a spot just across from the entrance to the square at a grill/restaurant/tavern. Like most place here the seating is outside as well as inside and we opted for a table out in the breeze under the umbrella. It also gave us a good view of all the activities. I had my first taste of Calamari here and actually liked it!. Well actually Alison ordered that, and me being the adventurous American tourist ordered a … cheeseburger! LOL Well it wasn’t the best tasting thing in the world mind you, probably some frozen beef patty, maybe containing beef somewhere in it, and some kind of very bland cheese. Cypriots do some really wonderful and great tasting Greek and Cypriot dishes, but they suck at American ones! LOL Well nevermind I ate it and it was filling. I tried the local Keo beer too, but wasn’t so fond of that either. Well what else goes with a burger… oh yes.. Pepsi please! lol Anyway we had a nice time sitting and talking and yes smooching too! ;) Right across the street there is part of a winery and all the time we were there the local farmers were transporting their grapes to sell. A steady stream of pickup trucks hauling crates of grapes and waiting in line to unload them. Quite interesting to see this side of things, instead of just seeing the bottles in the stores! We sat a right good while and then strolled around a bit more. We had been walking around 2 days now in the heat, between that and me trying to adjust to the time we were both ready to call it a day!
The villages were lovely to see and I liked Lania the best, just smaller and quieter and less touristy than Omodos., but both gorgeous villages and I loved it. Loved the guide more though :) Thanks my love for everything! XXX
In the evening I rode with Alison and JM to take him to the base at Akrotiri where he is in the Air Training Corps as a cadet. He wants to be a pilot and this program at the camp has given him a lot of good expereince and this summer he had his first solo flight! Amazing, he’s only 17 and already took off and landed a plane himself and I have just for the first time set foot on one!
So while he was doing his thinkg alison took me around to see some of the places she hangs out while she waits for him to get done with cadets. Most of the time she goes and caht with some friends at a little bar called Mom’s. Just a small place but a very nice relaxed feeling when you walk in. I got to meet Julie, a friend of Alison’s who has a son also in the cadets that she met and passes the time with. We sat there a short while and chatted, but had to leave before too long as we were supposed to go and meet Dee and Philip who live in Kolossi and then go back and pick JM up. Julie was nice enough to offer pick him up and to drop him off on the way so that we might have a longer visit with Dee. Dee works with Alison at 3D and is a lovely and very funny person. They have a gorgeous home and we sat and had a glass of wine or two and talked and the time passed so quickly. There are so many people I have come to know through Alison that she always see and tells me about I really would have liked to have met them all and spent more time with them, but we just couldnt manage to fit it all in with the short time we had. Everyone made me feel so at ease and in a way I felt I had already met them and they said the same about me! :) Well we had to meet up with Julie to get Jm and then headed home. We hadn’t eaten yet so aliosn stopped at a take away place and I had my first taste of sheftalia, a Cyrpriot style grilled sausage of sorts . Oh I loved this! it was in a pita bread with tomatoes and cucumbers.. wonderful taste, and I have been craving it ever since I got back to the states!
Another wonderful day that passed much too fast, but memories that will last me a lifetime. I love Cyprus, and especially one Cyprus angel! :)