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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

19 November 2022

Good timing day

Friday 4 November

Some nifty bits of good timing today. We got out early and started with another hike, up to Mount Adelphi which is Cyprus’ second highest mountain at 1650m. This sounds more impressive than it was, as the layby where we started the walk was already at 1300m! Still, a lovely trail where the non-stop sunshine successfully combated the 15C temperature so we could stick with T-shirts. Maureen left her phone on the car seat, which we only spotted 15 minutes in, so I had a jog back to fetch it which kept me even warmer!

The ridge to Mount Adelphi

This walk was along stonier and more barren terrain than our other mountain hikes, with wide views and tiny crocus flowers. Apparently there are lots of different junipers on Cyprus and just here they are trying to conserve the local Greek Juniper.

Next we drove north into a bit of Cyprus that seems much less visited, to stop at the Panagia Tou Asinou church, one of the little Byzantine gems in the mountains. If we had arrived 5 minutes later the ancient warden would have locked up the church and left for the day! Instead he asked nicely for a lift down to the village at the bottom of the hill and then let us gape at the incredibly vivid paintings that cover every inch of the church’s interior. Given we were saving him a 45 minute walk home, he could have been a bit less precious at trying to hustle us out when it was time to lock up!

In the church of Panagia Tou Asinou

Bit disappointed that both tavernas up here were closed. Online reviews described them as “not touristy, real tavernas” but there is literally no reason for them to be here except to cater to visitors to the UNESCO church and both looked utterly shut-up for the winter season. So. Dumb online reviewers, as usual. We stopped later in a modern roadside cafe-bakery for a surprisingly nice cake instead.

Driving back into the Troodos mountains the clouds were ominously low, but on our second walk – butting up against sunset – we managed to reach the destination viewpoint just in time for the sun to peer out from underneath the low clouds and light up the landscape. Just two minutes later the clouds finally sank low enough to cover the landscape in mist, the air grew colder and there was nothing more to see. Yet again, lucky timing!

Sunset and mist in the Troodos Mountains

The forest was still a beauty though, and it looked eerily on fire when the very last of the sun shone up through the trees from the west. The big white-barked black pines of this forest are stunning, heavily laden with lacy jade green lichen, and among all their cool magnificence there were little whitebeam trees with burning red leaves and bracken of a fiery orange. Nice.

Trees on fire with the sunset

And really, if we had lingered ten minutes longer over breakfast, I think our whole day would have been entirely frustrating instead of entirely special.

There was still a mighty feast of about eight removes waiting for us back at Apokryfo. Highlights tonight were breaded potato balls stuffed with gooey cheese and fried halloumi in filo with a gnarly celery sauce. Lowlight was more chicken, this time dry white breast stuffed with apricot. Meh. Thankfully pudding was again magnificent; apple kleftiko with loads of cinnamon.

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