It is just the six of us this time – no Sally Anne and Miro. Sue and Colin, Les and Hefina and ourselves fly from Luton and arrive at night in Pathos where a taxi takes us into the Troodos mountains to Platres. I marvel that a small island has such extensive dual carriageways as our taxi weaves from lane to lane. Gradually it dawns upon me that these are not dual carriageways and it is only the absence of traffic that gets us to our hotel alive.
The island is amazingly empty. No traffic and rarely do we see people. When we do they are ever so friendly and English seems a natural language to them. I’m at a loss as to why Archbishop Makarios wanted independence. Of course, I guess the islanders regret his rash actions too as, if it were still a British protectorate, the Turks wouldn’t have invaded leaving Cyprus partitioned.
Our walking holiday takes us through the Easter weekend and we witness some of the fervent religious fuss that Catholics make at such times – midnight bonfires, fireworks and the tv channels flooded with religious dross.
We walk some 60 miles in 6 days and the mountainous part (at heights in excess of Britain’s tallest mountains) is in rain, hail,thunder and lightning and often above cloud level. It is also quite cold and on one occasion, in Omodos – reputedly one of the prettiest villages on the island – we go straight to bed when we arrive so as to keep warm. The coast, though, at Neo Choria was different. Still vertiginous heights to climb but warmer. Our final hotel is very smart and instead of a room Sheila and I have an apartment.
My abiding memories will be of the dreadful coffee – instant Nescafe, for goodness sake, the ban on flushing toilet paper down the loo although this turned out to be less ghastly than I thought it would, and the tasty but repetitive menus – meze every meal. I also loose two toe-nails, but I always do on these excursions.