The Troodos mountains was our last big adventure on our road trip. We drove down and up winding roads visiting villages on mountain sides and gawping at chunks of limestone landscapes.
Our first stop was a 3km uphill hike to a beautiful waterfall. The trail wasn’t too strenuous and there were plenty of pretty views of streams on the way. At the top, we were greeted by two cats and a kitten, whom Harpall (the true crazy cat lady) fawned over until we were disturbed by a huge group of tourists. The waterfall was icy cold so we didn’t dare dip into it. Instead we just filmed lots of slo-mo shots of the water (Harpall has made me into a tech geek it seems).
We didn’t have time to go to Kykkos, so we went to this much smaller, but serene monastery. Within the church, there were beautiful ceiling to floor paintings on the walls. We felt like we should respect the space, so I only quickly snapped one photo for keepsake.
Il Buchetto and traditionalist home style meze
Since this is my last post on Cyprus, I had to mention a couple of other restaurants at the end of our trip. On our return to Paphos for our return flight, we had lunch at a little Italian restaurant under the shade of a beautiful next to Pissouri beach. We had prawn filled ravioli and a prawn risotto with a melon sauce; perfect Italian lunch.
On our last night we went to the 7 St George’s Tavern, a family-run restaurant that do not have a menu. Instead they serve you mezes steadily over the course of a few hours, encouraging you to just take your time and enjoy the food. They will only stop serving when you ask them to, and as much as I wanted to taste more, we couldn’t go any further after the roast beef! This is a great experience I suggest everyone to go to; just make sure you book in advance!
Limassol was our third stop on our road trip – a seaside city with a lengthy marina and a rich history. We enjoyed exploring its old town district and walking along its vast stretch of beaches and boards.
Obi the cat
We chose to stay in a vintage style flat near the centre of Limassol. The flat was beautifully decorated, but our highlight of staying there was definitely Obi, the flat cat. She was endlessly adorable, extremely friendly and a little bit mischievous. I miss her jumping on me to rub her head against my chin.
The castle is the historical epicentre of Limassol, which has gone through many changes as centuries and kings have gone by. It’s quite a small castle and sparse in information, but worth a visit for the Limassol skyline at the top.
A quite windy, but relaxing walk along the marina in winter was exactly the fresh air we needed away from the small streets and roads of the rest of the city. I do love good boardwalk and watching the waves crash against the rocks.
Seafood on the beach
On our day in Limassol, I found out I passed quite a difficult paediatrics exam. So naturally I was over-the-bloody-moon. We decided to treat ourselves to a celebration dinner by the beach with oysters, crab and grilled fish. We also managed to attract the attention of quite a few stray cats, which we didn’t mind at all. In fact, the waiters watched on in amusement as Harpall cuddled one on his lap!
Nicosia is the divided capital of Cyprus; the southern half is Greek and the northern half is Turkish. On our drive into Nicosia, we could see the Turkish flag across the mountains in the North, and having heard so much about the conflict from Greeks, I was expecting tall fences with UN border guards with guns. But instead we were surprised to see people easily walking across the border with just a quick look at the passport. Despite the apparent ease we could’ve crossed the border, we decided to just stick it out in the southern part.
We spent most of our day in Nicosia just wandering around within the city walls that were built by the Venetians. Nicosia is compact mix of graffiti-ed walls, 19th Century buildings and modern shops.
I’m so happy when I visit houses that have been well-preserved over centuries; it gives such an interesting insight into a country’s history and culture. Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios mansion belonged to a famous dogoman who acted as a liaison between the Greeks and Ottoman people in the 18th Century. The house is beautiful in itself (complete with its own Turkish baths), but there is a special blue room with beautiful cushions, fabrics and shisha. Not to be missed in Nicosia!
Souvlaki and mbougiournti
Goudouranaki Express is a spin-off branch of a popular Nicosia restaurant, which serves traditional Cypriot fare in a trendy three-floor restaurant. We were super impressed by their friendly customer service (actually, everyone in Cyprus is super super friendly), souvlaki and dips. Our highlight though was their mbougiournti with mboukovo; roasted vegetables in tomato sauce with a dollop of spicy cheese sauce on the top. I first need to find out how to make this at home and secondly, how to say it!
Nutella hot chocolate
We stopped off in a cafe to write some postcards and I was just over the moon to find Nutella hot chocolate on the menu! They spread it all around the mug; I happily paid nearly €5 for it! Also the cafe had a super hipster, plant-loving vibe (but they get away with it much better than Shoreditch).
Syrian Arab Friendship Club
This has ended up being quite a foodie post! Our last stop in the evening was a Syrian restaurant with just the best name. I felt slightly sad thinking about the situation in Syria and wondered if the staff had any affected family members. The food was a large selection of traditional mezes, including falafel and my favourite salad. We actually asked for the mixed grill not to be served and we still ended up being stuffed! I don’t know how people do it!