Cyprus, 2004 - Saturday


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Saturday morning I decided to head to Lemassol, to see what it had to offer. The drive there was good, I got the Vitara up to 140kph, and it could have done more, but there was a ferocious side wind, which threatened to blow me off the road, so I stuck to 120kph. A police car passed me with his lights going (the speed limit is 100kph), but it seems they drive everywhere with their lights on, so I ignored it, and he carried on without bothering me. Lemassol is as boring as Paphos, in my opinion, but I stopped at the castle, which was worth visiting, and at Kolossi castle, which was also good. In a shop I saw a post card for the Calendonian Falls, so I decided to drive inland and look at that. On the drive into the hills it started snowing (did I mention how cold it was), and I stopped in a small village, with a tiny taverna, with two tables, a wood stove, 4 arcade machines from the eighties, and the usual several old men, drinking tea or something. They seemed surprised to be asked for food, but rustled me up some bread, cheese, tomatoes and cucumber, and some local lemonade all for £3.

I headed on, stopping briefly at some other falls, where a rock fall tried to kill me, but as the snow was thickening, headed back up to the Troodos mountains and Mt Olympus. It was –7 degrees C here, the roads were thick with snow, and a blizzard was blowing. The Vitara coped well, only sliding if provoked, and even with the rear window unzipped, the heater kept me warm. I decided to head back through Cedar Valley, to see what that was like in the snow. On the way I stopped at the tomb of some Archbishop, and look out from a viewpoint, both of which are signposted as major tourist attractions. The tomb is merely a small building with a giant stone coffin in it, a plaque, and a picture. The viewpoint is a couple minutes walk up the hill from it, and has spectacular views, which are a bit wasted on me as it was blowing a gale and I had to hang on to trees and rocks to get up to it. The below zero gale cut through me like a knife, and after a couple of pictures I half ran half slid back to the Vitara and got the heating on full blast. Cedar Valley showed me how much the smooth dirt tracks were beginning to bore me. I got the Vitara sideways on a couple bends doing 80kph, and kept pointing it at the clay banks to see if it would climb them, which it did unless I exceeded the ramp over angle (which was quite easy to do, which surprised me as it is such a short vehicle). I decided I had to get back out to the Peninsula to do some proper off roading.

I stopped at a taverna, where I had a quick meal of meze (several different dishes all pilled on to your plate) and wine, before returning to the hotel. In another attempt to be sociable I went to the bar, where I realised it must be Valentines Day. I had an ouzo surprise to drink while I read my book. The surprise was the drink was red and orange, and tasted not unlike the brandy sour of the night before, but I’m sure it gave those around me the misapprehension that I was gay. Before I got chatted up by the wrong sort of person I went back to my room, and continued reading with my old friend neat ouzo. Much nicer, and far less colourful!

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