Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Drouseian's Day Out Part 1

Today was one of our regular rediscovering the island trips with Rob and Di and this one I had recce'd when John was away.  I thought it might be nice to revisit some of the beaches near Paphos going out towards the Sea Caves area, possibly walk some of the Avakas Gorge, have a late lunch at nearby Viklari (The Last Castle) and then a slow ride home through the Akamas to Droushia.  We started out by passing through Kathikas and heading from Akoursos but were a bit stymied when we found the normal road was closed.  Using John's trusty little app Maps.Me we found that there was an alternative off-road route which we could take and so we set off to investigate.

Our route took us through cicada laden countryside much to Diana's dismay and when one flew into the car and hit her on the back I learned some words I had never heard before!!!!  We passed by a church in the middle of nowhere and a nature trail which I would like to go back and revisit when we have more time and when it is not so hot but it looked to take you down a very pretty valley.

We found our way to the normal road which takes you through Akoursos and stopped at an old colonial building which we had seen before in transit but today being a discovery and photography day meant we had time to stop and investigate.

It transpired that this abandoned old building had once been the school for the village and there were school books and a blackboard as evidence.  It looked like it was once a really pretty little building but had fallen into disrepair and had been used for storage, locked up and secured before the wooden front door had collapsed which meant we had access to go in and poke around to see what we could find.  There was a fabulous window arrangement inside - this sort of shutter/window combo has been replaced by more modern methods in all the hundreds and thousands of newly erected boxes which pass for homes nowadays, they were probably massively inefficient but look so pretty - it will be a shame when all evidence of them have gone.

There are now signposts in the middle of Akoursos that show you can drive direct to Peyia - they may have been there before but we weren't aware of them and as we wanted fuel were going to go to Peyia anyway even if we had taken the road which passes by the dam and comes out at the roundabout near Coral Bay.  On this new-to-us road we passed by yet another abandoned old school which we explored before we stopped on high ground to get our bearings and to realise we were going to come into Peyia near the football stadium.  Peyia used to be a village but has grown beyond recognition.  It is full of villas and apartments, many of which stand empty and is sprawling and pretty characterless for most parts.  It has been allowed to be developed without any thought or constraint which is a shame.  Not our cup of tea although when we first started coming to Cyprus 20-odd years ago it was rather quaint.  We got our petrol which at 1.16 a litre was the cheapest we have seen it here since we moved out permanently over 6 years ago.

Our first stop along the coast was Coral Bay - never a beach we had frequented much although I do remember going there the very first year I came with Marie and Laura circa 1988 and Marie struck up a friendship with the lad who took the money for the sunbeds and we got invited to his father's taverna in Peyia which is now the municipal building.  It was there that we had our first experience of the local sausages called Loukanika which were a totally alien taste to us and which got smuggled out in our serviettes!  Coral Bay has changed - we reckoned that the beach is now much narrower than it used to be, narrower but longer and there are two tiers for the parking which may account for why.  Holidaymakers probably love it and it was more manicured than I remember but they have everyone packed in so close!

Our second stop was Koralia which used to be my favourite and when John and I came first around 1991 there was nothing there save a rickety old Taverna above the beach and then some rough narrow strip of beach and one or two sunbeds - no buildings, nothing.  I guess when they started to develop the area and the buses ran regularly to this spot everything changed.  I was horrified actually to see it as it was yesterday.  Again I am sure the holidaymakers love it and the rickety old Taverna is now a massive establishment with all the charm of a scorpion and there is building going on for as far as the eye can see.  Not so many years ago we would assemble here on Boxing Day, walk towards Sea Caves via a long gone Carob warehouse and some holiday villas that were started but not finished (they appear to still be there) out into a wilderness where we could pick oranges and bananas and pecans and if we were lucky find a little old taverna on the beach called Yialos where we had coffee before walking back and sheltering in front of some shop fronts to have our pasties and mulled wine.

The bit of coastline where we used to walk has now been given a name and is called Limni Beach - it is rugged and beautiful but there is just so much development happening on the approach road that this may well spoil it - it didn't have a name in the old days, in fact I am not sure it was accessible due to all the gorse on the rocks - it would appear that this has been cleared and areas right down by the sea concreted so that you can get down to the water's edge.  It looked stunning today as the blue skies made the sea look even bluer.

This was our last stop before a scheduled coffee break and a good start to the morning.  Di and Rob are quite unfamiliar with this bit of coast so some of it they would be visiting for the first time.

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