Friday, 4 August 2017

Trip to Spilia...

Unbelievable I know but some days nothing very much out of the ordinary happens and yesterday was one of those days - just a standard Tuesday with an afternoon of playing very hot and sweaty pickleball so nothing much to report so I will concentrate on today...

We had been invited by our neighbours to go and visit them at Lakis' family home in Spilia which is a tiny village up in the Troodos not far from Kekopetria.  Originally we had been invited for lunch and then they suggested coming a bit earlier so that we could take a walk around the village.  They said they thought it would take about an hour and a half to get there and John set up his sat-nav and we set off at 9.30am aiming to reach them by 11.00am.  The journey might have taken an hour and a half if (a) we had not had to follow every slow moving vehicle known to man on a road which was unfamiliar and full of twists and turns and (b) if the sat nav had not tried to take us up something which was little more than a dust track when we got the other side of Pachna and (c) if it had not been so bloody hot and the car decided to get bloody hot too due to having to go so slowly for so long uphill.

We abandoned the sat-nav and scoured the car to find our trusty old map - and when I say old I mean old - it was clearly published after the 'invasion' because it has marked the northern part of the island as 'inaccessible due to occupation' but doesn't feature any of the motorways which appeared on the island as early as 1985!  Sometimes though the old ways and the best ways and I have my Brownie Pathfinder Badge so managed to navigate us away from the dust track and on the right road for Spilia but this meant we were a little delayed.

We took the Spilia By-Pass to find Lakis' home - By-Pass in the loosest possible sense because this was no modern thoroughfare, true it circumnavigated the village but we were directed up a road which was practically vertical and made up of loose shale!  Lakis talked us in and eventually we arrived.  This Swiss Chalet inspired dwelling with commanding views over the village was constructed in the 1930s after Lakis' father (Mukhtar of the area) took his bride to Switzerland on honeymoon and then came back to build their home.  Now left to his children Lakis tells us he struggles to get a consensus on how best to keep this building up to date whilst retaining its charm.  It is the original money pit and they fear for its future when it will be handed down to the next generation and then instead of getting six people to agree (or not as the case may be) there will be others with a share and a say - good old Cypriot inheritance laws!

This is a large and impressive building.  Simply furnished with some beautiful original pieces and some more modern ones out of necessity it is a holiday home for the respective families and so lacks the feeling of love that it might have as a family home.

It is beautiful and although we are way up in the mountains today there is no respite from the heat except inside in some of the cooler rooms.  It is in the high 30s but at least there is no humidity.  The cool verandah is a welcome place to stop and have a cold drink and then Argy brings out a massive plate of Cypriot pastries as a little snack before lunch.  As a nation they eat so much bread and pastry, some I like but some I dont.  Today Argy was excited to be able to offer us fresh warm Flaounes which are normally only about at Easter and those I have had in the past could have made a fabulous cornerstone for a new-build!  It seemed churlish to decline so I had a piece and I have to say it was delicious.

We walked out onto that verandah from ground level coming in through what is the back door and walking through but as the house is set onto the side of a hill the remainder of the house is actually below.  The views are stunning and I could have happily sat there for the remainder of the day chilling.

We were taken on a tour of the property which had large well proportioned usable rooms upstairs - downstairs was mostly given up to storage including a room which used to host a bread oven and still had the original storage cupboard with chicken wire instead of glass which I would have called a cheese cupboard and which was their original fridge - the chicken wire allowing air to flow over the food to keep it cool.  Some of the pots and kitchen paraphernalia were clearly old and Argy is taking a couple of pots to have in their house in Droushia - we very carefully transported one back with us which she says is worth three or four hundred euros!  On one of the walls outside there are chalk marks recording the height of visiting grandchildren over the years.

Our tour of the house complete, fed and watered until Lunch we embarked on a tour of the village leaning Argy's mum back home in charge of said Lunch.

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