ROAD TRIP: Alithinou - Polystypos - Mouflons in Platania - Amiantos Mine - Mesa Potamos Waterfalls
During the weekend, a lot of people may get bored, if they have a lot of free time. I used to be that guy many years ago! Today, I wonder how that is even possible. One to get bored or feel he/she has nothing to do, in Cyprus. And not just in Cyprus, I guess. The world is full of wanders. Just give it a shot.
On Friday late afternoon me and the usual suspect George , drew a route on google maps of our next day road trip, in less than thirty minutes. And so it began.
Surprise Note: ! No need for an off road car this time :)
Make sure you schedule your trip accordingly in order to be at the last spot in Mesa Potamos Falls, before the sunset so you have enough time to enjoy the river fall. It is quite dark at the end of the day because of the high pine forest trees. We started at 9:30 from Nicosia and left Mesa Potamos at 18:00. So, adjust your time schedule appropriately, depending on your starting point and the order you wish to make it happen. I also suggest that you write on your ‘’must visit list’’ each and every spot I mention above, if you cannot make a single road trip, so you can have a look at them at a different occasion, separately.
Alithinou village was on my list, just because of a photo I saw somewhere online, of a road sign welcoming people to the village with the addition of the phrase ‘’με φιλουθκια’’ which means ‘’with kisses’’ in greek with Cypriot dialect. Soo cool ! Sadly, the sign wasn't there. Someone replaced the phrase with a different one - ‘’χάρτινο το φεγγαράκι’’ which is a classic song lyric meaning ‘’moon out of paper’’. Once Again… Super cool.
Anyway guys, Alithinou is a beautiful little village with only 10 inhabitants. Most of them come and leave from the village due to their day jobs. Its abandonment aged the village in a bad way. It is so sad that villages like Alithinou are abandoned. A small part of Cypriot history is erased each time an eldered is diseased in those kinds of villages. We walked around the village and took some pictures.
If you come across people living up there, stop and talk to them. They get genuinely happy. We did that and it was so fulfilling. We met Mrs. Nitsa , Mr. Andreas and Mr. Ioannis The things you experience, in the most unexpected place, are amazing. Enough said. Visit the village and see yourselves.
Polystypos Village & Hazelnut Forest hiking trail
I’ve been meaning to walk the hazelnut forest hiking trail for a while. The whole road trip was based on my will to go there. And due to the fact that the hiking trail is a bit less than 2 km and an hour of casual walk, I combined it with the rest of the road trip. I’ve walked on many hiking trails in Cyprus: long, short, tough, easy, mountainous and flat routes, but this time the trail had something unique. It was completely surrounded by hazelnut trees, in contrast to most forest areas in Cyprus, which contain Pine, Cedrus and Cypress trees. Absolutely AMAZING.
I have never witnessed such a scenery in Cyprus. It is so uniquely beautiful, being within 297 acres of hazelnut trees, the river flowing next to the trail even during the summer and tenths of smaller paths emerged by the harvesters decades ago, crossing the hiking trail. We immediately fell in love with the forest and we wanted to walk each and every harvesters path, but we settled walking the main hiking trail, due to lack of time. I will be definitely revisiting, most probably during the hard winter. Have in mind that the harvesting takes place during August.
Depending on the season, in the hazelnut forest grows a variety of wildflowers such as cyclamen and violets, which grow both in the ground and in the cracks stones, violets, even water lilies in some wetter places.
Now, let’s talk about the village. Let me start by saying that we were lucky enough to meet some lovely locals, again. We came across Mr. Kyriakos, the local butcher and his wife Mrs. Dora, who insisted on making a Cyprus coffee for us, before starting our exploration on the alleys of Polystypos. Unfortunately, during our small talk, we realized that Polystypos inhabitants are approximately 100 and the number keeps decreasing. The houses, old streets and alleys which are almost completely built with stone bricks and combined with the surrounding forest, create together a picturesque scene that you will definitely enjoy. I don't wanna write a lot about Polystypos, but I am definitely revisiting and in the future I may try staying here for a night or two and see how that goes.
Mouflon Fenced Area in Platania
Not much to say about this place, other than every Cypriot or a tourist / visitor has to see the unique ‘’Cypriot Mouflon’’ which we are so proud of. ‘’The Mouflon (Ovis orientalis ophion) is the largest land mammal and an endemic species of Cyprus and is rightly described as the most important representative of the island’s fauna.’’
Mouflons live mostly in the wild remote mountains of Paphos Forest, away from people, so it is very rare for a human to see one in Cyprus. Hence the Mouflon and enclosure in Platania, where anyone can visit. The fenced area is completely safe for the visitors and off course for the well being of the Mouflons.
It is very disappointing that most Cypriots don’t even know the existence of this place, even though it is next to the most popular picnic site in Cyprus ‘’Platania Picnic Area’’ and along one of the main roads leading to Troodos.
Pano Amiantos area which is now uninhabitable, was a mining village of ‘’Asbestos’’ (= Amiantos) and its inhabitants were mostly the mine workers. At a lower altitude you can find Kato Amiantos area which is habitable and both communities after 2005 joined and named after “Amiantos”.
We visited Pano Amiantos area, which also now hosts the Troodos Visitor Centre Geopark. Park your car outside or if you enter make sure you move your car outside before 16:00, because the area is locked and you can only move around on foot. This place is full of abandoned houses, warehouses, the mining factory and the mining sight with the centre spot which fills with water and creates an amazing picturesque scenery.
Entering any abandoned structures is not recommended by the authorities, but if you do so, you enter on your own risk. So be careful and be safe!
For the bicycle lovers, there is a bicycle route that begins in that area. You can find maps and information on Troodos Visitor Centre Geopark.
Mesa Potamos Waterfall
Mesa Potamos is the neglected child of the family of waterfalls in Cyprus. When you speak of waterfalls in Cyprus, it's always about ‘’Hantara waterfall’’, ‘’Millomeris waterfall’’ and ‘’Caledonia Waterfall’’. And maybe, about Xyliatos Dam after overflowing. Never about Mesa Potamos waterfall. Though we had a huge and hot summer, the waterfall still runs beautifully. Can’t wait to revisit during winter after it rains enough. Make sure to visit the waterfall an hour before the sunset, because it sits below high mountains and surrounded by tall trees and you will need enough light to enjoy.
On your way to Mesa Potamos waterfall, you can also visit the Monastery of St John. We stop there for a minute or two. Either religious or not, it is an interesting place to visit.
We enjoyed the sunset and we decided to head back home. Tired as we were and in need for some rest and some sweet delicacies (I mean we did a thousand of activities all day why not), we officially ended our adventure after we had some delightful Loukoumas = local doughnuts on ‘’Loukoumades Drousias’’. That was it for the day. The worst part just began: driving back home :/
Anyway guys, that was our latest road trip. We had a blast! I hope you do too. Feel free to contact me at any time and don't forget to subscribe bellow.
Until the next time. Cheers!