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November 26th, 2010 | Cyprus

Riding in Cyprus – Last Ride to Pafos

I had been to Pafos on two previous occasions but not had the opportunity to visit any of the many attractions the area has to offer… I had either arrived in the town too late in the afternoon, or had enjoyed my visit with Lucien and Sandra too much to cut it short and go exploring…

Romos Kotsonis, Secretary of the BMW Motorrad Riders of Cyprus, very kindly offered to guide me through the area, as he had some business to attend to there… I accepted his offer with alacrity, knowing that I would benefit from his local knowledge of the area…

It turned out to be an action packed and very busy day, that saw me leave my hotel at 6.oo am, and return almost 13 hours later…!!

The Romos Route - Limassol to Pafos and back...

The ride began with a visit to the pebble-strewn beach known as Ladies Mile, south of Limassol...

During the course of the day, we rode on every imaginable surface…

From the usual immaculate asphalt roads of Cyprus, to the more difficult and demanding dirt tracks of the interior… We were sent down a steep and winding strip of narrow concrete in the middle of nowhere, by a well meaning farmer; found ourselves “temporarily lost” in a narrow secluded valley; crossed a dry river bed, filled with rocks and boulders; then made our way up into the mountains again, on a dirt road, that had clouds of fine dust billowing in our wake…

It is safe to say that we “had seen it all” in one day…!!

The day went by in a blur, and to write a detailed post describing it all would have me staying here, locked in my hotel room, for a few more days, and that, while strangely desirable, is not what I can afford to do…

I took 345 photographs, and shot 30-odd short video clips; visiting three Unesco World Heritage Sites; Catacombs; umpteen Churches and Monasteries; a Castle; many out of the way and off the beaten track villages; climbed from down at sea level to up over 1 000 m.a.s.l, and had it not been for the sinking sun, would probably stayed out even longer, and seen even more…!!

A little early morning off-road, just to get the juices flowing... This was a "short-cut" back to the main road, and took us through a Eucalyptus forest, where logging was taking place...

We passed through the British Military Base at Episkopi, south-west of Limassol...

Romos proved to be a very willing and knowledgeable guide, who clearly takes great pride in the history of his island… He rattled off facts and figures that had my head reeling…!!

Having covered most of the island on his many out-rides over the years, (but not all, as we were to discover later…!!) he knew the best routes between places, and endeavored to show me a part of Cyprus that I would have otherwise never encountered…

Difficult to decide which one to look out for...!! The bra's or the goats...!!

Suffice to say, it was one of the best days I have spent riding in Cyprus, and I am extremely grateful to him for taking the time to give me a rare glimpse into places that not many tourists would ever get to…

In order to show as many of these places as possible, without making this posting far too long, I have broken it up into the various spots we visited and hope that the photos will tell most of the story…

We left Limassol at just after 7.00am, rode through the centre of the city that was already bustling with traffic, and then passed the Salt Lake west of town to get to the long pebble beach known as Ladies Mile… At that time of the morning, not a single member of the fairer sex was about…!!

We then rode through a Eucalyptus forest for a few kilometres to get back onto the tarred road. We stopped at a tiny church carved into solid rock, where a young lady was arranging flowers on a table in the gloomy darkness of the interior…

The British Military Base of Episkopi is located on the peninsula that juts out to sea in this area, and I was amazed at the size of the apartment blocks that have been built to house the soldiers stationed here… They are all tucked into little valleys, and look to be part of a holiday resort, complete with sporting facilities…!!

The road that runs along the coast, parallel to the motorway, took us through Pissouri, and then onto Petra Tou Romiou, Aphrodites Birthplace… Despite the large sign warning visitors not to climb up onto the rock, Romos advised that this sign was more of a “suggestion” than anything else, and within in minutes we had clambered to the top… We stood puffing and panting at the pinnacle, promising ourselves that we would stop smoking in the very near future…!!

The views from the top were spectacular… The early morning sun glinted off the waters of the bay, highlighting the limestone rocks that littered the sea at the base of Petra Tou Romiou…

We stopped at Aphrodites Birthplace, and climbed to the top of the rock...

From atop the rock, I could look down onto other rock formations in the sea below, and watch the seabirds wheeling around their nesting places...

View back towards where we had parked the bikes... This is a very pretty stretch of coastline...!!

The circle represented the Earth to me, and I was on a journey to ride around it...!!

Back on the beach, under the warning sign that we had hung our jackets ion before starting our climb, Romos found a large smooth rock with a circle of white marble in it’s centre… He handed it to me, suggesting that I keep it as a memento of our visit here…

I hefted the rock in my left hand, deciding that it was too big and heavy to carry around with me… A photo of it would have to suffice…!! To me, the white circle represented far more than just a pretty rock…

Our next stop was in the village of Yeroskipou, east of Pafos, where once again, ignoring the very visible signs that this was a pedestrian zone and that no motorcycles were allowed there, we rode past the tables of an outdoor restaurant in a large open square, and parked directly in front of the Church of Agia Paraskevi… This five domed Byzantine place of worship, dates back to the 11th Century, and pilgrims on their way to visit the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite, stopped here to rest in the Holy Gardens, which is where the village takes its name from…

Our first stop east of Pafos, was in Yeroskipou, and the Church of Agia Paraskevi...

Romos than led me through the town of Pafos, showing me which places I should visit, while he was away attending to some business matters that he had arranged… Once he was sure I had my bearing, he roared off into the distance, and left me to contemplate the next few hours and the sites that interested me…

It was barely 9.00am, and I had already covered 160 km, and seen more than I would normally see in a day…!! I had a feeling that this day was going to be a very long one…!!

©GBWT 2010

4 comments to Riding in Cyprus – Last Ride to Pafos

  • Scooter Boy

    Good work….a long day for sure….You guys probably never stopped to eat or even for coffee..right…? If Scooter Boy was there you”d have done only half the distance…
    Anyway, you won’t believe Vietnam…if you ever can pull yourself away from good old Cyprus and actually get here…. And thanks to Romos for his great guide service….I wish i could have been along…

  • Hey Buddy..!! Yeah, a great day…!! You would have taken strain…!! We would have had to have a support vehicle for your food and beverage requirements…!! But we did stop for coffee a few times, believe it or not… But no food…!! I was chewing on my arm by the time I got back to the hotel…!! R.

  • These are the memories you carry for ever the unexpected ones …. things you would usually do and see just fade away, but, with a good company, somehow you forget even the essentials … such as food :/
    Glad you enjoyed it … i know i did!
    Cant wait for more of your story.

  • Mark Behr

    What an unexpected, awesome day. These are the days that stay with you because you realise just how blessed you are.

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