Twenty years ago, when Tina first visited the Troodos mountains with her family, the roads were unpaved and extremely narrow. Her Uncle Pete drives professionally, so they were in good hands, but I can’t help but think what a harrowing experience that must have been. Because twice this week, we have driven those same roads, only now they are paved…and there are guardrails everywhere. The roads are still narrow. In some places, the roads have hairpin turns with no visibility around the corner. And those particular roads will sometimes truly only accommodate a single vehicle. And occasionally, they are still unpaved.
It is a testament to the villages, scenery and beauty of the ancient churches nestled throughout the Troodos that we make this trip, not once, but twice. I think I could spend months in those mountains before I was satisfied that I had a good sense of the place…another time perhaps.
The first day, we ended up driving mostly. The map we have is not very reliable, so we were just pointing our car in the general direction and crossing our fingers. We spent a good bit of time in Platres, a beautiful and comparatively large village in the Troodos. We stopped at the Chocolate Factory for three chocolate shakes and perfectly divine “Metrio” chocolates. This is a rather unassuming little place where chocolates are made by hand. And the flavors sound incredible. I wish I could figure out how to get some back to Houston, but that is unlikely. They would be eaten halfway through the flight, I feel certain.
We ate lunch at a gorgeous second floor café called To Anoi. I simply cannot imagine why anyone here would choose to dine at any place that does not look like it came out of a storybook. We sit in plastic chairs, but the deck is beautiful and the view is stunning. Again, the indoor area of the restaurant is fairly small…everywhere here, it is clear they understand the value of the atmosphere. It is possible I will never be able to enjoy dinner out in Houston again.
But the highlight of the day was the Kaledonia falls. We climbed through gorgeous unusual trees, on a stone strewn path, beside a river rushing over stones down the mountain we just navigated up. The signage is unclear and we keep thinking the small falls we are walking by may be all there are to the falls, and this is plenty. Even the small falls are incredible and worth the hike up. We are just about to turn around and descend when we hear Jesse and Grant, who have dashed ahead of us, say “Oh My God, we found the falls.”
The heat was stifling…which is probably what prompted Jesse to walk straight into the falls. Shoes, socks, clothes…everything.
Needless to say, we all ended up hiking down the mountain soaked from head to toe.
The second trip up into the Troodos…coming soon.