Stavrovouni, July 28 2019

Visiting the “green line” and a monastery

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Really?

Peaks visited:

Peak Height PF Location
Stavrovouni 668m 343m Cyprus

Sunday: Our third day on Cyprus and the main goal for the day was to visit Anne’s former colleague Mogens and his wife Asbjørg – who moved to this island seven years ago.

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Visiting Mogens and Asbjørg

They live in the town Pyla – in the southeast and close to the “green line” – the UN Interference Line that separates the Republic of Cyprus and the Occupied Cypros (since 1974).

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The “green line” is the red line on this map. The green line represents our driving this day

I came to Cyprus without having read myself up on the history, and it was really, really interesting to meet Mogens and Asbjørg, and get a proper history lesson, in addition to their perspective on the life on this island. We met at their house, and afterwards, Mogens took Anne and myself on a long and interesting drive along the UN buffer zone.

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The “green line” is the yellow line and the green track is where we drove

It was strictly forbidden to take pictures along the buffer zone, but as we went here and there, it was impossible to keep track of whether inside or outside of that zone. And on a few occasions, I accidentally took a couple of pictures when I tried to zoom in on the details along the border.

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A Turkish watchpost on the occupied side

The border certainly looked more mysterious than it was, given the fact that we could of course travel to the occupied side. But not in our rental car. That would be a great risk, from a car insurance point of view.

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A town that got evicted during the occupation. Now, a ghost town on the occupied side

Afterwards, Mogens and Asbjørg took us out to lunch at La Veranda, a restaurant where they are treated as close family. After the best Moussaka I’ve ever had, I announced that I wanted to take the check and Mogens only comment was: “good luck with that“. And as you might guess, that was impossible. Mogens and Asbjørg’s friends were their friends. End of story.

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La Veranda in Pyla – most recommended!

After lunch, we parted with Mogens and Asbjørg and thanked them so much for their hospitality. It was a very nice and rewarding visit. And I’m not thinking about the free lunch – although now I know there is actually such a thing.

Pictures (Canon 80D) from the Pyla visit:

Stavrovouni (668m)

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Stavrovouni monastery

On the way back to Limassol, we found that there was time for a hike. The Stavrovouni Monastery was easy to spot from a long distance, and that’s where we decided to go.

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Our track (yellow) up and down Stavrovouni

We drove the mountain road until we found a natural place to park, leaving us with a relatively short, but good walk to the top.

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This will be our trailhead

After 1,3km northbound, the path finally allowed us to set course for the top.

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We followed a nice path to the top!

And we had some good views along the way…

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View from the path to Stavrovouni

When we reached the car parking on top, I was worried that the Monastery had closed for the day. I could not claim a new top at the front gate. That was for certain.

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Almost there. But will we make it all the way up?

The monastery was still open, but had a couple of surprises. Bags were forbidden. So were PC’s, cameras and cell phones. OK, but the biggest surprise was that women were forbidden. I was, in lack of more proper words – pissed off. I said to Anne “let’s go”. But she said that I should go by myself. She’s such a sweetheart.

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That’s ……. conservative!

After cooling off, I went to the front gate and was told – in a language I didn’t understand – that I could not get inside wearing shorts. But the pile of trousers and a pointing finger was enough to made me get the clue. Well, “trousers” is stretching it. But at least “the potato sack” got me through the gate.

I decided not to smuggle any cameras inside, although I tried to argue strong and hard for bringing my GPS. In the end, I had to leave it. When I got to the monastery, I saw a car park and several people (workers, I presume) taking pictures of helicopters heading towards a forest fire. So much for banning cameras and cell phones…

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Anne took this picture of me on top

But, I was happy. I had been to the top of the mountain, which turned out to be a big bonus. I could always deal with the unfairness in banning women in my blog post later on. Which I am doing right now…

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View from Stavrovouni

We took the main road back to the car and sat course for our hotel in the outskirts of Limassol.

Trip statistics: 4,5km, 250 vertical meters, 1h:16m

Pictures (Canon 80D/Iphone6) from the travel hike:

Hotel Londa

Back at the hotel in Limassol, we went snorkeling and swimming before going out to dinner…

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A happy couple…

It wasn’t very exciting waters. The water was not very clear and there wasn’t really much to look at. We did see some small fish, but it was just nice to be able to walk straight from our room and into the Mediterranean sea and cool off.

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No complaints, whatsoever…

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