After having a couple of splendid days in the Cyprus sun we were forewarned that the weather yesterday was going to probably be a little cloudier and overcast. With this in mind we decided that we would do our biggest day of driving and head up the Troodos Mountains to visit the Monastery of Kykkos and have a look at Mount Olympus from afar. I say from afar because I have been well traversed in Greek mountain ranges and the roads they house from trips with my mother, and I don’t like them. To put it mildly. We had been told to take the road to Limassol and then head up but looking on the map this seemed to take two hours and there seemed to be a much quicker route if we went up the hill from Paphos and then headed down (an admittedly winding and smaller) subsidiary road. Well who was the crazy person who thought that was a good idea? Oh me. And who was the person who spent the three (yes three, because that road really was lesser and really was windy) hours a complete bag of nerves and angst? Oh yes me. I thought I wouldn’t get up most of these roads…
And this was only half way. I had to get out on a few occasions to have a walk and calm down, seriously. Anyway by the time we were at the top of what seemed the biggest mountain I saw that we still had another monster to go and might have said a slightly ruder version of ‘I am not really fussed about visiting that monastery thank you, I would rather go back’. The Beard however popped the child lock on and carried on regardless till we arrived at Kykkos.
I have to say I was really unimpressed and might have muttered a slightly ruder version of ‘well this isn’t quite what I was expecting’. However once inside I was hushed, and not just because you have to stay very quiet so as not to disturb the monks. The walls are covered in some of the most stunning mosaics and they are covered in gold.
This was just one of the entrances but from the moment you walk in there are these absolutely beautiful mosaics around every corner.
We then went into the church and I nearly let out a small profanity because what greeted us in there was something quite unlike anything I have ever seen before. (Note. I have stolen this picture from the internet because we weren’t allowed to take any photos and I followed those orders.)
To be fair no picture could actually do it justice as when you walk in it is very dark and your eyes adjust and you turn the corner and the gold and paintwork are almost blinding. I am not personally religious but the devotion, detail and downright splendour of it all left me feeling quite breathless and moved. The Beard was grumbling something along the lines of ‘imagine how many children that could feed’ but let’s not focus on that. I was just quite astounded by it all.
After exiting via the shop, no really, where I got a tiny book on a keyring (which turned out to not be a book but a collection of mini photos) and some olive oil made by monks for The Beard’s mother, we headed home, or what we thought was home. We followed the signs to Paphos only seemed to go on a bigger road in another direction. I was fine with this, until we started going higher and then became surrounded by snow all of a sudden…
Yes, remember that Mount Olympus I mentioned that I wanted to view from afar? Well suddenly we were on it and heading for the very top which is actually a ski resort because it is so high, so snowy and on this particular day was actually in the clouds. Imagine how much I loved that. I may have said a slightly ruder version of ‘oh dear’ a few times on the climb. Though when we got out it was quite something.
From sunshine and the sea to snow in less than 24 hours. Quite unbelievable, but quite marvellous too. And well done to Bluebell the blue Nissan Note who became friend then foe and then saviour all over again several times. I think she needs a special mention.
We were very grateful to be back at our hotel and by the safety of the pool, back in the sunshine again with a very strong cocktail for my poor nerves, later that afternoon with terrifying yet also incredible memories of quite an unusual day. Cyprus has really been spoiling us.