We aimed for Kakopetria, north of the Troodhos Mountains,having being told that it was a pretty village that had retained its original character due to the issuing of a government preservation order in the mid 1970’s. We were a little disappointed as it’s clear that Kakopetria has milked its reputation and established eateries and gift shops along the main street. We saw a couple of restored buildings and the water mill and enjoyed a leisurely walk along the river bank but we did not linger too long. There’s a substantial church on the hill (with loads of free parking around it) but the doors were locked so we could only speculate how fine it might have been.
Next we headed for the village of Troodos, an unremarkable place, but some superb views on route. We pulled in at a recommended "viewpoint" and took in the beauty of the wooded area and the magnificent vista of the Troodhos Mountains. Asbestos was mined here prolifically between 1904-88 and this ancient ocean bed now resembles China’s terraced rice fields as man has "layered" the scenery to assist in the mining operation. Today there is an intense re-forestation programme to restore "natural beauty" to the heights of Cyprus.
Mount Olympus just had to be visited because it’s the highest point of Cyprus. Drive as far as you can (many people had parked well short of the summit) ignore the armed defence unit at the top of Olympus and you’ll be rewarded with outstanding mountainous views and fantastic sights of the many pine, cedar and juniper trees in the region. This is area is littered with fallen cones and the air fresh with mountainous scents. The road twists and turns but you really won’t want to hurry along as the scenery is superb.
We stopped at the Overhill Restauarant, Prodromos, for a lunchtime snack (it was now 3:30pm!) – halloumi, pita bread, a huge village salad and copious ice-cold water. This was a substantial snack and we had the restaurant virtually to ourselves. The service was efficient although getting the bill was a work of art. No hurry here!
We’re too late to tour Kykkos Monastery (if you’re going here remember to wear trousers and cover your shoulders or you’ll have to hire clothes for £1 from the local store) but appreciate the magnificent of the building. From here we decide to cut through Cedar valley. I’m still not sure that this was the right move because it was a long slow journey on horrendous tracks (better in a 4x4), but we did pass through some great countryside. Often it felt like there was little supporting the road beneath us. We hung to the inside of the route in an attempt to avoid the sheer drops and thankfully met nothing in the other direction.
At the end of our "ordeal we stopped to take a photograph of a charming little church at Asprogia before heading downhill to Pafos.