This time I’ve visited the country of antiquity. How did I get there? A couple of months before the New Year, I found out that the tourist club I knew was arranging a bike trip around Cyprus. I immediately had a thought: “This is such an opportunity to avoid the New Year’s madness in Russia!” (I don’t like celebrations with enormous crowds). Without thinking twice, I enrolled. Of course I did not expect difficult adventures, and, honestly, a relaxed bike ride on the weekend is also good.
Interesting fact, with an interval of about an hour, 3 flights of different airlines from 3 airports in Moscow flew to Cyprus. And participants chose different flight ways. I was not going to take a rental bike, so I chose the most comfortable way without changing airport.
I decided to pack the bike according to a tested scheme, namely in a box. But since it was already in winter, then it was not easy to get a box! It is not a season, and bicycles are not unpacked in stores, therefore there are no boxes. I asked for help in the cycling community of friends, there a kind person helped to resolve the issue with the box, great thanks to him 😌
Because were planning to sleep in apartments, there was no need to take a tent and sleeping bag. So I did not have problems with excess baggage.
Day 1 (α)
The journey began not in the year that is mentioned in the title. Departure from St. Petersburg was on December 31, 2019 at 5:50 a.m., which means that on the night before departure I had no chance to sleep.
Moscow, morning, overcast, lead sky in clouds ☁️ Take off. I sleepily sit in an armchair, staring at an armchair in front of me. The sound of the engine slightly changed the tone. And suddenly bam! Flash of light 💫 My heart skipped a beat! We flew out of the clouds, but the realization of the cause of the flash came belatedly.
My plane arrived a little earlier than it should be. And before passport control, I met Daria, who arrived on another flight. Putting a stamp in the passport, we quickly found our bicycles in a special baggage section.
The dents on the box are insignificant, it seems to be nothing, but it turned out that the brake disc was slightly bent on the front wheel. Fortunately, quite a bit, I adjusted it so that it almost didn’t shuffle about the brake pads.
We began to assemble bicycles right in the baggage claim area. All other participants of the trip flew without bicycles and, not noticing us, left the arrival area and waited outside. The last to arrive was the leader and his assistant. He went out to meet the group, and she stayed with us to assemble her bike.
The rented bikes were supposed to be delivered directly to the airport. However, the lessor cheated. Like he did not have a car, and indeed it is the New Year, day off. Here we must pay tribute to the leader, he found another bike lessor, rented a car, delivered all the participants there, where they picked up bicycles, then they got to apartments.
And at this time, our assembly was delaying. Daria and I had assembled bikes, but the leader assistant had troubles. The reason is the self-made rack.
It didn’t want to get into place. The three of us had to use force to align the holes and tighten bolts. As we later found out, we installed it incorrectly.
I found out from the workers that I can leave the bicycle box at the airport, they will take it for recycling.
Finally we moved to the apartments. They were not very far, but we had to get used to riding on ring roads with left-hand traffic 😵 We finished when it started to get dark.
The group gathered in one of the apartments and the participants knew each other. Guides (the leader and the assistant) bought food, and we did New Year’s dinner 🎄 Someone made a wish: “More adventures!” … well … it came true.
Day 2 (β)
After breakfast, we began to prepare for the first ride day. Briefing, warming up in the sun. The weather that day pleased, it was sunny and breezy.
Not far from the start, we turned off the road to see a mosque. It was closed.
We got out of the city quickly enough. Then all day we was riding along the highway. Limassol is our destination.
A few things caught my eye:
🔹 There are few cars. Compared to St. Petersburg, the difference is huge! Yes, there are enough of them in cities, but not enough to feel like in a city built for cars, not for people, everything is not parked around. There is also a different driving culture. Of course, more civilized. You (the cyclist) will not be endangered by cars trying quickly overtake you on a narrow road.
🔹 Ecology. This is a consequence of the first item. The air is clean. Even along the highway you pick an orange from a tree, you are not obsessed by the thought that it is dirty. Roadsides and territories adjacent to it are not covered with a layer of dust of heavy metals.
🔹 Use of space. What do you see when move along the highway? Thickets of weeds. In Cyprus, all the lands along the roads are well-groomed. These are either sown fields 🌾 or gardens. Orange/mandarin gardens are everywhere! 🍊
In the middle of the route, lunch on a glade with a bench off the coast.
Here the first adventures began. One of the participants of the campaign (not revealing names, let’s call her Nadezda) began to whine that she had rubbed her ass and didn’t know whether she could go further.
The day before, in the apartment, she said that she had ridden a couple of times on a bicycle, and that she had informed the manager about it before registration. Why the manager allowed her to participate is a big mystery for everyone, including guides.
However, now the instructor applied his rhetorical skills and convinced her to sit down and move on.
However, we drove another quarter of today’s route, as Nadezda said that she could no longer put up with the pain of sitting in the saddle, that she needed to catch the bus. After a little reflection, we decided that the group would go further. The instructor’s assistant stayed with Nadezda to help her catch something. The place, actually, was not the best, the whole civilization that was observed was a couple of houses on the hill.
I decided to close the group. However, after some time I overtook Marianne, she was driving too slowly. There was a climb uphill. I realized that I began to see poorly. It was twilight, and I was wearing sunglasses. Having stopped on the mountain, I changed my glasses to night ones. At the same time, I decided to wait for Marianne, and not in vain. After she got to me, I saw that she has a half flat tire, and it’s difficult to ride. I tried to pump it, but I couldn’t put the pump on the valve stem, it fell inward. I decided that I go forward to the leader to inform him of the problem.
Then there was a descent, so I rushed off with a breeze. Because the group has already left far, I managed to enjoy the downhill from the mountain 🚵🏻♂️ After 3 km I saw the first participant. Igor stood on the side of the road with a flat tire! He acted differently, just called the leader. And it so happened that he rode up to Igor at the same time as me. He decided help Igor first, while I decided to return to Marianne and try to help her again.
Having overcome 3 km already uphill, I saw that the assistant reached Marianne. She caught a car quite quickly, they agreed to take Nadezda to the target hotel for that day. We tried fix the tire again, unsuccessful. We decided to replace the inner tube, but it turned out that the wheel was attached not with a quick release skewer, but with nuts. I decided to go to the leader again, to say that wrench is needed. But literally a kilometer later we met, he had been riding towards me, and we returned to Marianne. He didn’t take a wrench. I pressed the wheel with a stone, so we managed to put a pump on the valve and pump up the wheel. The puncture was slow, so it was possible to ride for a while. The four of us drove to Igor, and there a real repair started.
In order not to be bored, I decided to go ahead to the group. Because quite a lot of time has passed, they were obviously worried, being in unawareness. I was given a walkie-talkie to let leader know as soon as I get there.
1.5 – 2 km, and I reached the rest part group. I told them what was going on behind. The radio didn’t work across the hill.
Waiting with the group was boring, and I wanted to ride, so I went back to the repairing group, maybe I would be able help with something. A whole workshop was set up there, inner tubes, tyres and tools lay everywhere. After 20 minutes, the repair was done and everyone got onto the saddle.
Limassol was not far away. For a while we rode around the city itself along a bicycle road, it was cool there!
We got to the hotel, settled by numbers. But dinner was arranged together in one room, where there was a stove. This evening we pulled out paper with names for playing secret Santa 🎅
Day 3 (γ)
The morning was overcast, it was light rain.
First of all, we visited a bike shop (literally 200m from the hotel) to buy spare inner tubes.
After it, the movement began. We had ridden 300-500 meters, we are waiting for the tail in a fork of the road. But it didn’t appear, the leader went back to see what happened.
After some time, the leader with the assistant returns, and this is what happened. Today Nadezda (a woman with a rubbed ass) decided to still try to overcome today’s distance. But she fell and harmed a leg, she decided to get off the trip. The guides brought her to the hotel where we spent the night, since it was a stone’s throw away.
The group, of course, breathed a sigh of relief, because it could go further more quickly. Conclusion! Do not rush into adventures that you obviously can’t overcome.
We went along a cycle lane along the sea. Nice view! And the weather quickly got better 🌞
We stopped at a quay to take a couple of pictures.
Today, the plans were to visit several attractions. The first of them is Kolossi Castle. I won’t tell historical facts about it, because I don’t not remember them 😅
The second place was an archaeological park. Since it is located on a mountain, in order to see it, it was necessary to overcome the incredible steepness of the climb along the road. I was able to ride my bike without dismounting 😎 In general, all the climbs were easy for me, apparently I have a very light lower gear. Or maybe my paws are strong 🤣
I really liked this park. As for me it was the best place for the whole trip!
Then we rode up and down the mountains. And in the dark, for we did not keep track of time.
Finally got to the finish line, the town of Pissouri. The owner of the apartments did not wait for us, but he kindly left a note stating which houses we should move into, keys were in the doors 🏠 The apartments themselves were gorgeous!
Day 4 (δ)
On this day the weather was cloudy, periodically it was raining lightly. The day began with a climb uphill. The climb was long enough. But I liked it. During it, for the first time, we saw how the land was ennobled along roads in the mountains. Gardens (olive and unknown to me trees) look like small islands cascading along the slope. I was constantly pleased with such views in the following mountain days.
At first we planned to visit the stone of Aphrodite that day. But before we reached it, we stopped at the observation platform, from where it also could be seen.
We arrived at the sight. It is curious that in order to go ashore to the stone, one must go through an underground tunnel.
If this place had not been a sight associated with the goddess, I think no one would have thought of stopping at this place. However, there were tourists around. I didn’t climb the rocks, because bicycle shoes didn’t allow me, and there was no mood.
Further along the movement, orange and mandarin orchards was met often. And near by one of them the group stopped to hmm… to do a degustation of fresh fruits. Honestly, I didn’t really like the idea to hang around in this garden and try the oranges right here, comparing a sour orange from one tree with a sour orange from another. As for me, better is just take a couple of them, and then try in a more calm atmosphere, in fact, I did so. Moreover, further there were many gardens.
Apparently the theft of oranges was not unnoticed, and the sky punished us by shower. Fortunately, we passed some kind of shed, under which the trucks stood. We hid under it, but there was an angry dog on a chain that barked tirelessly at us.
Lunch was arranged in a canal, which remained after the dumping of water by the dam.
Shortly after lunch, a cycle line began. It was very long! I liked to ride on it. It brought us to Paphos. But it was not our final destination today.
In Paphos, while the guides were buying food, we were walking along the beach.
Then we headed to the place of spending the night. This is the town of Peyia. The situation is almost like with the previous place. There was no one at the reception. The leader called the contact number. He was told how to get to the reception desk and what keys should be taken 😀 Then we searched for our apartments for a long time, because the complex itself is huge! There, as in labyrinths, moreover, it was already dark.
This time the rooms were even more chic! That’s just wi-fi didn’t work. Formally, it was, but even transmitting the text in the messenger was not always possible for it. That evening, we not only had a pleasant dinner, but even played board games.
Day 5 (ε)
The morning pleased, for it was sunny. And we got enough sleep, because start in this day was later.
We were housed in houses in different parts of the apart-complex, and we had to go 150 meters for breakfast, but it was nice in the sun. The apartments themselves were all two-story, not often we have chance to live in such a luxury 😀 Great news was that we will spend the next night here again. Why? Today we have a radial route.
Lightly (without backpacks) we hit the road. Almost all way was along a cycle lane. Today’s landscapes were banana gardens. However, they were all green. We grabbed a bit for a tasting. Someone found yellow. Yellow tastes pretty good. I was carrying a bunch of green bananas to the end of the campaign in the hope that it would turn yellow. But no, I returned to St. Petersburg with the greens. And in St. Petersburg a week later they didn’t turn yellow, they just started to dry out 😕
Gradually approaching the sea, at some point we turned and rode away from it. The goal was Avakas Gorge. This is a tourist place. I think in the high season it is crowded with people, but now there were few people there.
Before entering the gorge we were covered by heavy rain, we waited for it finished under the roof of a gazebo.
In the beginning was the first ford. So to speak, it invited us to enter 😈
Then there was a very beautiful trail under the arch of low trees.
Further, the path constantly changed the bank of the gorge, we constantly had to cross fords. At first, everyone didn’t want to take off their shoes and carefully tried to cross fords stepping by stones.
But as a result, everyone had to walk up the gorge in the water. Of course, there’s nowhere to go, everyone had taken off their shoes. Except me, for I was the wisest and brought sandals with me, in which, without fear of getting wet, I easily overcame fords jumping on stones 🤸♂️ And further, walking in water, it was difficult for people walking barefoot, for there were angular stones and it was necessary to go carefully, for me, underwater stones were not a problem.
Lunch was arranged right there in the gorge. We found a dry place where all could fit. What delicious canned tuna was 😋 I once took tuna canned food, it was completely tasteless, I haven’t bought it anymore. And here I was pleasantly surprised.
After the gorge we went to the seashore. For a short time, just to take some photos.
Above, perhaps I was wrong in saying that I liked the archaeological park the most. I think, with a small margin, the Avakas gorge wins.
Today we spent the night in the same apartment, which I was glad 😌
Day 6 (ϛ)
We had ridden that day quite a bit. Before lunch, we got to Paphos and settled in the apartments. Where also wi-fi did not work.
Leaving bikes, we went on foot to see the archaeological park of Paphos.
We bought tickets, walked around the park quite a bit, to the first benches, where we had lunch. Having eaten sandwiches and a cupcake with tea, we went to see the sights. The main attractions were mosaics.
You can even walk along some mosaics. Very pleasant 😌 Even through the trekking boots it is felt. That’s when I buy a house for myself, I’ll hire the ancient Greeks so that they’ll make me mosaic paths 😆
There was also the castle of Saranta Kolones – the ruins of the castle with fallen granite columns. While the group looked at the ruins, the leader and I sat on one of the columns. Then I accidentally voiced my thought aloud: “Do we have enough strength to move her together?”. Denis seemed to be shocked 😮 He perked up and said: “Let’s try!”.
It’s probably not very good to move archaeological sites. But in my defense, we were not the first, there are prints on many columns indicating that they are being moved.
There were other places of interest in the park: an amphitheater, a lighthouse (this is a modern lighthouse, it is not part of the park, but it stands almost on the border of it), some grottoes. But they didn’t really impress me.
We returned to the apartments before sunset. Before dinner, we had free time, and most, including me, decided to walk around Paphos. What surprised me was the many hotels along the sea, despite the fact that there is no beach there, only a stone-wooden quay and a rocky shore.
In the evening, as usual, was dinner. The apartments were spacious but looked cheap. And huge cockroaches lived there!
Day 7 (ζ)
Well… It’s time to move back. While we rode west along the sea, we would ride east, towards the airport, through the mountains.
The biggest climb was coming that day. And the weather began to use trump cards. The storm began.
The wind was very strong, the sky was overcast, but there was no rain in the morning, although later it periodically covered us. And in general, it wasn’t so cold until we climbed higher. There was even a small bonus. Because the wind blew from the sea, and we climbed the mountains from the sea, then it helped us a little, pushing us in the back.
Dinner was arranged in a glade near the road. And as soon as I’d made a sandwich, shower began 💦 I was afraid that my sandwich would get wet before I eat it, and in general my equipment is not so waterproof, so I took serious action to protect it from rain. I took out my raincoat and made a tent of myself.
Further along the way, heavy rain covered a couple more times. We were hiding under the trees.
There were no sights today. Almost. Already after getting dark we arrived at the place of spending the night. And it was a sight in itself. Today we spent the night in an old two-story villa. We occupied both floors. Below was a huge living room, where we spent the evening, and a couple of bedrooms. Upstairs were mostly bedrooms. Comfort created a fireplace, which we were allowed to light.
After dinner, we just sat in armchairs and basked by the fireplace. Outside the door, the storm raged. Wind, rain, lightnings.
It was that we turned on several voracious electrical appliances (stove, water heater, heater), the lights went out because blew a fuse. We had to restart the electrical fuse which was outside. This is an unpleasant feature of Cyprus, a house/apartment has a power limit of ~3 kW. It’s quite a few.
But here at some point the light went out, and it was not possible to restart it. It turned out that electricity disappeared throughout the area. It was sad, because in the villa there were 5 mm gaps near the windows and doors, and it was possible to heat the rooms only with heaters. Fortunately, there were a lot of blankets. I took advantage of a thick blanket and two plaids, I was comfortable 🙂
Day 8 (η)
Today we continued to climb. Distance was ridiculous, but almost all the way up the hill. There was no wind, but it rained steady. And it was very cold, something around 5 °C. This day I was the most frozen 🥶
On the way we visited an old town. It is notable for its narrow stone streets (although there are many places in Cyprus with such streets), there we visited the monastery.
Further, in the next town, while the leaders were buying provisions for dinner, people looked into the chocolate shop. There was a large assortment of handmade sweets. I looked in and immediately left the store, for I didn’t want to look at sweets when I was already hungry, I understood that this would only cause the pangs of hunger. Although maybe in vain, because the guys were treated to candy.
Not far from apartments small heaps of snow were noticeable. Cyprus and snow! While in St. Petersburg there was no snow. We settled in small, but damn cozy houses.
Today was Christmas (according to the Gregorian calendar)! That evening we arranged for a presentation of gifts of secret Santa’s 🎅 I got some delicious sweets 🍬
День 9 (θ)
Today we have significantly reduced the distance between us and the airport. However, the weather was nasty. It was heavy raining almost all day, it was very unpleasant to ride. This day I even put on a raincoat, because my windbreaker couldn’t stand it.
We were going to have lunch under a canopy in the courtyard of the church, but there was a cafe next to it with a marquee that looked like a greenhouse for cucumbers. We were allowed to have meal in this marquee. There we managed to warm ourselves at least a little. Then all day we went up and down. There was nothing unusual. Or maybe I just was frozen and due to a bad mood I didn’t notice the unusual. The sunset was beautiful, at least.
We reached the apartments again in the dark. This time the apartments are located in the old town of Tochni. The town is a labyrinth of narrow stone streets, and to get into your apartment, you need to go under the arch, turn around the corner, up the stairs. Honestly, it’s interesting. And the apartments themselves are an interesting combination of old and new. For example, the kitchen and bathroom are modern, with old windows with shutters and doors with stained glass windows.
It was the last night in Cyprus. The main topics among the group members were what was remembered mostly and what was the plan for tomorrow, because airports and baggage are always cause worrying.
Day 10 (ι)
We had to get up very early today. At 4:45, in Moscow it is 3:45. We had a quick breakfast, because it was impossible to linger today, the planes will not wait.
The weather got better today, it was warmer, and the sun came out. The leader remained in the apartment, the group was led by an assistant. Why? Do you remember Nadezda who rubbed her ass? She flew home 2-3 days after she outed the group. And she left the rented bicycle at the hotel, didn’t bother to take it to the company, which gave it, although the company was not far from the airport. As a result, the leader took a taxi to Limassol to the hotel to pick up the bike, and from there went immediately to the lessor. And there he was waiting for the group.
Meanwhile, we pedaled nicely. Today I remember a lot of windmills on the hills along the road.
At the entrance to Larnaca, we rode through the farm. There heaps of manure lay near the road. Due to the rain in some places, it spread out on the road so that it was impossible to go around. So some of us brought sticked to wheels pieces of Cypriot manure to St. Petersburg 💩
Upon reaching the airport, the group split up. Guys on rented bicycles went to the lessor to give them back. We stayed at the airport to disassemble and pack our bikes. We had enough time, so this happened without any haste.
Then we checked in without any troubles, except for there was crowded on passport control. And then… bye bye, Cyprus!
I had a connecting flight. In Moscow I arrived approximately at 7 p.m. There was enough time, I walked slowly to my terminal, found the gate and sat in the corner next to the sleeping soldiers. I was also terribly sleepy, remember when I had to get up? I dove into time killers in my phone. I couldn’t miss the boarding because I was sitting next to the gate, so I did not follow the time. After some time, I suddenly hear something like: “Boarding ends … to St. Petersburg”, then I immediately paid attention what they repeat. Indeed, they announced the completion of boarding my flight! It turned out that I mixed up the gate numbers, that I sat near a wrong gate. It was not far from my gate, so I was not late, not even the last one.
And here I am in St. Petersburg. I’m going to the baggage claim area and wondering if my bike has arrived?.. After all, in my previous trip it didn’t arrive. I stand at the special baggage claim area. A worker with a large trolley comes, he just started unloading, as I hear from his walkie-talkie: “There is also a bicycle here”. In the second approach he brought my bike.
I got home at 1 a.m. It turns out that I hadn’t been sleeping for 21 hours and 15 minutes. And in the morning I had to go to work 😭 Luckily, it was the last day before weekend, so I somehow overcame that day 🧟♂️
At home, when I unpacked and assembled the bike, everything was OK, except for one. A bolt, connecting front caliper to the fork, was bent. I unscrewed the caliper before the flight and stuck it inside the fork, and screwed the bolts back so that the washers were not lost. They didn’t screwed to the end, and, apparently, there was not a slight pressure that the bolt bent.
Of course, the weather at the end spoiled the impression. The pace was also not mine, I would move faster and could see more, but I don’t complain about it, I knew where I was going and in general I expected a light ride on holidays.
But to be honest, I had a wonderful time! I’ve taken a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively. In any case, if I have stayed in St. Petersburg, there wouldn’t have been so much fun 🙂
This was the first time I had gone somewhere for the New Year holidays. And maybe it’s worth to make it the rule.
Values from Strava, so accuracy is so-so.
Distance: 425.84 km
Max height: 1092 m
Elevation gain: 5805 m