Cyprus’s Larnaca Airport welcomed the inaugural flight of Qatar Airways on 29 April 2014. Marhaba joins the inaugural flight and will be posting updates from Cyprus.
We leave Larnaca and visit a notable mosque, Hala Sultan Tekke, which is revered by Turkish Cypriots on account of its link to the Prophet Mohammed. Interestingly it is situated on a green island surrounded by a salt lake. We then enjoyed an excellent drive inland and up into the hills, giving wonderful panoramas of wide verdant valleys. As the road becomes narrower and winds around hairpin bends we enter Arsos – a typically peaceful village where life moves to a slower beat.
And a serious alternative to mainstream hotels presents itself: a traditional village house renovated and converted into deluxe accommodation for either one or more couples looking to chill out in peaceful and serene quiet. Arsos is one such village and Arsorama is an exquisite blend of traditional and modern accommodation, while at the same time being in easy reach of ancient churches and monuments, folkloric museum and nature trail. The owners of the house – which is actually separate family rooms around a central courtyard – treated us to a delicious array of home-cooked delicacies.
One of our party is actually considering Arsorama to be the perfect place for his planned family reunion. Brother and sister both now married with families and living in different countries and parents still living in the old family home could all be reunited and mingle in the courtyard. The parents (and kids) would love it!
On to another much busier village, Omodos, which specialises in providing locally-made produce for the many visitors who pass through and where lunch in a local tavern includes not only interesting presentations of local favourite delicacies bit also entertainment in the form of singers serenading diners with acoustic guitar and the unique eight-string buzuki. In fact our lunch at the very welcoming ‘Stou Kir Yianni’ tavern turned into a joyous three-hour festival of fine food and song and dance where people from adjoining tables joined in and became friends. So not all villages are tranquil retreats!
Then up winding roads through the forested hills to Troodos. How high is Troodos? Well, I am not sure but my ears were popping and it was decidedly chilly when we got there. People love to come here for the cool air, a proposition that people in Doha will find more and more attractive as the temperatures ramp up in the Gulf.
Author: Terry Sutcliffe