Sunday, May 11, 2008

Avakas Gorge, Cyprus

The first day we had a rental car, we drove north out of Coral Bay towards Lara. We decided to hike the Avakas Gorge, which was pretty positively reviewed in our guide book and seemed like a safer drive, considering Cyprus drivers are crazy and we weren't used to left-sided driving.

Avakas Gorge steps

Most of Cyprus is composed of different types of limestone, and the Avakas Gorge cuts its way through some of the most brilliant stone. Mom and I were wearing sturdy day-hikers, and I felt a bit out of place at first, walking along a gravel trail and meeting people in flip-flops and ballet flats making their way out. I realized pretty quickly, though, that the funny looks I was getting were probably approval (or perhaps envy), because the path got rocky and slippery and rough not even a kilometre in.

I took many, many pictures of plants while in Cyprus. Not only were the plants 'different,' but nature just seems to be such a clever gardener there, full of perfectly mounding plants and different leaf textures and colour combinations. This picture, for instance, doesn't do Nature's vignette justice. I know as gardeners we "imitate nature," but it never really hit home just how true that is until I was in Cyprus. I would love to have thought up this kind of visual statement! I'd love to plant something similar using local plants and stones.

Avakas rocks

Speaking of plants - this was growing in the shade sort of close to the stream that flows through the Avakas Gorge. It looks a little bit like an allium, but I'm not certain at all.

Avakas Gorge wildflower

The upper part of the gorge has had a number of rock falls, it seems, and Mom and I were just not determined enough to try and make our way over them, without any probably reward for our effort. These goats weren't having much difficulty making their way, however (did you know they were there before I mentioned them?). Most of the goats we saw in the gorge were tagged, so they must belong to somebody. I'd hate to be the goat herd rounding them up.

Avakas goats

This is a view from the rockslide area back toward where the gorge narrows. There were actually quite a few goats climbing around on the cliffs. Their bleats were very piercing, even louder than the swallows and crows.

Avakas gorge wide

This is Mom in the gorge. It really was magical.

Avakas gorge boulder

The weather while we were in Cyprus was, for the most part, unseasonably warm (Thirty degrees C, and I melt anywhere above 25 degrees). Not knowing there was a closer parking lot, we parked half a kilometre away from the trail head, on the far side of a very exposed, hot hill (with a lush, enticing orange grove mocking us in the valley down below). We rewarded ourselves for our hard, sweaty hike by jaunting a bit further up the main road, to the north beach at Cape Lara, best known for being the breeding site of Leatherback turtles. It was still a month or two before egg laying season, though, so the beach was still open to visitors. We dipped our feet in the Mediterranean and then sat on the sand and ate greek-style pitas with eggplant dip before calling it a day.

Lara beach


Sacred Suzie said...

Astounding! Absolutely astoundingly beautiful and your photos are breathtaking. I will come back and thank you for this breath of fresh air.

Thank you for the condolences, it hasn't been easy in this wasteland at all and being so far away without a car. I appreciate you truly understanding what I am dealing with, it's hard to describe to others. :)

L-girl said...

Wow, this is beautiful. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

Wow this must be an old post because I'm pretty sure that big stone had long fallen when I was there last month.

But it's a great place for photography and hiking, check out the photos I got at