Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Cyprus chapter Pafos & The West has to say about a road trip north and east of Pafos:
“The countryside around Pafos has it all: traditional crafts, village cuisine, ancient monasteries and even the birthplace of the first leader of independent Cyprus. Pafos takes in the whole range, with plenty of stops at local vineyards to sample the local vintages.
From Pafos take the B7 and look for the sign for Aphrodite’s Rock Brewery, where you can taste (and buy) craft brews. After the tasting, head for Fyti, the pretty country road winds through vineyards and orchards. In Fyti, park by the church and then duck into the Folk Art Museum.
Leave Fyti on the F725 towards Pano Panayia. The scenery Enroute is lovely, with vineyards, citrus groves and distant mountains. Stop at the Vouni Panayia Winery, a sophisticated spot for wine tasting, the Barba Yiannis dry red comes particularly recommended.
Head south along the F622 and stop at the well-signposted Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery for s simple café lunch on the terrace, accompanied by beautiful countryside views. After the town of Choulou you will pass through an abandoned village, where a 1969 earthquake forced the vast majority of villagers to relocate. It is just starting to show some signs of life again.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
I was hoping that we would get a chance to see more of the countryside while we had the rental car and I knew Duncan was planning two hikes for us on the western side of the island. One hike was on the Akamas Peninsula and the other one was to Mount Olympus in the scenic Troodos Mountains. However, when the guys learned of the possibility of spending a day touring north of Pafos, with the first stop being the Aphrodite’s Rock Brewery they announced they were keen to try the craft beers there.
Not wanting to waste a minute of our five days in the Pafos area, we set off the morning after we arrived and within an hour we were at the brewery. Donna noticed a stand on the outside patio, where the brewery was displaying the bottles of the five different brews they produce on site. While Donna and I were busy lining up the bottles and taking photographs, Anil and Duncan were busy inside ordering that the brewery called a ‘board’ of beer.
When we’ve had the opportunity sample beer back home, it’s usually called a ‘flight’ and the sample glasses are on the small side. Not so at Aphrodite’s Rock Brewery, the glasses were more substantial and we all agreed that ‘board’ was a more appropriate name for the piece of wood they used for the samples. We all declared the Octoberfest beer the best, and picked up a few to take with us.
Several of the other tables were filled with locals who had driven up from the coast for a hearty lunch, but we weren’t hungry after another one of Duncan’s grand breakfasts, so we continued along the route outlined in our guidebook. No more divided highways in this region, we were now on narrow winding roads that twisted and turned every which way.
I love to drive on these kinds of roads, especially if I’m out exploring new territory. The others seemed to be delighted to be free to take in the scenery, and I heard plenty of ‘ooos’ and ‘aaahs’ as we climbed higher and higher into the hills. Now and then I would stop so that we could take some photos to share on our travel journals. I’m pleased to say that Donna has started using the My Trip Journal site as well, now that their own retirement travels are underway.
Our next destination was the wee village of Fyti where we hoped to peek into the little stone church and visit the Folk Art Museum. We took a wrong turn now and then, but all roads lead upwards so it seemed, and they eventually converged at Fyti. We pulled up in front of a textile shop where a young woman was busy using a spinning wheel to fill bobbins for her loom.
I was so sure this was something that I could easily accomplish, as I’ve filled many a bobbin for my sewing machine over the years. I sat down and gave it a try, starting off just fine, but getting overly confident. When I took my eyes off the bobbin for just a second, the thread began to wind around the holder instead, and I made a right mess of things. I tried a second time, but with no more success than the first. Epic fail!
We abandoned the spinning wheel and went inside to see all the beautiful textiles that the women of the village produce. I hoped to find something small that I could tuck into my bag, but most of the affordable pieces held no appeal. Fortunately, the woman was very laid back, she wasn’t applying any pressure to purchase, and in the end I found a nice handkerchief for Anil.
We walked across the road to visit the little church but found it locked up tight. It was the wrong time of day for anyone to be around to open it, afternoon siesta I think. We decided to carry on to the next destination, and it wasn’t until a little later that I realized that we had missed seeing the Folk Art Museum entirely. Yet another fail!
We continued along the proscribed route, heading for the winery, when we saw a dam in the distance and decided to stop for a while and stretch our legs there. The region we were travelling through was clearly less arid that the coastal strip, and the hills in the distance were heavily forested. However, we could see that the water level in the dam was quite low after a recent period of drought, and I’m sure the locals were looking forward to the winter rainy season with great anticipation.
We reached the Vouni Panayia Winery about a half hour later and pulled in to sample their wines. As we walked towards the tasting room, both Donna and I stopped in our tracks. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw the name ‘Thelma’ above the room where traditional wine-based products are made. Thelma was our mother’s name, she died suddenly just 10 days before Donna’s 16th birthday; I was 26 and already married to Anil.
The sign certainly gave us pause; Thelma is not a very common name, and I imagine it’s not a name that Greek Cypriots would choose. We looked at each other and decided to take it as a sign that she was ‘with us’ on this journey, and appreciating the fact that her daughters enjoyed travelling the world together.
We carried on to catch up with the guys, already seated in the tasting room. We decided to forego sampling the white wines, as whites are prone to give me migraines, but so far, I’ve been able to handle the Cypriot reds just fine. We sampled four of their different reds, but I’m sorry to report that we found them all too dry. I could see that the young man who waited on us was taken aback, but there’s no use purchasing wine that no one likes.
I had really hoped to support their business a little, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Fortunately, there was a large group of travellers from the United Arab Emirates there, a lively bunch, clearly enjoying the wine so all was not in vain for our server. As I was leaving, I noticed that they were selling honey and some huckleberry jelly, so I purchased a jar of jelly to add to our breakfast menu.
By now we were really beginning to get a little hungry, so we pushed on towards the Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery where we planned to have lunch. Unfortunately, when we arrived a large group was just preparing to leave, and we learned that the provisions for the day had been pretty much depleted, but they could put together some bread, cheese and olives for us if we wished.
That didn’t appeal to us at all, so we asked them not to bother. Besides, they didn’t serve any wine or beer at the monastery, and the bread and olives needs to be washed down by something better than water. We decided to push on and see what we could find further along the road. As it turned out, most of the eateries were closed for the season and instead of carrying on to the second winery, we decided to take a more direct route back to Pafos and find something to eat there.
It’s too bad we were so late getting to the monastery. Had we been able to have a light lunch there, we would have made it to the second winery, Tsangarides. We ended up buying some of their wine several times over the course of our last week in Cyprus, their wine was very good indeed.