The first part of my stay in Cyprus was with my cousin Androula in Treis Elies at her lodge Spitiko tou Archonta. Her daughter had come over from the UK where she now lives, together with her boyfriend and his mother for the family wedding of a cousin. Androula had organised various outings and one of them was a safari trip to visit three of the remaining Venetian bridges, there is also another Venetian Bridge on the edge of Treis Elies at the start of a nature trail over the Dragon river, a beautiful tranquil spot. The plan was to follow some rough tracks through the forest together with a friend of Androula’s from the village, Yiannakis, driving his trusty Landrover which he had had for many years, this would be of great assistance when we needed to cross the river. I had arrived in time to join them on this rare adventure. We set off with a picnic of course including the most welcome inclusion of some cold Keo beer.
Our second stop was the most visited and easily accessible Kelefos Bridge, this is a very elegant bridge, a beautiful shady area offering multi layered dappled light afforded by the mature trees nearby. This being September there was only a small amount of water in the river but it still offered a cooling effect. A paddle is almost obligatory it welcomes you so.
To view the last bridge it absolutely was obligatory to paddle across the slippery stones, not a chore on a hot day. This is the Roudia Bridge. All these bridges were built in the time of the Venetian rule in the 15th century in Cyprus to allow the pack animals, often camels, to carry the copper or any other ore they could find , across the rivers down to Paphos.
Some of the roads are just forest rack and need a sturdy 4 wheel drive vehicle to navigate. On our way through the forest we stopped at a popular picnic site with freely available mountain water to drink, and plenty of tables and cooking sites for your soulvla should you want to make a real event of it. We were headed for a different picnic site.
Yiannakis went on ahead crossing the river several times to scout out places in the river where it was deep enough for a swim and settled on a beautifully serene spot where there was not another soul to be seen. Here we parked ourselves by the river and drank our beer and chatted as the eggs were peeled and salad made . Several relaxing hours passed
and Androula and Sylvia took the plunge in the cold but beautifully refreshing river pool, while the others went off exploring. This is a side to Cyprus most visitors don’t know or get to see, I highly recommend making the effort it will not disappoint if you love the countryside. There are many indigenous plants and flowers unique to Cyprus and you will find many off them here. The routes are available on maps from the tourist information offices dotted around the island.