New for Old

Another busy week it seems has passed and now I find myself looking ahead as the time is getting closer when I will have to leave this lovely island. I am trying to fit in a trip to Larnaca area and join up all the other little trips I need to do before I go. So I will probably be on a round road trip stopping at Kalavassos for a few nights then on to Nicosia for a final visit with relatives and then coming across to visit Androula in Treis Elies for a few days before returning back to Polis for my final week. It doesn’t seem possible that the time has gone so quickly.

On Sunday my cousin Androula celebrated her 60th birthday by organising a wonderful get together at Platania picnic site in the Troodos forest. It is fairly close to Nicosia taking about 45 minutes to drive. For us coming from Polis it was a longer journey of two hours. I went with my cousin Nicos and some friends followed us. We all took something to eat and drink and Androula organised the meat for the souvlakia. At these designated picnic areas there are tables and an area for cooking the souvlakia which of course is the men’s domain. Nicos took a big crate of his home grown cucumbers and a basket of lemons from his tree as well as kieftedhes,-little pork rissoles. Cherries were brought from Treis Elies as now is the season. A huge water melon also in season of course was another essential for any summer party, was supplied my cousin Michael. Koupebia were brought and another friend brought a huge dish of Pastichia the Cypriot version of Lasagna. This is my favourite and sadly as I was so busy talking and taking photos, I missed out on this. Cakes and puddings of various descriptions were brought and the tables were positively laden with delicious food of all descriptions. family and friends were all invited and we all had a very enjoyable couple of hours in true Cypriot tradition. Bravo Androula!!

On Wednesday I had a different day out with a friend who wanted to revisit some old haunts of hers in the Ayia Marina area close to Polis. If you take the road out of Polis travelling towards Pomos the road runs along the coastline and eventually you will hit Pyrgos  where the Turkish occupied area checkpoint is . Here the shore is very rocky with only a few areas where you can find a spot to lay on the beach or swim. In the past there were mines along here for copper. On the land side the Paphos forest rises up the mountain so it is avery dramatic coastline in parts. It is also an area of agriculture and is dotted with farms and orchards. Pomos has a lovely small harbour where the fishing boats are safely gathered in, right on the promontory of this spot is situated, of course, a large restaurant that specialises in fish where we had a delicious leisurely lunch. What a vista to eat lunch by.

After lunch on our way back we saw a sign to a village called Nea Dimata where we decided to explore and came across avery curious arrangement of brick built houses. In Cyprus you very rarely see houses built of brick, they are usually stone or nowadays many are made with concrete, unless you travel to Troodos particularly around the Platres area you may see some. These are usually left over from colonial times when the British were on the island and I guessed that the houses in Nea Dimmata must have been built by the British as even the style of house looked different and they all had chimneys which is another feature you don’t often see on houses here. Indeed bricks are not readily available here and these bricks look like they were hand made as they were smaller than usual and a bit irregular. The houses have  suffered quite a lot with water damage on ground level probably as they didn’t have any damp proofing or air bricks. A few we noticed had been built with a stone foundation layer and these had air bricks, so maybe a later version. Even a brand new house had been built with bricks so as to blend in we assumed. The roof tiles were even unusual as they looked like a flower pot cut in half. After a bit of research I found that indeed this whole village was built by the British when the villagers were moved out of their original houses in the old village, I’m not quite sure why they were moved but I may find out later. There is always something unusual to look at around the corner. This whole area has so much to explore and if you are a keen walker there are many lovely trails.

Tonight I’m off to a falafel fest as today is International falafel day.

The priest at Inia

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A Few Good Things

Orexi

I thought I would start posting about some people I have met over the internet waves.

I set up a Facebook page (see sidebar) some time ago to promote the book Androula’s Kitchen- Cyprus on a Plate- and through it I have got to know of all sorts of people who are doing wonderful things in Cyprus. Today I will introduce you to Elena Savvides  of Orexi Cyprus “We began operations in July 2004 due to two separate requests from friends who asked us to ‘cook some of that lovely Lebanese food that you do’ for parties that they were planning. This is the trouble when you do lots of entertaining at home – people want you in the kitchen at all times…

Orexi is the Greek word for appetite, before you start a meal in someones house you wish them “Kalin orexi” Good appetite.

I haven’t met Elenna yet but one day I will pay her a visit and I hope to sample some of her wonderful Lebanese food. She lives in the Paphos region and is married to a Lebanese man between them they have  quite a bit of experience in food and cooking and they run a catering business. There are many wonderful reviews posted of her food from satisfied customers. There are many similarities between Cypriot and Lebanese food as they are very close geographically.
She also does foraging days near where she lives, taking people out into the countryside near her and showing them how and what to pick from the hedgerows. These sound a lot of fun, afterwards they head back to her kitchen and cook it all.
She sounds like a very busy woman. Check out her website http://www.orexicyprus.com/ and see for yourself  or follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/orexicyprus?fref=ts

The Wanderer Returns

My apologies for the very large gap between this and my last post as I’ve been on my travels. One of my companions was my cousin Androula…. yes one and the same as the title of my blog. We along with a few friends met up in Vienna where we wizzed around for three days and then caught a bus to take us on to Prague. A long drive I have to say even with an entertainment centre! I did manage to catch the film The Golden Compass which I had not seen before, ‘though.

The reason why Prague, was because Androula’s son and wife live there and of course for us to see the sights. It was a very multi-cultural experience and a bit too multi-cultural for my poor brain to manage at times. Androula and her friends were speaking Greek and English  so that was okay. In Austria they speak German, I don’t speak German but know a few words and it sounds so familiar of course you feel you do know it. Just as I was getting the hang of please and thank you off we went to Prague. Now in Prague they understand German but speak Czech naturally, a language I know nothing about,  when searching for a foreign word in another country I invariably end up with a Greek one and one day the waitress looked completely baffled when I turned round and ordered a coffee in Greek!

Luckily the word for beer is the same, as it seems to be in most countries, and very good it was too. If you are a follower of this blog you may have heard me wax lyrical about Keo beer, the Cypriot brew, a real favourite of mine but I have to say the Czech beer is very good and so cheap.

Vienna was incredibly clean and tidy wherever you went, especially the public toilets. No litter, no dirt and everything looked after and working properly. In Prague there was a similarity more to Cyprus than Vienna as there was a untidyness about it but again very clean. We had a heat wave at the beginning of our stay which gave it even more of a similarity to Cyprus but without the humidity. It was unusual for Prague for this time of year, as it was for the rest of Northern Europe which also enjoyed the same weather front apparently.

Europe is a marvel, as there is so much art culture packed into a relatively small area. One of my companions remarked on the fact that such a small city as Vienna is absolutely stuffed to the gunnels with the stuff. Every corner has something to look at, every street nearly has either a magnificent church, or gallery,or building with amazing architecture, some of the buildings are extremely imposing. We visited Prague at the end of a musical festival which lasts for the whole of May. Androula had booked us some seats for a Benjamin Britten opera called Gloriana which was showing at the National Theatre. Britten is not a favourite composer of mine but I wanted to experience the atmosphere and theatre, I knew I would enjoy the costumes, scenery and people watching if nothing else and I did. The theatre was splendid with the marble everywhere, gold decoration and painted ceilings telling mythical stories. I even enjoyed the visit to the ladies ( you can tell there is a theme here). The brass taps and sink alone were worth a visit.

Of course one of the main interests when on holiday is the food! We seemed to be forever stopping for coffee and lunch came around quickly it seemed. The food markets in both cities were bursting with the glorious bounties of nature both fruit and vegetables, which when eating out however, seemed sadly lacking. The food though was very tasty, well cooked and presented.  Androula and I ate the most delicious mushroom risotto on our first evening in Prague and I will remember the taste for a long time to come.