Since we had only four days in Cyprus, we had to choose to travel through either Greek or Turkish Cyprus. Since the 1950s, north-eastern Cyprus pushed towards a union with Turkey, and south-western Cyprus became increasingly affiliated with Greece. Conflict broke out between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, which finally resulted in the northern part of Cyprus being annexed to Turkey. After doing some research on both sides of the country, we decided to travel through Greek Cyprus, to explore the Troodos Mountains and the Akamas Peninsula.
After our visit to Kykkos Monastery, we stopped by Kakopetria for lunch and to take a wander through the old town. The Englishman we met in Platres suggested we have lunch at Chrysanthis Restaurant in Kakopetria. It was a fantastic recommendation and we had a great lunch of freshly caught grilled trout, salad, baked potatoes, bread and spreads. After lunch we drove into Kakopetria town to explore the cobblestone streets and old mud-brick homes of the old town. It was a very small, but extremely pretty village, with beautiful courtyard gardens.
We also visited the village of Fioni, in search of the famous Foini pottery. The one workshop in town was not open, as we were visiting in the low season, but we called the number on the door and were able to visit the home of the pottery maker. We walked into a small garden to find a old lady, she must be in her 80s at least, who showed us into her barn where she makes pottery. In the past, most of the families in Foini made pottery, but now this woman is the only one left in the town who does. She tried to explain to us, in her limited English, that she had learnt to make the pottery from her mother and grandmother and she showed us a few magazine articles about her and the pottery of Foini. We left purchasing a water jug and a traditional Foini vase, with birds and flowers, which is depicted on the 10 cent piece of the Cyprus Pound.
Our last stop in the Troodos Mountains was was the little village of Lofou. It’s almost worth visiting for the drive drive from Trimiklini, as the landscapes are stunning. The Englishman we met in Platres suggested we visit Lofou as it is a great example of a traditional Cypriot village. Although it appeared to be a ghost town (there was not a soul in sight), the village was well preserved, with the original cobblestones covering the narrow streets of the old part of the village. There were many old original homes, and the few that had been renovated, had been done to reflect their original state.
After two nights in the Troodos Mountains, we headed west to the Akamas Peninsula.
Lunch at Chrysanthis Restaurant, which is on the main road, just outside Kakopetria. There isn’t a menu as such, but the owner of the restaurant, a lovely Cypriot man, attends tables telling diners what he has available that day. We both ordered the grilled trout, which had been caught that morning from dams located next to the restaurant. As with most places in Cyprus, you won’t leave on an empty stomach. Aside from the fish, bread and spreads (tahini, hummus and taramasalata) came out, as well as olives, salad and baked potatoes.
Try to locate the old woman in Foini who makes the traditional pottery. There are a few signs with a telephone number in the town, which reaches her daughter, who speaks good English. There are some pottery stores on the main road from Lemesos to the Troodos Mountains, but these are all mass produced. The quality and the style of the Foini pottery is far superior. And plus, you’re supporting this lovely old lady, rather than a big business.