Cyprus: Peyia, Paphos, Akoursos, Episkopi, Troodos, Pano Platres, Tala, Chloraka
Over half a year since we left Medway. It feels like just a moment ago, but also like a whole other lifetime. I think we are getting used to things now, it feels less like a "long holiday" and more like a lifestyle as we find our groove.
Just like home educating families around the globe I spend a good chunk of each week ferrying my children to various groups and classes like an unpaid taxi driver. Dexter has private and group swim lessons. Jake goes to kayak and weight/swim training and attends a music production course once a week. Easier to manage are their piano and science lessons which are online but still need me to arrange, a full diary for sure, but most of it for other people.
Lots to remind us we are in a different country right now though, we even had a couple of grey days that made it feel suspiciously like I was back in the UK. It was still mostly warm though and the blue sky thankfully returned quickly.
We visited what I thought would be a farmer's market in a nearby village, it was advertised as a good place to buy fresh, local produce. In reality it was actually a small craft market, selling mostly art, jewellery and holiday momentos but we had a nice wander and there was some lovely countryside around the area so we enjoyed a nice walk afterwards too.
The boys and I did our usual exploring. We've seen every step of coastline within walking distance of our house now and we finally got up into the old town this week too, which is sadly more of a tourist trap than anything else but still a fun place to people watch and there are some cool art installations dotted around which were interesting too.
I returned to sunset yoga after strong winds cancelled a couple of sessions, it's fast becoming my favourite part of the week!
During the weekend we visited the archeological park at Kourion where we saw awesome Roman baths and houses along with the amphitheatre there. The acoustics are so good that when you stand on the stage and talk at a normal conversational level you can be heard clearly at the top of the seating area. No electric microphones or speakers around in Roman times so they had to be resourceful in other ways.
It was a beautiful day with stunning views. When we walked up to the top of the cliffs it was so windy it felt like we might take off, just wonderful.
The next week started with a couple more birthday gifts for Dexter (apparently now like British royalty and having more than one day to celebrate. He was gifted a construction set from our neighbour and I finally got hold of the first Harry Potter book that he's been waiting to start for years. I so enjoyed reading them with Jake years ago and it's exciting to start again with Dexter. Jake continued to ace his Kayak training by graduating to the "very scary" sprint kayaks. I'm sure he wouldn't mind me saying, or ague with me about it as it's fair to say Jake isn't a naturally athletic kid, but put him on or in water and he is amazing and his grit and determination with these tricky boats has been great to watch.
At one of Dexter's swimming lesson we were amazed when a beautiful White Stork wandered into the patio by the pool to see what was going on. It was super friendly and spent ages following us around. It enjoyed helping Dexter eat his granola bar too. We were told that it probably lives up at the zoo which is very nearby and they are free flying which means occasionally they mooch about the local area looking for snacks.
We did another couple of volunteer shifts at the cat sanctuary. Jake is getting friendly with all the other volunteers and just goes off and does his own thing now. This week he got to go hang out in the medical suite to help look after the pre op cats which he really enjoyed. I help Dexter, who is an expert at making the cat beds comfy and knowing which animal needs most brushing.
Then we finally made it up into the Troodos mountains for a hike. The tallest mountain in Cyprus is Mount Olympos (or Chionistra, which means snow dome) but sadly you can't summit because there's a working RAF Radar station at the top. But there's still lots of great walking to be done. We drove most of the way to the top and then followed a trail which loops the highest bit that you're allowed to access (1,874 metres at the highest point, the summit is 1,954). It's so cool here because in the winter it's a fully fledged ski resort, it was a bit eerie seeing the ski centre empty though, abandoned and quiet when I imagine it's anything but in the winter months.
We walked a 7km trail taking in the sights. A few recent rock falls meant a teeny bit of scrambling was needed and Kris' fear of heights was tested on a couple of occasions but the area is beautiful and we even saw a 500 year old black pine.
We also got the lovely news that Kris' brother and his family have come to visit the island. Kris and he managed to catch up over a beer (or two) one night and hopefully we'll all get to see each other at some point before we leave.