The Troodos mountains were originally mined for Copper, which explains the orange/brown colour of the island on its national flag. They later became a centre for Byzantine art as churches and monasteries were built into the mountains. In the modern day, the peak of Mount Olympus at 1952m, houses an RAF/NSA security listening post, as well as a ski resort. We booked a jeep tour to enjoy the scenic ‘off road’ route!

The journey took us past some of the main water reservoirs/dams, and past a small waterfall where we were able to enjoy an ice-cream! We also stopped for coffee and I found a beautiful cemetery.

The main point of interest for this trip was, however, Kykkos Monastery, one of the wealthiest and best-known monasteries in Cyprus, containing the icon of the Virgin Mary. The icon is never looked at, and its top half remains hidden behind a protective covering as it is said that anyone who looks at will be blinded. The last person to have actually seen it was Pope Gerasimos in 1669 ! The monastery is known also for the intricate murals along all the balconies, and they really are in perfect condition.

This is the final report from Cyprus. We had a lovely time, balancing excursions such as this one with time spend lying by the pool, reading books, and generally enjoying a relaxing holiday. I’m not sure we’ll ever return to Cyprus, but I was so happy to give Shanhong a taste of my very early years!

Take Care!   Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx