Our trip to Macheras Monastery in Troodos

Trip Start Mar 03, 2010
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Trip End Feb 06, 2011


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Flag of Cyprus  ,
Thursday, January 27, 2011




It has been raining heavily the whole night and still is. I get up and as I prepare breakfast I wonder if there will be a trip today or not.



I open the window and it is still raining but not so heavily now.  I switch on the telly to hear the morning news and I am surprised how excited Cypriots are when they have rain! This reminds me of my sister whom I have seen many times calling Mum or her children to tell them that in the place she is it is raining heavily. I am always surprised when she tries to give the size of the rain drops falling on the screen of her car window! Ha ha ha!



Rain is important here because the island needs this water as it is very dry during the summer months. Even the people on TV sound excited as they announce heavy rain or snow fall up the Troodos Mountains.  And today is one of those days! I am having my second tea while listening to the weather broadcast and I start losing hope concerning today's trip to the mountains.


Eleni is very scared with fog and rain when it comes to driving, and she was telling me that if the weather is not good, the trip will be cancelled.  It is not long before I hear a knock on my door and it is Gabriel telling me to hurry if we are to make it to the mountains. 


I get my camera, and cell phone my coat….actually Eleni’s coat as she has lent it to me yesterday when I was out and it was chilly. (You see I travel light and because I have a house in Larnaca I always think that if I need any clothes I can get from my sister).



Soon we are off, with a picnic basket with fruit and chocolates.   We are heading towards the Monastery of Macheras.  My last visit here was back in the 70’s.



The rain has stopped miraculously and now there is a huge sun shining brightly in the sky.  There is this freshness in the air, -this feeling of cleanliness mixed with the smell of pine and fir trees and the smell of wet everywhere.  Due to the heavy rain there are some rocks on the side of the road here and there and it is a constant sight as we drive higher. Eleni is very scared and every now and then asks her husband to be more careful, not understanding that what she is doing is worse!  If I had her in my car I could have stopped the car and politely ask her to step off!



Luckily she is busy talking, telling me how she was saved back in 1974 when the Turks reached their village.  Her story is compelling and she tells me how she dressed up as a granny wearing black long clothes and a black mantilla over her head and with the help of a United Nations car that happened to pass by the field they were hiding, and after begging and begging,  she was driven off to the south to some relatives, leaving behind the rest of her family for about 5 months!



However, the story starts when that day they noticed the Turkish troops approaching the village.  The decided to get some things and drive off and everybody else was doing the same.  They get on the car to drive off, drive for a couple of miles and suddenly Eleni tells her father that it is not fair to leave grandfather behind while they run off. So, the family decides to return.

They stay 2 more days at home and then a little before the Turks get in the village they leave and run to hide in some fields near the village. They spend many days there and one day her father decides secretly to go and see the old man.  He finds him shot dead on his bed.  He returns and tells the sad news to all.

He arranges and goes again with another person to burry him this time.  So, to get back to the previous paragraph, Eleni tells me how she was saved.

What a story indeed! 



Now something about the Monastery we are visiting today.

The historic monastery of Macheras is dedicated to Virgin Mary.



Very near the monastery there is the hideout of Grigoris Afxentiou who fought against the British rule of Cyprus.



http://wiki.phantis.com/index.php/Grigoris_Afxentiou



On the way back we stopped for lunch at a very popular restaurant in the mountains. 



We are back late in the afternoon and Gabriel surprises me happily when at dinner time he goes to his cellar and comes back with three bottles of wine each with a different date.  I can surely remember the one dated back to 1954, and the very best dated back to 1922. I cannot believe my eyes that my friends are doing this.  This one is extremely unique.  It is not just fine, but PERFECT!

I wish I could have one such in my wine collection.







 

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Comments

laorfamily
laorfamily on

Amazing Popi, what great history. I have actually studied a lot about the region's fight from independence of the British mandate after WWII.

rossport
rossport on

Again lovely photos Popi and a sad ending to a gallant struggle I enjoy your blogs as they are so descriptive you feel as if you are there

venoth
venoth on

Hi Popi, interesting to hear how they cherish rain over there. Here in Malaysia, when it rains, almost every other day, we usually complain. :) What a conrast.

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