Responsible Hiking

Spoken under different circumstances, the thoughts that follow could be interpreted as ‘motherhood’. Indeed, over the past 5 summers, there was sparse reason for such talk. Suddenly this summer we observe a thirst for hiking in the heatwave. Why so?

It may have to do with the reality of the covid-19 disruption, which for The Cyprus Strollers resulted in the cancellation of 8 scheduled activities; a serious figure, in a January – May season of 20. Many of us have come out of the lockdown feeling numb, that we had been deprived of Spring and Easter.

When a partial lifting of home confinement was announced and enabled the hike of 23 May, the government had imposed a limit of 10 per group. The Cyprus Strollers, as well as one other hiking club, respected this limit on the day. Some members decided to stay home for some more time, puzzled as to what the near future would bring v-a-v covid-19. Other members chose to get out into nature in self-organised groups of 3 or 4. There have even been gentle members who, having been selected for the 23 May hike, they applied for the 30 May one that followed, stating that they appreciated that their places could/should have been offered to other applicants, who were not chosen for the first outing. Here is a thank you message to all of you, mentioned above.

Dire situations are, of course, a time for testing friendships and honouring relations. The covid-19 crisis was no exception. A couple of members decided to leave the club, in an ungracious manner, creating alternative outings to the scheduled 23 and 30 May events; they set up a new, splinter group, and campaigned fervently among members of The Cyprus Strollers to follow them in hiking in these 2 dates and through June and July. Hiking as a sport is experiencing steady growth since we started, and hikers now have one more choice.

We take this opportunity to reiterate a few key principles of this club.

  • The Cyprus Strollers will continue to respect government-imposed regulations. This applies to any restrictions from covid-19. We will apply such restrictions without dodgy interpretations
  • The Cyprus Strollers will continue to take the high temperatures of Cyprus summers very seriously. Measurements have proven that a hike at temperatures exceeding 21°C is putting your health at risk. The same goes for walking under the direct sun; a heat stroke, dehydration and exhaustion can strike anyone, other than young extreme athletes
  • The Cyprus Strollers is a social club built from the initiative of Xenophon, and led by him at significant cost, without any subsidy, grant, or donation from any direction; your attendance is free of charge.
  • Notwithstanding the above, we do ask of your contribution. Namely, your greeting as you meet up in the morning, your greeting as you depart in the afternoon, open communication, your thought of the day, a smile, a cheer, as well as your participation at the meals that follow the hikes; because as many will testify, hikes without the ensuing meals and their inspired conversations are half the fun.

This is the essence of the club, ‘Hiking made Pleasant’, as the club logo tells. Join us on 4 October for the start of season 13. Visit the website a few weeks earlier, for the new Schedule.

Extra activity 6 June – Myllomeris and Kampos Livadiou

With full respect of the government measures about the covid-19 threat, this club announces the following extra activity for Saturday 6 June. We invite interest from members to conduct a double hike of Myllomeris waterfall, followed by Kampos Livadiou, followed by a picnic at the organized picnic site at Kampos Livadiou. For the picnic you are urged to bring along bite-sized food; in this way, you will be offering some of what you carry to others, and at the same time picking bites carried by fellow Strollers; doesn’t this sound more exciting than if you were to bring along just one sandwich?

We set off from the church of tis Theou Sophias in Nicosia at 9:15 am. The Myllomeris hike starts at 10:45 am. For driving instructions and other details please read this https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/troodos-platres-myllomeris-waterfall-and-kampos-livadiou-two-trails-sat-13-may/. The hike will take place with one or more groups of 10 members; this means that if there is interest from more than 10 members, a second group of 10 will be formed, which will set off at a distance from the first group of 10; similarly for a third group of 10 and so on. The activity requires pre-registration, in the deadline indicated (Thursday 12 noon), and participation will be authorized and approved with a return e-mail. The members selected for participation will receive a return e-mail from Xenophon. In case you have not received a return e-mail, this means a rejection from this activity; we apologise and urge you to apply again next time.

To register, the only vehicle is via e-mail to Xenophon.hasapis@gmail.com. In replying, you must respond to all the following points a) state if you have tested positive to covid-19; if yes, we ask you to have with you the results of the test where you subsequently tested clear, b) state if you will have the time and appetite to take part at the picnic or not, c) state if you are prepared to drive to the hike start or you must have a lift, d) state your firm decision and availability to participate; if uncertain, if you face some dependency, kindly do not rush to apply and do not take the place of someone who is more eager.

If you are new to the club or have not applied for membership so far, you must provide your name, surname, e-mail and mobile telephone number, as well. Thank you.

Newcomers and Existing Members and all together 10 – Madari Selladi 30 May

The club was delighted on Saturday 30 May to have welcomed 3 new members, who took the decision over the lockdown to experience The Cyprus Strollers! The combination of 2 hikes on Selladi Karamanli took place under optimal weather conditions, and participants quickly blended into one team, with existing members extending warm hospitality to the newcomers. The meal which followed was a very rewarding treat, served with strict observance of the hygiene code at Fountoukia taverna.

Two Clubs with 10 participants each – Almyrolivado 23 May

Following a 9-weeks shutdown, it was very encouraging to observe not only The Cyprus Strollers, but also one other well-run hiking club, each with just 10 participants, hiking at Almyrolivado on 23 May. Both clubs respected the government imposed limit of 10 and set off at a 15-min distance from one another. The hike and picnic experience was cheerful and enriching.

A Time to Reflect

I will start with a few thoughts already expressed rather widely. This pandemic is wholly democratic, it strikes the rich as it does the poor. Perhaps there is no parallel in the entire world history, not because there have not been epidemics with a greater death toll, but because the overuse of the opportunity to fly at an affordable cost has contributed extensively to the rapid spread of the disease. It is impossible to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, because masses of people have/are behaving carelessly.

Even when we, hopefully, reach a hiatus in the summer, there would be no guarantee that a mutant would not strike again in 2021. In whatever circumstances, nonetheless, the blow to the economy and family incomes will be disastrous (loss of employment, reduced salaries, shortage of goods, frugal consumption). At this point, the burden will be much heavier on the lower income families, and all talk of a democratic pandemic will cease.

So what can one do, today, as we stay locked inside? There are people who live in panic. The realization of death is a serious awakening. Could this be attributed to a belief that one would live endlessly? Or, rather, the conscience of a life conducted selfishly, with little regard for the other? Do we see in this crisis the need for greater sympathy, compassion, humble behaviour? Will man/woman carry on in the conceit that they are gods? Can covid-19 signal the start of a new approach to life, where we cherish every day, are thankful for the eternal pleasures of life, and express our gratitude for the gifts in one’s life?

The Cyprus Strollers is founded on the premise of giving and sharing. Possibly many of you feel a longing for all the goodness the club has offered you. The photo shows a tree bending in ‘modesty’. We wish every member and your loved ones a healthy sojourn through the pandemic. We hope to be able to resume normal operations soon. In the meantime, do take this opportunity at the space ‘leave a comment’ below this text, to express any short or longer thought, to share with all.

A Sad Equinox

The Club has decided to cancel the event of 22 March. The covid-19 news call for prudency. Note, this is not a message of cancellation of the other scheduled activities coming up. We will be assessing the situation each week and acting accordingly. There will be no broad e-mail dispatches to act as reminders. Please visit the website to get the information updates. Thank you for your understanding. Today marks the spring equinox. The photo shows wisteria, Xenophon’s favourite climbing plant, expected to blossom over the next few weeks. Let us pray for better times to come for all soon.

Be Nice to Each Other – Trimiklini 14 March

Amid the widespread fear of covid-19 we had a surprisingly large turnout for the hike at Trimiklini on 14 March. Just another vote of trust in the Cyprus Strollers, the only hiking club on the island bringing you a firm schedule of weekly hiking activities committed months in advance, a dedicated website, a high sense of responsibility and an international members list combined. Thank you to all. Rewards were plentiful, among them the spotting of the quite rare lilac anemone. Discussions not surprisingly centered around the virus threat and measures announced. Reassuringly, the parting message was drawn from Mr. & Mrs., a popular TV series of a few decades ago, which closed every week with the same urge: Be Nice to Each Other. Compliments to Britt and Dimitris for leading this successful outing. Compliments also to Anna, Maria and Stathis for the photos. Join us on 22 March alongside Pedieos Gorge, for which the club is enforcing a strict procedure of pre-registration and approvals, in response to the virus threat https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/pedieos-gorge-mahairas-22-march/

Treasures of Faith and Wealth of Water – Galata 8 March

A very large gathering of Strollers of over ten nationalities, including new members, on Sunday 8 March, experienced two so popular places, Galata and Kakopetria, in a way that no tourist visit could achieve. Inside the churches on the World Heritage list the story telling unfolded precious icons and scenes of faith. While hiking along the banks of the river revealed beauty as natural as it can be. Compliments to Anna, Nana, Antonis, Stathis and Panayiotis for the photos. Join us on 14 March at Trimiklini https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/trimiklini-14-mar/

A Most Romantic Spot – Moutoullas 1 March

The club’s decision to move the two hikes at Gerakies and Moutoullas from Saturday (forecast with all-day rain) to Sunday ought not make anyone feel smart; it was simply fortuitous; as it turned out, the day was sunny and dry; but there was a flip side to our luck, because our taverna of choice could not accommodate us on the Sunday and we had to compromise with another venue; which proved below the standards you have come to expect and enjoy with the club. Notwithstanding the dining experience, we all agreed to return to base holding on to the very romantic impressions we experienced at the short stroll around the waters of Moutoullas; which one justly called a corner of paradise. Compliments to all diners for your understanding. Compliments to Nicoletta, Maria, Nana and Antonis for the photos. Join us on 8 March at Galata https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/galata-cultural-stroll-8-march/