Our activity of Sunday 17 April 2016 takes place in the valley of Marathasa, and visits Gerakies village and Moutoullas village, for two hikes. We shall walk the circular Gerakies hike first. We start by a wooden sign carrying a map, just past the last building, as we drive out of the village of Gerakies. The walk starts at 11:00 am. Alex is leading this outing, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 95109595. Gerakies is a circular walk which will take 2 hours and is of medium difficulty. We follow well marked paths, climbing up a mountain in the beginning, for about half an hour, to reach a watch tower (named Kavallos), at the mountain top, at an elevation of 1160 m, offering spectacular views all around. The second part of the walk is downhill. The third and final part is on a secondary tarmac road, for about 20 minutes.
At the end of the Gerakies walk we shall drive to the start of the second, a short, circular hike in Moutoullas. This hike follows a scenic path, among village orchards, and is expected to take up about half an hour.
At the end of the Moutoullas walk we shall drive to the Xerargaka picnic site, on our way back, for a picnic, weather permitting. In case of bad weather, we shall have lunch at a nearby taverna.
You have the choice of meeting the group at the Gerakies walk start, or meet at the designated meeting point in Nicosia. In either case, you need to carry copy of this set of instructions. Meeting in Nicosia offers two important advantages: we drive in full cars, leaving some cars behind; thus, we save in fuel and enjoy the trip in good company. The meeting point in Nicosia is the very large church named tis Theou Sophias (also referred to as Agia Sophia) in Strovolos, which offers ample parking space on its side street. The car trip starts at 9:45 am. Please ensure you observe start times, for the benefit of the group.
How to get to the Gerakies walk start:
From Nicosia take the A9 motorway towards Troodos. The A9 smoothly becomes the B9 highway (towards Troodos), when the motorway ends (near Kokkinotrimithia). On the B9 you drive past the villages of Akaki, then Peristerona and then you reach the village of Astromeritis. At the Astromeritis traffic lights, where most cars turn left towards Troodos, zero your odometer and turn left. Drive along the main road for the next 14.8 km. At the 14.8 km reading take the right turn towards Kykkos monastery and the Marathasa valley. There are several road signs alerting you for this turn. Drive along the main road for the next 17.1 km. At the 31.9 km reading you enter the village of Kalopanayiotis. 800 m later (at the 32.7 km reading), as you drive along the village main road, you reach a junction where you need to turn right, towards the village of Gerakies. At the 36.6 km reading you enter Gerakies. As you exit Gerakies, you drive past a large (abandoned) building on your right (which used to be a hotel), on a left bend of the road. Just after, at the 37.9 km reading you reach a wooden sign on the left. Park your car on the side. We meet here.
How to get to the Moutoullas walk start, from the Gerakies walk finish:
Zero your odometer as you depart from the 1st hike finish. Drive downhill the way you came. At the 5.2 km reading you will reach a T-junction. Turn right at the T-junction and drive uphill through the village of Kalopanayiotis. At the 6.9 km reading you will see a sign reading ‘Moutoullas’ upon entry to that village. Keep going straight. At the 8 km reading, at the fork, keep to the right and continue straight. At the 8.9 km reading, having already exited the village of Moutoullas, you will see a covered map on your left signposted No.2 in a small green circle. Take the narrow road to the left of this sign that leads downhill onto a dirt road. At the 9.3 km reading, just before a small wooden sign marked ‘ΧΛΙΟ’, park on the left. Our walk starts here. If you prefer, stay close to the walk leader and drive to the 2nd hike start in a convoy.
How to get to the meeting point for the car trip:
From Nicosia get to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and turn left. At the 0.3 km reading you see Lidl supermarket on your right. At the 0.8 km reading you reach traffic lights. Turn left into Elaionon street. Immediately after you observe the very large church of tis Theou Sophias, with its green dome, on your right. Just past the church (1.0 km reading) take the first turning to the right into Kastellas street. This side street offers ample parking space. Park here.
Driving to the picnic site after the walk finish:
Since the picnic will take place after we finish the walk, you may leave your food in the boot of your car. The picnic will take place at the designated picnic site named ‘Xerargaka’; facilities include benches, tables, toilets and drinking water. To reach Xerargaka you need to do an about turn and drive back the way we came, in the direction of Nicosia. Drive carefully, so that you may observe the sign ‘Xerargaka picnic site’. At this point you leave the main road, turning right into a side road, following the sign ‘Xerargaka picnic site’. 400 m after leaving the main road you arrive at Xerargaka picnic site. The right turn to Xerargaka comes about 6.5 km after the junction leading from Kalopanayiotis to Gerakies.
Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital to the church of tis Theou Sophias http://tinyurl.com/ll9fefj
Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the Presidential Palace to the church of tis Theou Sophias: http://tiny-url.org/hEk7ggCF
Disclaimer: If you attend a Cyprus Strollers walk you do so entirely at your own risk. The Cyprus Strollers is a social club and neither the organizers nor the leader of the walk are responsible for the health and safety of those taking part.