Lady’s Mile and Monastery of Cats in Akrotiri Salt Lake: 31 March

Join us on Saturday 31 March 2018. Today we follow a circular path on a long stretch of flat terrain that crosses the edge of the Akrotiri Salt Lake to St Nicholas Monastery. We walk on hard packed sand trails with plenty of shells around us, among tranquil wetland and delightful views of the nearby port and Limassol Bay.

The hike starts at 11:15 am. Koula and Patrick are leading this walk, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 99437160 or 99768475 respectively. The walk is 9 km long, will take up 2 ½ to 3 hours, is mostly on flat ground and is classified as easy.

We start the walk along the path in front of the Oasis Restaurant. We then turn right to follow another path that crosses the wetland leading to the south west. We head towards the communication towers and the area used for flying model aircraft in the Salt Lake. We soon reach a tarmac road leading to the Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats.

After visiting the Monastery we head eastwards and walk along the perimeter fence of Akrotiri Base until we reach the far end of Lady’s Mile. For the last part of our walk we follow the length of Lady’s Mile beach to our start point, enjoying the beautiful view of Limassol Bay.

You are strongly advised to wear a windbreaker as it is usually breezy in the area. Furthermore, wear a hat and bring plenty of water as we walk in unshaded trails. Walking shoes or trainers are also advisable.

The Akrotiri (or Limassol) Salt Lake is the largest inland body of water in Cyprus. Less saline and more shallow than the Larnaca Salt Lake, this wetland is a significant natural habitat, home to migrating birds in winter.

The Lady’s Mile beach took its name during British rule from the mare of a governor, who used to ride along this beautiful coastal stretch of land along the east side of Akrotiri.

The Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats is possibly the oldest monastery in Cyprus. According to the tradition the monastery was founded by St Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, who left a piece of the Holy Cross at the site. During that period, Cyprus experienced severe drought and the area became infested with snakes. Constantine the Great sent a commander to release hundreds of cats in order to rid the area of the snakes. Today it is a convent with only three nuns and a few cats.

The walk will be followed by a taverna lunch. To facilitate lunch arrangements, for your better service, you are required to pre-register, if you are joining us for lunch. To do so, please sms the walk leaders or e-mail Xenophon by end Thursday. No need to register if you are not dining.

You have the choice of meeting the group at the 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 Handicrafts Centre (Kentro Heirotechnias) on Leoforos Athalassas (Athalassa Avenue), which offers ample parking space. 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 walk start:

Drive along the Nicosia-Limassol motorway heading towards Paphos. Upon reaching Limassol continue driving on the motorway following the signs to Paphos A6 motorway and go over the Germasogeia flyover, under the Agios Athanasios underpass, over the Mesa Geitonia flyover, over the Agia Phyla flyover and over the Polemidia flyover (exit number 28). Exit the motorway at the next slip road on your left, signposted General Hospital, Port and Industrial Area.

Due to road works carried out at this section of the motorway, traffic is diverted to an adjacent lane. At the moment of writing there are traffic signs but no lane markings at this spot.

Turn left at the roundabout and immediately take the first exit on your left, signed Port. From here you follow the so called Vertical road that links the motorway to the new port. Ignore all signs and all exits and follow the brown CTO signs marked Lady’s Mile and the sign of a little umbrella.

On your way you will come across a roundabout. Follow the sign to Lady’s Mile. On your right you will see a Petrolina and then an Eko petrol station. You will then come across a set of traffic lights. Go straight. At the next two roundabouts follow the signs to Lady’s Mile. On your right you will see the My Mall. Don’t turn right. Go straight following the signs for Lady’s Mile until you reach another roundabout. Ignore the white signs to the port and go straight along an unpaved road crossing a marchland. Approximately 3 km from the My Mall roundabout you will see the white fencing of the Oasis restaurant on your left. Park here. This is the start point.

How to get to the meeting point for the car trip, coming from the Hilton hotel area: Get yourself on Makarios Avenue, heading out of town and set your odometer to zero as you drive past the Nicosia Hilton hotel. At the 0.1 km reading you reach traffic lights (with the Apoel club building on your right), go straight. At the 0.5 km reading you reach another set of traffic lights, go straight. Driving along, you pass a few more traffic lights, staying on this main road (named Leoforos Lemesou/ Limassol Avenue). At the 2.1 km reading, you reach a principal set of traffic lights. Set your odometer to zero again and turn right here. You are now in Leoforos Athalassas, a very busy avenue. At the 0.2 km reading you see a large empty space on your right and the Handicrafts Centre (a single-storey building) on your left. Park in the parking area. We meet here. The Handicrafts Centre is next to the church of St. Barnabas.

How to get to the meeting point for the car trip, coming from the Presidential Palace area: Get to the round-about next to the Presidential Palace. From downtown Nicosia you reach this along the Kyriakou Matsi avenue or along the D. Severi avenue. Set your odometer to zero on the round-about and drive along the principal road towards Strovolos. At the 0.3 km reading you reach traffic lights. Go straight. At the 0.6 km reading you reach a 2nd set of traffic lights. Set your odometer to zero again and turn left. You are now in Leoforos Athalassas, a very busy avenue full of shops. At the 2.6 km reading you see a large empty space on your left and the Handicrafts Centre (a single-storey building) on your right. Park here.

Google Maps: Here is a map for those coming from the Hilton area to the meeting place for the car trip http://tinyurl.com/phjc6s7

Google Maps: Here is a map for those coming from the Presidential Palace area to the meeting place for the car trip http://tinyurl.com/neo9duy

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 leaders of the walk are responsible for the health and safety of those taking part.

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