The Cyprus Strollers – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Dear fellow Stroller,
Over the years, I have been asked several questions. This document attempts to provide answers to some questions which crop up more frequently. Kindly study the document and do not hesitate to get directly in touch, with any further thought, comment or question. Thank you. Xenophon
Q.: Why do you prefer photos showing Strollers from the back, rather than poses of Strollers facing the camera?
A.: Occasionally, we post a group pose on the website. However, I prefer rear view photos, taken while we are in action. Photos shot from the rear better appeal and attract more new members; when a candidate member examines a group walking and seen from behind, one may imagine oneself in the club, next time; by contrast, a photo of people facing the camera is usually interpreted as a pose of people sending a message of self-appreciation, and makes it harder for a non-participant to see their fit in the group. A rear photo is also more discrete, I feel, because not everyone attending may want to see her/himself published. This being the general rule, we do make exceptions, when a pose is distinctive; there are several such good examples accompanying our weekly summary of activities conducted, on the website.
Q.: Why do you prefer to start the car trip from Nicosia around 10 am and not earlier?
A.: There are several reasons.
- Starting around 10 allows members to carry out some morning shopping before they come to the activity, a benefit particularly useful to members who work long hours.
- It also allows others to attend church service.
- It even allows others to simply get up without the alarm clock, thus having a break from the routine of working days.
- Starting around 10 also helps members who travel from further away from the walk start than Nicosia (e.g. Paralimni).
- The Cyprus Strollers is a social club, and most members wish to spend a whole day (or the best part of a whole day) in the countryside, hiking, dining and socializing with fellow Strollers. Starting very early would risk finishing early, and thereby finding yourself back home around lunchtime, or in very early afternoon.
- The favoured start times make it much easier to secure space in the tavernas. Tavernas have more space to seat us when we reach them for a late lunch.
- If we were to reach a taverna around 12:30 – 13:00, we would clash with their rush hour; this would put a lot of pressure on the taverna staff and could reflect in the quality of service we get; this would also put a lot more pressure on you, because it would require your firm and advance commitment to your participation, in order to secure your seat; no taverna will reserve a table at rush hour, when they do not get a concrete number of participants.
Notwithstanding the above, there are instances when the sun is shining and the temperature higher than optimal, when we all wish we could have set off earlier. On such occasion the Walk Leader is free to modify the itinerary and cut it shorter, and you are welcome to make such suggestion.
Q.: Why do we regularly visit the same tavernas?
A.: We make every effort to choose tavernas which make concessions for a group, without compromising on quality. This means flexibility on behalf of the restaurateur to accommodate our group, even when its numbers are below or above the agreed, because some have cancelled or not registered on time. Further, restaurateurs appreciate our trust in them and are eager to satisfy us. With loyalty, we manage a good service and no complications on occasions when we arrive late. Patronising a taverna brings many benefits to diners, such as usually a lower charge, and/or items served gratis, which typically translates to a very good value for money experience. From the point of view of the Walk Leader, patronising a taverna means significantly less agony, to provide you with a problems-free, smooth service. For the Organisers, arranging the taverna is perhaps the biggest hurdle, and it is no surprise that there is no other hiking club that offers a served meal every time. Having said the above, every Walk Leader is free to recommend a new taverna and undertake all arrangements to take us there.
Q.: Why do we have the same meal for everyone at the tavernas?
A.: We try to have one meal for everyone, and this means one charge for all. The meal offers ample variety, and there is food for meat and non-meat eaters, in sufficient quantity to fill you up. You know that most tavernas in the countryside do not offer fish, but in those that do, we can arrange for you to be served fish (typically a farm trout) instead of meat, provided that you declare your need when you register on time. Even though practically all tavernas in the countryside serve a standard menu, with souvla as their main meat, we regularly negotiate a meal for you that includes surprise items, for the sake of variety. Considering all the effort that goes in organising the meal every weekend, we would like to ask you to be compromising and accept to eat some food, e.g. fried potatoes, which you do not eat as part of your strict health diet. After all, you make this exception one day a week, in return for all the benefits you receive. For anyone who follows a diet under doctor’s orders, please make sure the Walk Leader knows about this, and a suitable arrangement will be attempted.
Q.: Why don’t we have more picnics?
A.: Picnics are a good alternative to a taverna meal, and we have organised many picnics. Some members prefer a served meal, others prefer a picnic. A picnic can only take place when the weather is not too cold or wet, and when there is a picnic site with the usual facilities nearby. Each time, the Walk Leader is free to select a picnic. Picnics also have one other risk: they can end very quickly, if everybody brings along their own sandwich, which they will eat in minutes. To counter this, when you receive invitation to a picnic, please come with bite-sized food, so that you can offer others, while at the same time you can try bite-sized food others have brought.
Q.: Why do we occasionally have an activity open only to participants staying for lunch?
A.: This happens rarely, when an activity takes place in an area off the beaten track, with low tourism and low density of eating places. In such a situation, the Organisers undertake a lot of effort, travel and expense to locate and negotiate a taverna meal. There have been instances when the taverna would open merely to accept us. We need to supply the taverna with a good number of participants, to ensure the high standard of service you have come to enjoy with the Cyprus Strollers. In the event of a small turnout for lunch, it would be unfair to members staying for lunch to end with an unusually higher charge, or a poorer experience. This also would act as a disincentive to the Organisers to research and discover new places. Therefore, if you wish to participate in such an activity, please accept your participation for lunch as your way of respect to colleagues eager to stay for lunch, and paying back the club for offering you so much at zero charge.
Q.: Why don’t we have more walks in Paphos district?
A.: Paphos is further out from Nicosia than most other places. This would mean a longer than usual return day trip. But this should not become a deterrent for most destinations. After all, we have many members residing in Limassol. The club welcomes anybody who is eager to research, record and lead a walk in Paphos district. In case you wish to pursue such initiative, and need a colleague to join you in researching, I will be pleased to consider the opportunity. Concerning Akamas in particular, hiking requires overnight stay; the consequence is a higher demand on personal time, effort and expense, in order to visit and create a plan, to our high standards.