Arsonists the prime threat to our forests!

This website predominantly features positive news, which promote the well-being of the Club’s members on our hikes. Permit me this exception, because news just released by the Government’s Forestry Department is simply shocking.

Out of 1327 fires in Cyprus over the 20-year period 2000 – 2021 25 % (337) were the result of arson! Further, a large proportion of the balance was the result of human negligence. About 14 % (180) were the consequence of natural causes (typically lightning strikes).

It is important to draw attention to the realization that as we go about our ordinary, law-abiding lives, our paths cross those of arsonists, in various forms of disguise. Stricter penalties from legislation is only part of the solution to the problem. Every sane, forest-loving individual has an obligation to react and speak out at every instance of compromising behaviour coming to our attention. Our hesitation to take the correct stance, our inclination to remain silent in such situations provide the excuses arsonists are looking for, to justify their crime.

Still unconvinced about the perils of silence and indifference? Read on.

In 1953 the well-known German playwright Max Frisch wrote The Arsonists (Biedermann und die Brandstifter) (in Greek Μπίτερμαν και οι Εμπρηστές), in which Biedermann, the protagonist, lets two arsonists into his house. He feeds them and lets them sleep in the attic, where they store gasoline canisters. Although the two terrorists actually tell Biedermann the truth about themselves, he does not believe them, and when they become overly demanding, he is too much of a coward to throw them out of his house. When asked, he even gives them matches with which they ignite the canisters and burn down not only Biedermann’s house but the whole town, setting in motion an armageddon.

Biedermann does not want to see the truth, although it is literally driven home to him, and in that he is reminiscent of the German attitude toward Adolf Hitler, who clearly laid out his intentions to wipe out the Jews in Mein Kampf and in his speeches. Hitler’s contemporaries did not take him and his threats against the Jews seriously; their naive disregard ultimately led to the Holocaust, which even the intellectuals did not foresee.

Reassuringly, the chorus in the play speaks out, informing that the happenings are not inevitable fate, but brought on by the people themselves: “For arson, once kindled, kills many, leaves few, and accomplishes nothing… Fate—so they call it!”.

Our forests need each one of us, and let this be your call to action! Thank you. The play was performed in Nicosia in the early 70’s and earlier this year in Athens. (Commentary about the play from an essay by Gerd K. Schneider). The photo above shows a sculpture in the village of Vavla, in memory of a large fire in 2000.

Glacier breaks off, 10 hikers dead

On Sunday 3 July 2022, in the early afternoon, a glacier in the Italian Dolomites broke off, causing the loss of the lives of 10 hikers. The incident was one more outcome of the ongoing phenomenon of global warming. This Club deplores the general lack of determination by the world powers, to reach consensus on an urgent corrective plan. We need actions, not declarations, from those in power.

The glacier had progressively become unstable, and the poor snow season last winter precipitated its collapse. Italian authorities had measured the loss of about 30% of the volume of glaciers, over a period of 10 years. The emerging picture is that glaciers have become too dangerous to explore on foot.

To help through the intense, often unlivable summer heat, here is a recommended relevant reading; a 2016 book by Italian Paolo Cognetti, titled Le otto montagne (The eight mountains). It is available also in Greek, from Patakis publishing firm. (Photo from The Guardian)

Sentimental finale – Pezounokremos 29 May

So many important people defied the hot weather and took part on Sunday 29 May at the final activity of the season January – May 2022, at Pezounokremos. There was poetry, singing, sharing of souvenirs, and a great deal of generosity flowed around the lunch table. Xenophon is so grateful for the calibre of members of this Club! Compliments to Andriana and Anna for the photos. We break for the summer, aiming to resume hiking in October. And what I want to tell you ǁ The most beautiful of all ǁ I’ve not told you yet…

A Whole larger than the sum of its parts – Kampos Livadiou 22 May

A lively gathering of Strollers, regular members as well as newcomers, of 6 different nationalities and an unbeatable spread of ages, enjoyed Kampos Livadiou on 22 May. The collective experience was built up from an array of impressions, views, exchanges and effort; so much so, that looking back at the day, one feels that everybody and everything contributed to create a whole, which is larger than the sum of its parts. Compliments to Elena, Nana and Andriana for the photos. Join us on Sunday for a celebration around the table, to mark the finale of this season of 20 activities https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/selladi-karamanli-linear-and-pezounokremos-circle-sunday-29-may/

Faster under the Clouds – Atalanti 14 May

It is emerging as a law of hiking: when the weather is cloudy, and there is a threat of rain, the Cyprus Strollers perform a planned hike in record time. Such was the case on 14 April around Atalanti, which participants thoroughly enjoyed. We hiked fast, but felt no pressure; we even had time to catch up with our networks over a break. Compliments to Nicos for leading the day, and to Elena and Dimitris for the photos. Join us next on the penultimate hike of this season https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/kampos-livadiou-mnimata-piskopon-and-kampos-livadiou-circle-sunday-22-may/

Sweet day at the Salty meadow – 8 May

Strollers had a lovely day out at Almyrolivado (name literally translates to salty meadow) on Sunday 8 May. A stream, a mini waterfall and a pond proved very popular, in particular with the dog on the hike. A 500 years old juniper needed 4 of us to encircle it. The meal that followed was a wonderful reward. Members bid farewell to Yannis, who is returning to Greece, leaving us with fond memories. Compliments to Nicos and Yannis for the photos. Join us next at Atalanti https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/atalanti-sat-14-may/

Madari Immersion – 30 April

Each new visit to Madari is a memorable experience that demands of the Stroller to allow yourself this immersion into its surrounding attractions. To admire the paeony flowers is one good reason to want to be back. The event of 30 April stood up to its promises. Compliments to Antonis for leading one leg of the hike and to Anna for the photos. Join us next at Almyrolivado https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/almyrolivado-2-hikes-sunday-8-may/

Good Friday Stroll: 8 Epitaphios in Old Nicosia

There was a flood of young people and people of other ages visiting the churches of Nicosia Within-the-Walls during the afternoon of Good Friday 22 April. Reviving an old custom, we venerated the Epitaphios in 8 churches: Chrysaliniotissa, Agios Kassianos, Phaneromeni, Trypiotis, Agios Savvas, Agios Philoumenos, Agios Antonios, Agios Varnavas (Cathedral). Enjoy the photos, compliments of Nicos. Best wishes for a Happy Easter.

Bridges over the river, Bridges connecting Participants – Pouziaris 16 April

The outing at Pouziaris, a favourite for many, attracted on 16 April loyal as well as first-time Strollers, most from nearby Limassol. The group blended nicely; perhaps on account of the weather, perhaps affected by the many bridges we used to cross Kryos Potamos river, perhaps also by the rich exchanges at the table. Such is the appeal of this Club, that one new member attended, hours after landing at Larnaca airport. Compliments to Pitsa, Anna and Antonis for the photos. Join us next on 30 April for a 1st time experience.

Asinou, we are back – 10 April

This Club missed hiking at Asinou, since the scheduled activity there a year ago was canceled due to the covid lockdown. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the hike up and down Adelphi forest, as well as the warm welcome and lunch at our favourite taverna. To note, this was the 1st lunch in 2022 outdoors, by the taverna’s beautiful lawn. Compliments to Demetris, Andri and Andriana for the photos. Join us next at Platres https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/kryos-potamos-pouziaris-sat-16-april/