Mountains under pressure: climate, hunger and migration

The Cyprus Strollers celebrated the International Mountain Day with a gathering on 10 Dec., in which the following message was shared with all.

The UN declared 2002 the International Year of Mountains. From 2003 onwards, 11 December, is celebrated as “International Mountain Day”.

Mountains cover 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, and 915 million people live in mountain areas. 90% of these 915 million mountain dwellers live in developing countries, and ~ 1/3 of these people are poor and vulnerable to food shortage and insecurity.

Our mountains are threatened by their population abandoning their homes, moving to urban environments. Another serious threat is climate change; as temperatures rise, mountain glaciers are melting, and this affects our freshwater supplies. Hence the theme for this year’s International Mountain Day is climate, hunger and migration.

Some 30 years ago, while this writer was living in Switzerland, it was a shock to learn that snow was no longer falling at the time it was customarily expected, and the tourism industry was employing artificial means to create snow for skiing. One may wonder “how do these phenomena affect one living in Cyprus”. The answer is that the entire globe is no larger than a village, as far as the breadth of climate degradation goes. Recall, over 20 persons died in floods in Athens last month.

“What can one do about it”, comes another voice. There are no simple answers, and a Global Meeting is taking place from 11 – 13 Dec. 2017 in Rome, focusing on the challenges and opportunities in sustainable mountain development. This Global Meeting is expected to launch a framework to support concrete actions. It is not easy.

Having said this, at a personal, individual level, each one can continue acting responsibly, influencing others and, finally, not losing faith. As Jesus said to his disciples, in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, chapter 17: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as one grain of mustard, you can say to this mountain ‘move from here to there’, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

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Wisdom of the Mountains – a Poem

The following poem is contributed by Christos, a regular Stroller. It is titled “Wisdom of the Mountains”. The photo was taken by Christos, one morning on Madari, as the moon was setting, earlier this month. Have you got a contribution to make?

There are no words when reaching the top.
There are no words while climbing towards your goal.
There are no words when you stop, turn your body, focusing, looking and experiencing a glorious sunset.
There are no words when you are hungry and eat a simple bread.
There are no words when you are thirsty and drinking the humble water.
There are no words when hugging your fellow traveller.
There are no words when changing clothes after sweating.
There are no words when you are lost and you have to decide, you then have to trust your instinct. It is the only thing you’ve got.
Even the steepest side becomes easy when we create a zigzag path.

Believe that the top is the only purpose and you then miss the journey. The real purpose of climbing is just to climb.
Believe that the journey is the only purpose and you then miss the top. The real purpose of climbing is to reach the top.

There are endless routes to the Top. Our route is only one of them, not “The One”.
Mountain is not good or bad, tall or short, green or brown. Like life they are what they are. New, every second.
There are no words, when feeling the mountain.
There are no words, when walking in the mountain.
There are no words……

Good Friday Stroll: 7+2 Epitaphios in Old Nicosia

A custom from our childhood years came to being on Good Friday (14 April), when an impromptu stroll was conducted around Nicosia Within-the-Walls. During the afternoon, and before the start of the evening church service, we visited 7 Orthodox churches, the Maronite church and the Catholic church of the Holy Cross, and venerated their Epitaphios. Let the photos do the talking. Best wishes for a Happy Easter.

Agios Antonios

Agios Ioannis

Agios Kassianos

Chrysaliniotissa

Agios Savvas

Trypiotis

Phaneromeni

Caraffa Bastion

Maronite

Holy Cross

Christmas Message to Every Stroller

We wish every Stroller and every follower a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday time.

The Cyprus Strollers concluded their 5th season of activities, over October – December 2016, with lots to smile about:

  • 12 hikes,
  • of which 9 new;
  • 129 km walked,
  • for a total of 38.5 hours.

Join us on 7 January for the start of the 6th season. Visit this website again in a few days, to view the new schedule for January – May 2017.

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Cyprus Strollers – What Numbers Cannot Tell

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There surely is a lot of truth in numbers. After 4 Seasons, the Cyprus Strollers have counted 64 excursions, 582 kilometres walked and 190 hours of hiking! A snapshot summary of a marvelous accomplishment. But there are things which numbers cannot tell. Such as:

  • The trails, forest roads, dirt roads, the uphills and downhills we walked;
  • Circular and linear paths;
  • On soil, rock, stone, sand, wood, cement and asphalt;
  • On Troodos, Madari (Pitsilia), Mahairas, Adelphi, at Marathasa, Cape Greco, Larnaca, Limassol and Nicosia;
  • In all sorts of weather: sunshine, clouds, wind, drizzle, rain, snow, cold and heat;
  • Immersed in nature, history and culture;
  • Visiting natural treasures, Byzantine churches, archaeological and historical sites;
  • Encountering geological and volcanic phenomena;
  • Admiring endemic trees and plants, forests, streams, rivers, waterfalls, dams, lakes and panoramic views;
  • Sweating, talking, chatting, singing, smiling, making friends or just reflecting;
  • Hiking, picnicking and dining.

You have, probably, hundreds of photos that capture these moments. More than that, you have the countless memories of instances, small and big, which only you have captured, through the unique lenses of your eyes and soul. Instances of getting and instances of giving.

That is the magic of Hiking made Pleasant. If you believe in the value of such experiences, join the Cyprus Strollers for their 5th Season, starting 2 October.

Does a story or comment spring to your mind, as you read this? Feel free and submit your text here, to share with others.

The Cyprus Strollers in Numbers

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At the doorstep of our 5th Season of Activities, commencing 2nd October 2016, the Cyprus Strollers take a look at the 4 memorable Seasons past, and cheerfully declare our performance in numbers:
64 excursions
582 kilometres walked
190 hours of hiking

We take the opportunity to extend our thanks to all Strollers who have contributed to this accomplishment. Come back to this website on 1st September, to read and download the Activities Schedule for October – December 2016, and discover Hiking made Pleasant and the many thrills it brings.

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