Over the Rainbow – Madari 15 Nov.

A very lively group of Strollers, from a multitude of nationalities, including several newcomers, left Nicosia and Larnaca under very heavy rainfall, to be compensated on Madari in multiple ways. We hiked in light rain for the first 20 min. Up on the watch tower a most unusual phenomenon appeared before our eyes, a splendid rainbow extended from the valley up to the clouds, lasted for a long time, and it all seemed to lie below us! From the next mountain top we took in good views of Kyperounda and other forbidden lands in Limassol district, and felt the absence of Gunnar, our original walk leader, who lives in the locked down lands, along several other members. The circle around Teisia was conducted entirely in bright light, while lunch was the cheerful climax of the day. Compliments to Sevag and Antonis for the photos. Join us on 21 Nov. at Kionia https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/kionia-prophitis-elias-21-nov/ 

Important message to participants of the 15 Nov. hike

Due to the government measures which shut down the districts of Limassol and Paphos, we regret to announce that our walk leader, Gunnar, cannot be with us on the day. Xenophon will take charge, in his place. We further announce new driving instructions to get to the walk start, from Nicosia; please ignore the originally published route, which passes the villages of Palekhori and then Agros; there will be road blocks, given Agros lies in Limassol district. Visit the updated page https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/madari-teisia-15-nov/ and print the new instructions. If you prefer, meet Xenophon at the Nicosia meeting point, but be on time, and have the printout with you, we cannot drive in a convoy. If you are driving from the Larnaca area, the safest option is to leave home earlier, and get to the Nicosia meeting point.

Clouds at last – Mahairas South 7 Nov.

We had to wait until 7 Nov. to enjoy an excursion in moderate temperatures and under the protection of clouds. The weather lifted the spirits of the group at Mahairas, so much so that some of us dared sneak inside the cave. Compliments to the picnickers, and to Yannis, Anna, Maria and Antonis for the photos. Join us on 15 Nov. at Madari https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/madari-teisia-15-nov/

The Club that brings out the Best in People – Artemis 4 Oct.

A very large turnout, made up of long-standing members and newcomers, people of all age groups, from 8 years up, and from a multitude of nationalities, hiked Artemis on Sunday 4 October, at the resumption of regular activities post-covid lockdown. Participation was in flesh as well as in spirit, with tenderness as well as elation.

There were members who arrived quite late at hike start, yet respected their lunch booking and were compensated by all the joy at the table. There was a member who put the call of duty and solidarity above some bodily ache. There was the very touching joining of hands along the path by mother and son. There were many spirited exchanges over lunch. And there was an impromptu somersault by a most lovable young member, to cap it all! A collection of moments no camera can capture.

Compliments to Nicos for leading the event and to Antonis, Anna and Yannis for the photos. Join us on 11 Oct at Prodromos and remember to send in your registration (there will be no mid-week e-mail reminder) https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/prodromos-zoumi-stavroulia-10-oct/

Hiking Made Pleasant is Back

Dear Strollers,

Hello. If a few have been considering the 4 months’ hiatus of the Club rather long, this summer’s excessive and prolonged heatwaves have provided a strong explanation; as well as one further tangible evidence of Responsible Hiking.

Join us on 4 October for the start of season 13. Over the first 12 productive seasons we have achieved

  • 185 hiking events
  • Covering 1800 km
  • Over 575 hours.

Please visit the Activities Schedule section on https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-schedule/, to view, download and study the program of weekly hiking activities for October, November and December 2020. For any activity that catches your attention, please visit the Activities Description section on https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/ to view, download and read a complete set of instructions.

Lots of new and exciting things are happening, and here are a few highlights:

  • There are 12 excursions scheduled
  • of these, 4 are NEW
  • There are 5 different Walk Leaders, who are responsible for leading the Cyprus Strollers on these 12 activities; this represents a great accomplishment, and is a clear sign of the true hiking spirit, a spirit of togetherness, sharing and giving
  • please join me in welcoming for the first time Antonis, while welcoming back Gunnar, Nicos and Angelos, the Walk Leaders, alongside Xenophon
  • We start at high altitudes in October, in anticipation of warmer weather, and move to lower altitudes in December, when cold and rain are more likely.

The thrust of covid-19 upon our lives is, inevitably, affecting our Club, as well. The following are a few of the changes brought about, together with a few clarifications:

  • To provide you with maximum safety vis-à-vis covid-19, and in order to have maximum traceability, we require every participant to register, irrespective of your participation at lunch or not
  • why are we enforcing registration for each participant? Imagine, God forbid, if one participant tests covid-positive, and the authorities descend on me, asking the names of every other participant, as the protocol for traceability demands, for your protection, and I were to reply vaguely
  • New members are especially welcome, as this Club has built a tradition for hospitality; yet if you are new to the club or have not applied for membership so far, you must provide your name, surname, e-mail and mobile telephone number in corresponding
  • To register for any specific event, the safest method is for a member to send the Organizer an e-mail, based on the instructions published in the corresponding Activities Description page. Please do not expect a mid-week e-mail, as has been the tradition for years. E-mails only serve as a reminder and they may or may not get to you, as an effort is made to prune them
  • In short, do not wait to receive an e-mail, please visit the website once a week, get the info and send in your e-mail to register
  • in the unlikely situation that an event is canceled, the only means of secure communication is to visit the website, before leaving home

Furthermore, some things remain unchanged, and characterize the Cyprus Strollers as a unique hiking club; among them:

  • Commitment to first-class planning and organization
  • Excursions alternate between Saturdays and Sundays, thus appealing to more people
  • Dedicated website, fully informed, well in advance, in English
  • Our caring, multinational character; we are open to Strollers of any nationality, both permanent residents, as well as visitors to the island
  • Shared passion for hiking and enjoying the Cyprus countryside, in pleasant company
  • Well-chosen tavernas, serving us very good value meals at reasonable prices, because we honour them with our loyalty.

The Cyprus Strollers are committed to “Hiking made Pleasant”, our slogan. Please help us to carry on delivering on this promise, with your valuable contribution.

Thank you and enjoy the walks in store. Xenophon

Responsible Hiking

Spoken under different circumstances, the thoughts that follow could be interpreted as ‘motherhood’. Indeed, over the past 5 summers, there was sparse reason for such talk. Suddenly this summer we observe a thirst for hiking in the heatwave. Why so?

It may have to do with the reality of the covid-19 disruption, which for The Cyprus Strollers resulted in the cancellation of 8 scheduled activities; a serious figure, in a January – May season of 20. Many of us have come out of the lockdown feeling numb, that we had been deprived of Spring and Easter.

When a partial lifting of home confinement was announced and enabled the hike of 23 May, the government had imposed a limit of 10 per group. The Cyprus Strollers, as well as one other hiking club, respected this limit on the day. Some members decided to stay home for some more time, puzzled as to what the near future would bring v-a-v covid-19. Other members chose to get out into nature in self-organised groups of 3 or 4. There have even been gentle members who, having been selected for the 23 May hike, they applied for the 30 May one that followed, stating that they appreciated that their places could/should have been offered to other applicants, who were not chosen for the first outing. Here is a thank you message to all of you, mentioned above.

Dire situations are, of course, a time for testing friendships and honouring relations. The covid-19 crisis was no exception. A couple of members decided to leave the club, in an ungracious manner, creating alternative outings to the scheduled 23 and 30 May events; they set up a new, splinter group, and campaigned fervently among members of The Cyprus Strollers to follow them in hiking in these 2 dates and through June and July. Hiking as a sport is experiencing steady growth since we started, and hikers now have one more choice.

We take this opportunity to reiterate a few key principles of this club.

  • The Cyprus Strollers will continue to respect government-imposed regulations. This applies to any restrictions from covid-19. We will apply such restrictions without dodgy interpretations
  • The Cyprus Strollers will continue to take the high temperatures of Cyprus summers very seriously. Measurements have proven that a hike at temperatures exceeding 21°C is putting your health at risk. The same goes for walking under the direct sun; a heat stroke, dehydration and exhaustion can strike anyone, other than young extreme athletes
  • The Cyprus Strollers is a social club built from the initiative of Xenophon, and led by him at significant cost, without any subsidy, grant, or donation from any direction; your attendance is free of charge.
  • Notwithstanding the above, we do ask of your contribution. Namely, your greeting as you meet up in the morning, your greeting as you depart in the afternoon, open communication, your thought of the day, a smile, a cheer, as well as your participation at the meals that follow the hikes; because as many will testify, hikes without the ensuing meals and their inspired conversations are half the fun.

This is the essence of the club, ‘Hiking made Pleasant’, as the club logo tells. Join us on 4 October for the start of season 13. Visit the website a few weeks earlier, for the new Schedule.

Extra activity 6 June – Myllomeris and Kampos Livadiou

With full respect of the government measures about the covid-19 threat, this club announces the following extra activity for Saturday 6 June. We invite interest from members to conduct a double hike of Myllomeris waterfall, followed by Kampos Livadiou, followed by a picnic at the organized picnic site at Kampos Livadiou. For the picnic you are urged to bring along bite-sized food; in this way, you will be offering some of what you carry to others, and at the same time picking bites carried by fellow Strollers; doesn’t this sound more exciting than if you were to bring along just one sandwich?

We set off from the church of tis Theou Sophias in Nicosia at 9:15 am. The Myllomeris hike starts at 10:45 am. For driving instructions and other details please read this https://cyprus-strollers.org/activities-description/troodos-platres-myllomeris-waterfall-and-kampos-livadiou-two-trails-sat-13-may/. The hike will take place with one or more groups of 10 members; this means that if there is interest from more than 10 members, a second group of 10 will be formed, which will set off at a distance from the first group of 10; similarly for a third group of 10 and so on. The activity requires pre-registration, in the deadline indicated (Thursday 12 noon), and participation will be authorized and approved with a return e-mail. The members selected for participation will receive a return e-mail from Xenophon. In case you have not received a return e-mail, this means a rejection from this activity; we apologise and urge you to apply again next time.

To register, the only vehicle is via e-mail to Xenophon.hasapis@gmail.com. In replying, you must respond to all the following points a) state if you have tested positive to covid-19; if yes, we ask you to have with you the results of the test where you subsequently tested clear, b) state if you will have the time and appetite to take part at the picnic or not, c) state if you are prepared to drive to the hike start or you must have a lift, d) state your firm decision and availability to participate; if uncertain, if you face some dependency, kindly do not rush to apply and do not take the place of someone who is more eager.

If you are new to the club or have not applied for membership so far, you must provide your name, surname, e-mail and mobile telephone number, as well. Thank you.

Newcomers and Existing Members and all together 10 – Madari Selladi 30 May

The club was delighted on Saturday 30 May to have welcomed 3 new members, who took the decision over the lockdown to experience The Cyprus Strollers! The combination of 2 hikes on Selladi Karamanli took place under optimal weather conditions, and participants quickly blended into one team, with existing members extending warm hospitality to the newcomers. The meal which followed was a very rewarding treat, served with strict observance of the hygiene code at Fountoukia taverna.

Two Clubs with 10 participants each – Almyrolivado 23 May

Following a 9-weeks shutdown, it was very encouraging to observe not only The Cyprus Strollers, but also one other well-run hiking club, each with just 10 participants, hiking at Almyrolivado on 23 May. Both clubs respected the government imposed limit of 10 and set off at a 15-min distance from one another. The hike and picnic experience was cheerful and enriching.

A Time to Reflect

I will start with a few thoughts already expressed rather widely. This pandemic is wholly democratic, it strikes the rich as it does the poor. Perhaps there is no parallel in the entire world history, not because there have not been epidemics with a greater death toll, but because the overuse of the opportunity to fly at an affordable cost has contributed extensively to the rapid spread of the disease. It is impossible to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, because masses of people have/are behaving carelessly.

Even when we, hopefully, reach a hiatus in the summer, there would be no guarantee that a mutant would not strike again in 2021. In whatever circumstances, nonetheless, the blow to the economy and family incomes will be disastrous (loss of employment, reduced salaries, shortage of goods, frugal consumption). At this point, the burden will be much heavier on the lower income families, and all talk of a democratic pandemic will cease.

So what can one do, today, as we stay locked inside? There are people who live in panic. The realization of death is a serious awakening. Could this be attributed to a belief that one would live endlessly? Or, rather, the conscience of a life conducted selfishly, with little regard for the other? Do we see in this crisis the need for greater sympathy, compassion, humble behaviour? Will man/woman carry on in the conceit that they are gods? Can covid-19 signal the start of a new approach to life, where we cherish every day, are thankful for the eternal pleasures of life, and express our gratitude for the gifts in one’s life?

The Cyprus Strollers is founded on the premise of giving and sharing. Possibly many of you feel a longing for all the goodness the club has offered you. The photo shows a tree bending in ‘modesty’. We wish every member and your loved ones a healthy sojourn through the pandemic. We hope to be able to resume normal operations soon. In the meantime, do take this opportunity at the space ‘leave a comment’ below this text, to express any short or longer thought, to share with all.