Pafos to Polis

Trip Start Mar 16, 2004
Trip End Jun 13, 2004

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Flag of Cyprus  ,
Thursday, March 18, 2004

The first revolutions of the EU Charity Cycle started in earnest at about 1.30pm or so. I spent the morning sorting out the last few bits and bobs and getting the first report away to the Sunday Journal. It took a while to figure out how to send the pictures.

I must admit I was a little bit nervous as I headed north out of Pafos towards the Akamas Penninsula. However those niggling doubts evaporated with the warm sunshine and were blown away with the breeze. As I reached the edge of town I was already finding my rhythm. The trick to cycling long distances is to find a constant pace for pedaling and then use the gears to stick to it as much as possible. Within a few kilometres I was completely comfortable with the bike and it didn't seem like almost two years since I had done anything like this.

I was heading for Polis and taking the long road via the Akamas Penninsula. Oner of the most noticeable sites on the road out of town is the number of new apartments and villas springing up to supply the holiday home market. I meandered through a lot of little back roads around Coral Bay and passed several groups of people, usually a couple and a well dressed person. I assumed it was estate agents showing people around.

It was around here that I passed a dead snake in the road. It was jet black, about 1 metre long. C'mon, anyone any ideas what it was. There can't be that many jet black snakes. There's a photo of it above.

The road comes to a sudden end just past Corral Bay. Ahead is an extremely rough dirt track. I ask a group of workmen building a house if It goes to Akamas and they fetch the guy who speaks the most English, and he confirms its the right road. I'm not worried about punctures on this track, I've got really good tyres on. Its the musical twang of a spoke snapping that I don't want to hear.I rejoin a paved road after a few km near Agios Georgios, and old church perched on a headland. The houses thin out and I pass the sign telling me I'm now in Akamas. It is beautiful. I cycle alongside Lara Beach, one of the few in Cyprus where turtles still come ashore to breed.

The road again becomes a dirt track and this time its for real. Imagine a road with potholes by potholes and the tar has completely eroded away leaving the rocky foundation and you're close. The scrub was alive with sparrows and finches and despite trying to watch the sky for large birds of prey I didn't see any.

Towards late afternoon I turned right away from the coast and started to climb the 300m high ridge separating me from Polis. It was dusty, gravelly dirt track all the way. As I climbed around one of the hairpin pins a bird f;ew from the roadside to a little cliff face. I recognised it as a hoopoe, a new bird for me. After a bit of trying I got a usable photo of it (it needs proper editing though). A lovely woodpecker like bird with a zebra crossing coloured back, brownish head, red indian chief crest and a long downcurved bill. OK, so I'm a bit mad, but that made the days cycling worth it for me.

The views over the bay below from the top were impressive and then it was time to sped downhill to Polis. It was further than I thought and I reached the campsite just after dark. There were other campers here, so I pitched my tent and crawled in. I fell asleep to a loud chorus of frogs calling, rising and falling in unison as if lead by a conductor. I could imagine for a while that I was back in the rainforest.

Stats of the day:
Distance:59.19km cycling time:4hrs:10mins:55secs
average speed:14.15km/hr Maz speed:43.2km/hr
Total travelled to date: 79.92km
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