My good friend Sheila has been walking along - and sometimes right around - the local Salt Lake since around May this year. I went with her a couple of times (not right around - just a shortish 4km walk) in the summer, but even going out at 7am or so was too hot for me; getting over-heated gives me a migraine, pretty much guaranteed. So after the second attempt I said I wouldn't go again until at least the end of September.
The end of September has come around all too rapidly, and although the daytime temperatures are still around 30C in the shade, it's a lot cooler overnight. We have managed not to use any air conditioning at all for nearly two weeks, now, and when I get up - usually around 6.00am - it feels very pleasantly cool when I open the doors. Of course 'pleasantly cool' in Cyprus in September is probably around 20-22C. Not exactly cold yet.
Yesterday we arranged that I would try the walk again, if I was up in time. I woke around 5.30, so after I'd pulled some clothes on and made my coffee, I texted Sheila. She was up too, but it was still dark. Around 6.20 I set off, in the half-light of dawn; it's about half a kilometre to the start of the trail, and Sheila's most usual walk is 8km in total.
Unfortunately I hadn't realised that our camera was set to 'manual' - perhaps the button slipped. So my first few photos came out strangely dark and blue, like this, taken near the aqueduct after the first 2km of the trail:
I include it here because it just about shows the sun coming up through one of the arches, and also because despite being wrong, the blue is quite pretty.
After pausing there briefly, we walked back to the start of the trail. I was beginning to feel a slight blister on my heel, but decided I'd keep going, so long as we took it slowly! For one thing, we'd only walked past the parts of the lake that finally dried up towards the end of the summer, and I wanted to get a shot of the water which is still there in the slightly deeper part of the Salt Lake.
Happily I did spot the manual setting (I have no idea what one should do with it!) and put the camera back to my usual automatic setting, so that I could take this photo which shows the dried up salt crust on the 'beach' part of the lake, but a clear stretch of water behind it, with reflections:
As we walked, I was getting a little tired so it was good to pause briefly now and again to have a sip of water - I had remembered to fill a bottle and take it with me - and take pictures. This shows even clearer reflections a bit further on:
Finally we reached the next stopping point, 2km in the other direction, next to the Airport Road. I'm not entirely sure what the brownish crust is at the edge of the salt:
I was pleased to see this marker, which apparently shows the distance to the aqueduct - so (assuming accuracy, which of course isn't necessarily a given in Cyprus) it's not just a guess that it's an 8km walk in all:
So there were only 2km left to get back to the starting point of the trail, and another 500m home again. 9km in all. We did stop and chat for a few minutes to one of Sheila's many trail-walking acquaintances along the way, and also when we parted to return to our homes - but in all I think we were walking for about an hour and three-quarters. So, not exactly fast, but I suppose it's good exercise. And pleasant to be out early in the morning with a friend.