Saturday, December 01, 2012

Walking around the Salt Lake: a guided tour

Sheila suggested we might walk right around the Salt Lake this morning, if we left early enough. It's about 12km, and she's done it a few times before, but I haven't. 

I woke shortly before 6.00am, and we left our respective houses about fifteen minutes later. As usual, the sunrise was quite pretty - this was taken before we reached the trail:

We set out on the usual 2km walk to the aqueduct:

I didn't know quite where we would go next, but we walked across the bridge next to the aqueduct, noticing mosquito breeding grounds puddles on either side:

Sheila said we would be walking back through part of the aqueduct, which, indeed, is exactly what we did: 

Then over some waste ground towards the next part of the path:

There didn't seem to be anybody else around, although by now the sun was fully up, and it was a gorgeous morning. I suppose the temperature was about 15C, but we were walking at reasonable speed and although I only had a very light jacket over my teeshirt, I was starting to feel quite warm as we walked along this path:

There were bare fields on each side, and some of the ground was just a rough track:

It hasn't rained for about a week, but there were still some quite muddy sections which we had to skirt to keep our shoes dry: 

I enjoyed seeing how green the island is getting already, even though we haven't yet had a whole lot of rain:

It's a good thing Sheila was guiding me since we reached a fork in the path where it wasn't at all obvious where to go:

At least, it wasn't obvious unless one looked to the other side of the road, where there was a little sign saying E4 pointing back where we had come from, and also along the left fork of the track:

I was a bit puzzled by some of the puddles which seemed to be large, and sitting in broad sunlight; I would have expected them all to have dried up after a week without rain:

Off to the side we saw a little shed with a couple of horses outside, although they're not very obvious from this photo:

I was struck by a large number of prickly plants which seemed to be some kind of thistle - but looked almost as if someone had spray-painted them in silver: 

We were over the half-way point by now, and I was still feeling quite energetic, enjoying the early morning fresh air, and the scenery which even included a few rather sparse fir trees:

We passed the famous Sultan Tekke Mosque - I almost didn't notice it as I was looking the other way:

The Salt Lake looked rather stunning from this perspective, although again it's really impossible to capture it in a photo: 

Eventually we emerged from the rough track, onto another purpose-built path, although it was much narrower than the one we usually walk along: 

Then for a while we were out on the regular pavement. The slabs are uneven and I managed to trip slightly, stubbing a toe, but it wasn't particularly painful. 

However, I was beginning to feel my legs aching; particularly my right one. It started in my thigh but gradually moved down... of course we were well past the half-way mark now so all I could do was keep going. 

There was a slightly confusing sign which told us that the mosque was 1km away, the aqueduct 4km. However the mosque is supposed to be 4km from the aqueduct too. Sometimes measurements in Cyprus are very approximate!

At last, we reached the home stretch: the path which is 4km from the aqueduct, the Airport Road end of the trail that we walk more regularly. I was beginning to limp by this stage, particularly when we did any slight downhill parts, but was pleased that we were now not far from home:

After 10km, the last little bit seemed quite short even though my leg was so uncomfortable - we were talking, of course, and it didn't seem long before we reached the place where we start and join the trail.

Except that some kind of excavation is going on, so a new entrance path has been built: 

We both checked our phones, and were pleased to see that despite me stopping to take photos several times, and limping the last couple of kilometres, we had completed the 12km in just about two hours.  Sheila walked the rest of the way home with me just to make sure that I got there... but, happily, I quickly felt better after I arrived indoors and sat down for a bit. 

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