Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Anniversary trip to Platres

I'm a little shocked to see that it's almost a month since I wrote on this blog. And that it's nearly four weeks since the events of which I am about to write. But, I hope, better late than never...

Six years ago, we spent a couple of days in the mountains over our wedding anniversary. We went to the little village of Kakopetria, which was pleasantly cool and a great place to relax, away from the heat and humidity of Larnaka.

This year has been quite stressful in many ways, so Richard decided to find another village - since there wasn't exactly a whole lot to do in Kakopetria! - and take me into the mountains again, for this year's 33rd anniversary. He opted for Platres*, and checked reviews of several possible inns/hotels/b&bs in the neighbourhood. He rejected several which were apparently unfriendly or had smelly drains, and opted for the Semiramis Hotel, which most reviewers claimed was basic but friendly. The price was pretty good too...

It was a little complicated to find; we went to the wrong part of Platres at first, and then tried to set the address on Richard's phone app... it wasn't very accurate, but happily he spotted it just as we were about to drive past on the main road:

We were a bit tired and rather hungry by the time we got there, as it was around 1.00pm. We were checked in by a very friendly young woman, and informed that we had 'half board' - a slight surprise as we thought we only had bed and breakfast.  Our room was like one from a traditional Cyprus house of fifty or so years ago, dark wood and indeed fairly basic.  The only slight disappointment was that there were no coffee-making facilities - and that the drains were a little smelly! 

However we wanted to eat first of all, so walked a couple of kilometres into Platres village where we had some excellent rolls and then found a place for frapp├ęs. We then walked back to the hotel, and to my astonishment I lay down for a second to see how comfortable the bed was, and then fell asleep almost instantly.  I almost never take siestas... it must be something to do with the mountain air, and perhaps having just walked four kilometres.  Even having had caffeine did not keep me awake.

Our evening meal was not served at the hotel but at a taverna in the village, which was run by the husband of the lady who had greeted us when we arrived. Apparently his father is the owner of the hotel. It truly is an old-style family-run business, and very friendly indeed. Richard had a couple of long conversations with the owner, discussing the hotel's history and the economic crisis, and living in Cyprus in general. 

Although our room did not really have anywhere comfortable to sit, there were lounge areas downstairs, and after breakfast each morning - basic but good - we sat and read for a while:

I really like the lighting in this photo... not that I set anything up. It was one of those snaps that just happened to work:

Later on we walked back into the town - the hotel staff had told us of a rather shorter (albeit very steep) route, and looked at the shops. I'm not keen on shops in general, but it was quite interesting to see them and wander round a few. There were vast numbers of restaurants and tavernas; we chose one offering free wi-fi to have coffee, since the hotel did not offer wi-fi.

Here's a little area in the village where we sat briefly:

Having rather exhausted Platres we drove up to the summit of the mountains at Troodos - not far away - and had lunch there. Then we had some ice creams... this was mine:

No doubt highly calorific, but absolutely delicious. 

In the evening it was back to the family-run taverna: 

The options for 'half-board' customers of the hotel were a little limited, starting with an excellent Greek salad:

I passed the olives and beetroot to Richard but enjoyed the rest of it. 

Then we had the option of about eight different Cyprus specialities. Richard chose kleftiko the first night and afelia the second.  They were served as plates of meat - no veg at all; a dish of couscous accompanied the kleftiko, and some chips the afelia.  I had moussaka the first night which was okay, though not the best; the second night I made the mistake of having what I would call dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) although they were given a Cypriot name.  They were a bit bitter, and also just served with chips. I would have liked some vegeterian options.

However, since we had these evening meals included, we could hardly object - and they were certainly substantial and filling.  So much so that we didn't even think about dessert. 

We walked back to the hotel the long way round on our second evening, stopping to explore a few little detours, and were interested to see that although grape season was well underway on the island, the Platres grapes were evidently not yet ripe:

All in all, it was a very enjoyable couple of days away.

*Note that Platres is not pronounced 'Platters' or Platers' but something approximating to PLAT-rez

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