August 20, 2009

Walking Amongst the Orchids of Northern Cyprus

By Shereena Lingiah

Many holiday operators run orchid walks and treks up into the mountains, it is even possible to arrange to do the trek in aid of charity whilst on your holiday in Northern Cyprus. The walks take place from February to May, when the wild flowers can be seen in abundance high on the steep mountain slopes.

If you would like to take an orchid walk whilst on your Northern Cyprus holiday, they usually take up a whole day and are split into two halves. In the morning you will follow a trail into the mountains, where you will spot a number of wildflowers which are endemic only to Cyprus. Your guides will also point out at least nine different species of orchids, from the Serapis Aphrodite with its purple-plumed flowers to the Orchis Troodi, which was first found growing on the Troodos Mountains and therefore is perfectly suited to the harsh environment of the Kyrenia Mountains in the north of the island.

The mountain trail may be extremely scenic, but it also gives visitors an insight into the real Cyprus whilst on their holiday in Northern Cyprus Your guide will tell you stories of the village people who live a simple existence up in the mountains and an orchid walk will also extend your knowledge on the native plant life of the region. As you continue your walk further into the valley you will come across some rarer orchids which are indigenous to this area and which only grow deep in the mountain valley basin. However, your two hour orchid walk isn't just about pretty flowers, while following the trail you will also come across a Bronze Age Tomb and ancient drinking troughs which were once used by sheep. This coupled with the rugged mountain scenery will make you feel as if you really are travelling back in time whilst on your holidays to Northern Cyprus.

An organic farm, located on the trail, provides the perfect place in which to stop for lunch and if you want to eat like a local then be sure to try the delicious haloumi cheese and grilled meat kebabs. The farm boasts a beautiful outside area and you can enjoy your lunch beside the wild cyclamens before continuing on with the next part of your tour.

During the afternoon, you will be able to experience the traditional Turkish-Cypriot village life that your guide taught you about during your morning walk. The first stop is a visit to a local village to visit the Medieval Maronite Church and the houses made from a compact mixture of mud and straw. This is followed with a talk, by a village local, on the many uses of the mountain herbs, which are still gathered and used by the local people in both cooking and homeopathic medicine.

The walk finishes back at the Organic Farm with a traditional English afternoon tea and carrot cake, which should set you firmly on your way for the rest of your Northern Cyprus holiday.

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1 comment:

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