So, where to next? Maybe back to Cyprus for a final post about our last destination there, the Akamas peninsula. This is the peninsula at the very western tip of Cyprus, purple in the map below, composed of the same oceanic lithosphere as the Tróödhos mountains. The inaccessibility of the area has helped maintain a high level of biodiversity here as, ironically, has its use for military exercises by the British army and navy until the year 2000. Many of the island’s endemic and near-endemic plants are found here.
We drove across the narrow strip of mountains from our accommodation at Pegia and parked near the Baths of Aphrodite, as we’d done last year. The Greek goddess Aphrodite figures large in Cypriot mythology and the natural pool here is where she is supposed to have bathed before and after entertaining her many lovers. Today, instead of walking along the coastal path we headed uphill, through the Botanic Gardens and along the Aphrodite trail. The gardens are rather sparsely populated with plants but, at least at this time of year, have a fabulous display of wild cyclamen, Cyclamen persicum.
As we climbed, there were superb views back towards Polis and along the north coast of the island and swathes of cream-coloured Ranunculus asiaticus and deep red Tetrogonolobus around our feet.
Some of the rocks here make no secret of their oceanic origins.
After the first steep climb we emerged onto a wooded plateau with quite a different flora; several species of Ophrys, green-winged orchids, delicate white Star-of-Bethlehems and Bellevallia species, cousins of our native bluebells.
Left to right: Ophrys bornmuelleri, O. flavomarginata and Orchis morio ssp. syriaca
Left to right: Bellevalia nivalis, B. trifoliata and Gagea graeca
This was our last day in Cyprus and we had to be back in Paphos for an evening flight so, although there is a circular route back to Aphrodite’s Baths we just climbed to the top of the hill in search of a view before returning by the same route. My appetite was certainly whetted for more exploration of this wild, westernmost tip of the island. Roll on April 2020!