Monday, 30 June 2014

Cool off in the Troodos Mountains... with your dog

Neither me nor my dog deal very well with the heat. We both spend our days seeking out shady spots to hide in and trying to expend as little energy as possible. Sage, with her medium length black fur coat, really suffers during hot days. So, heading up to the cooler, shady Troodos mountains is a great way to pass the hottest days. 

At the Caledonian Waterfalls (June 2014)
We've spent a lot of time in this area, hiking the nature trails, eating and drinking in the small villages, staying in some of the lovely Agrotourism accommodation available there. It always feels much cooler there (so much so that we froze up there in April last year while it was almost beach weather in the coastal areas), and we have even managed to hike some of the more covered, woodland trails in mid summer. 

Our most recent visit was last weekend. We drove as far as the lovely, shady Platres, and spent some time exploring the village. A friend of mine was visiting, so we took her to see the Caledonian Waterfalls (that I've written about in a previous post, here). Also in this are are the Milomeris Waterfalls, which are at the end of a short walk through woodland, although these falls attract more visitors so a bit less chance to let your dog run around freely, see my review here

Sage posing at Milomeris Waterfalls
Sage posing at Caledonian Waterfalls

This was the first time in several days that I had seen Sage really running around, frollicking even, clearly loving the icy water and shady paths. There were quite a few visitors there, some with their dogs too, including a family who had brought their dog on holiday with them from Russia! Most people kept their dogs on their leads. I find this really tough as there are relatively few places I can let Sage really run at her own speed, to go and sniff whatever she likes, to jump in the water freely - I don't want to ruin her fun. However, I suppose as it gets to summer time and the trails are busier with families and holiday-makers, dog owners may have to have this in mind. 

I have read reviews saying that there was little or no water in the Falls during the summer. These waterfalls are not spectacular and visitors should not expect Niagra Falls here, but the enjoyment comes from following the lovely woodland paths, looking at unusual and endemic species of plant life, crossing the stream on small rickety bridges, enjoying the cooler mountain air and the contrast to the wildlife and climate of the rest of the island. 

Antonis Cafe, Pano Platres

At Antonis Restaurant, Platres

After a long walk (and bit of a swim for some of us) we went to have lunch in Pano Platres. I am sure many of these places would have accepted dogs in the outdoors areas of the cafes/restaurants, but we chose somewhere that looked big with plenty of space to sit with Sage out of the way of other customers. This was Antonis Cafe, on the main road through Pano Platres just by the municipal parking and tourist information area.

At Antonis Cafe, Platres
The staff were very friendly and didn't have any problem with Sage being there. They made an effort to produce a vegetarian option for us, although I think the usual menu is sandwiches/burgers/snacks. A very large fresh salad, halloumi, bread, olives, tahini, 2 beers and water came to just 15€.

We finished our day out with a coffee stop at a place that I am a bit ambivalent about. Green Valley Waterfall Cafe is on the road from Lemesos up to Troodos, in Trimiklini. It has a large open patio space with tables, as well as a covered area, and, what makes it special, a lovingly made path down to some waterfalls absolutely full of plants and animals. I wrote about it here.

I thoroughly recommend spending the 5€ entrance fee to drink your coffee or have a picnic down at these waterfalls. What I don't recommend, however, is sitting with your (female?) dog in the cafe itself. The owner has two small but rather aggressive female dogs that have tried pretty hard to attack Sage on two occasions now. I understand the territory issue, but I was annoyed that I could not enjoy my coffee without fear of being attacked. If you have your dog with you, just head on down to the waterfalls for a more relaxing, peaceful experience.

Green Valley Falls Cafe, Trimiklini

Green Valley Falls, Trimiklini
There is so much to explore in this area and it provides a very welcome break from the heat and bustle of the coast. Your dog will love it too.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

More venues for watching the World Cup...with your dog

Games are projected onto the wall of the bar in the evenings
Trying to watch the games while out and about in Larnaca with my large dog has been a challenge. We have found a couple of favourites, and it has motivated me to try out a few different places that I had noticed but hadn't got around to. We have also been turned away from quite a few!

While trying to catch Germany vs Portugal last week, the bar I had planned to go to was closed, the game begun, we were turned away from several places, and I was feeling hot and bothered trying to watch on a distant screen from outside a popular coffee shop... when I heard the commentary from the neighbouring rooftop cafe bar Le Jardin, and decided to give it a go.

Le Jardin Cafe Bar

Le Jardin Cafe Bar is on Grigori Afxentiou Street, which ends at Larnaca Police Station, opposite from the Easy Hotel.

I had noticed this bar on previous trips to town, and thought it looked nice from the outside, but had not expected them to accept dogs and therefore put off giving it a go.

Le Jardin is beautifully decorated with lots of plants, comfortable sofas, inviting lighting. Everyone in there was immediately very friendly and gave Sage a lot of attention. There was another group already there with their dog, a friendly Pomeranian who seemed like quite a regular there.

The match was showing in the early evening, and as it started to get dark I was half distracted from the tvs by the hundreds of swallows diving around the skies around the rooftop bar, as well as by the changing colours from the setting sun. Despite being situated on a main, busy road, as soon as you climb the stairs up to the bar, it is very easy to forget you in the middle of town.

From Sage's point of view, it was nice to get so much attention, but there wasn't much space for her to stretch out as the bar is quite small and narrow. Especially once it got dark, I was quite anxious that someone would step on her as I couldn't really find a corner to hide her away.

From the football point of view, this was a lovely place to watch the game. There were 2 tv screens in the early evening, and as it got dark they projected the screen onto the white wall at one end of the bar so it was even easier to get a good view.

The bar serves cocktails and bottles of beer, as well as sandwiches and wraps. I paid a fairly standard €3 for a coffee.

On their FB page you can find information on the upcoming games, as well as music events and info on the menu:

Le Jardin is a beautifully decorated bar, with a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Simply because of its size and lay out, I might advise taking a large dog somewhere where there is a bit more space, although it's great to have more options, particularly when they are as nice as this one. 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Watch the World Cup... with your dog

Watching Mexico vs Cameroon at The Depot

Recently my criteria for choosing a bar to go to in Cyprus just became a little bit harder. Sage just loves football, so at the moment I'm looking for places that not only accept pets, but that are also showing the World Cup. I'm on the look out for dog-friendly bars with garden or terrace areas, and screens outside. Extra points goes to bars with good cheap food, friendly service, and wide range of drinks, of course.

The Depot
We have tried out a couple in the last few days, and our current favourite is The Depot, which is on the beach road just beyond the Fortress at Finikoudes (in the direction of Macenzie Beach). This bar/grill is in a lovely location, especially now work has finished on the walkway by the sea here. If you are not a football fan, you could happily spend your time looking out over the water, and people watching. This 'promenade' was also quite good for a halftime walk with Sage!

Walkway by the sea beyond the Fortress at Finikoudes
Staff at The Depot were very friendly to us, petting Sage, and offering to bring her water. There was plenty of space for Sage to sit out of the way of the other customers, while we still had a good view of the (3!!!) large screens showing the World Cup. 

Drinks were fairly cheap here, about 2.5€ for a large Carlsberg/Keo beer, 2-3€ for a coffee. We also ordered some amazing homemade chips and grilled vegetable wrap, and both dishes cost under 5€.

Terrace area of The Depot
Attention to detail is visible in the decoration both inside and out at The Depot. I loved the use of the breeze blocks from the wall as plant pots and the strange lamps from recycled wine bottles. The large central bar inside also fits well with the style and shape of the building.

The Depot in the evening
So, whether or not you want to see the games, I recommend this bar for food or drinks, with your dog. 
Find them on FB here