City lights and touristic restaurants may not be the only reasons and destinations to travel. There is much more to travel and tourism, and sometimes it is just about the peace and calm of rural districts and the warm hospitality of their people, their culture, their food, and simple ways of life, away from the hi-tech materialistic world.
And so to experience the very same, I undertook a journey to a village of Cyprus, the Kalavac. This blog post is dedicated not to tell you about the activities in Cyprus, but rather, about the most crucial aspect of travel – people.
It was only last month that I visited Kalavac Village for the first time ever in my life. Of all the villages in Cyprus, I chose this village as I had heard a lot about it – from various stories, to knowing the Head from his frequent appearances in the news. What is more is that the village has in its possession a tourism certification from the Ministry and is backed up by the EU.
And so with excitement and enthusiasm, we waited to visit this marvelous place. We were warmly welcomed by the Headman or the Mukhtar as he is known in the village. A very wise and knowledgeable man whose friendly and altruistic attitude is bound to captivate you until the end. His accounts of the village’s history were nothing less than impressive making our tour seem more like an educational trip but all the while, entertaining.
We then went on our way to the headman’s house, which is also his office. There, we met his wife and grandchildren, as lovely and amiable as the headman himself. After introducing ourselves and conversing for a while, we began our walk into the village. We saw an old mill and the clay beehives which were only a short walk from the Headman’s house.
Next, we visited some of the restored houses that had decorations reflecting the ancient times and yet magnificently blending in with their surroundings. We met with the residents of these houses as well. The women were crafting traditional baskets and demonstrated to us, ever so enthusiastically, the art of doing it. A fine work of art it surely was. The baskets are made for sale and you have a wide variety to choose from.
The lifestyle of the village is very traditional – as if you have travelled into the past when things were much calmer. The locks on doors are usually absent and upon further discussion with the headman, there seems to be no criminal activities in the village. Kalavaç hosts a set of people who has an absolute love of Cyprus and are ever more ready to welcome guests and foreigners making them feel one of their own.
Moving on, we travelled through the narrow streets of the old Cyprus and visited the oldest building in the village.
As part of the tour, you are also shown how to bake bread and prepare it using old stone ovens. I did not do this as it was right after we had lunch and fortunately I already knew how to do it anyway. However, do not forget to photograph all of this along with the beauty and the vibrant smiles of these locals who never grow tired of showing their crafts to others, making the tour even more engrossing.
We also did not go see Aunt Ayse, as we already knew her. She is quite well-known for her rugs, especially the way she makes them. Usually she shows the conventional practice of knitting by hand while using an old-fashioned machine which actually, quite ironically, involves a lot of manual work.
The tour normally takes around half a day between five to six hours. I would highly recommend to anyone to visit the place. It is a good change from the typical touristic city destinations, and instead travel to such villages. So the next time you are thinking of spending vacations in Cyprus, do visit the Kalavac village and I can assure you that you will leave making lots of friends.