10/03/2020
Spring is an excellent time to hike the nature trails of Cyprus, as the temperature is mild, and the hills and forests are awash in wildflowers. Cyprus’s Deputy Ministry of Tourism and Forestry Department have organised the 2020 Walking Festival for 18 March through 24 May. Throughout the festival, treks led by tour guides and forest officers will introduce participants to the flora, fauna, geology, and history of the island. Take the Aphrodite Trail and see the Baths of Aphrodite, the ruins of a medieval monastery, forests of oak and pine, and views of the Akamas coast. Or, follow the Venetian Bridges Trail in the Limassol District and find elegant bridges as you pass through clusters of pine. There are two options for exploring the Troodos Mountain Range: The Persephone Trail wends its way through a black pine forest near the Kysos River, while the Artemis Trail brings you to two 500-year-old trees, the ruins of a Venetian fortification, and the top of Mount Olympus. A full programme is available from the sponsors here. The programme gives the schedule for each trek along with its length in kilometres, walking time, and landmarks. The hikes are free of charge, but you must book in advance; your booking includes bus transfer to the trailhead. Conveniently, the bus from Pafos boards on Poseidonos Avenue across the street from sister property Aloe. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and to protect yourself from the sun. Hit the trails and take in the beauty of Cyprus in Spring.
10/03/2020
Feeling a nip in the air? Stop in at Annabelle’s Byz Bar and take off the chill with a warm drink. Our mulled wine, for example, starts with a generous pour of merlot. To that we add orange peels, berries, cloves, and a bit of cognac. We serve the mulled wine piping hot with cinnamon sticks and a side of honey (should you wish to sweeten it). We also offer a range of specialty coffees. The Parisienne combines cognac with coffee and is topped with whipped cream. Our Mexican coffee features espresso, tequila, and Kahlùa. Seeking a Caribbean vibe? Try the Calypso: we’ll add Tia Maria, a liqueur made with Jamaican rum and coffee beans and flavoured with vanilla and sugar, to your coffee. The Toasted Almond presents a savoury, nutty taste through a mixture of amaretto, coffee liqueur, whipped cream, and a sprinkling of chocolate bits. If you’d like a non-alcoholic warm up, select from our complete range of coffees and teas—we even offer Afternoon Tea service. If you have a favourite beverage not listed on our menu, just give us the recipe! We’ll prepare your drink to your specifications. Byz Bar is a cosy space with a warm atmosphere. Located just next to the main entrance of Annabelle, it is the perfect place to tuck in for a warm refreshment.
10/03/2020
Have you noticed a preponderance of kites lining store shelves and soaring in the skies of Cyprus lately? It’s a harbinger of Spring and, more specifically, the beginning of Lent. Lent begins with the celebration of Green Monday, which this year fell on 2 March. Following immediately after the close of the gluttonous carnival season, Green Monday celebrates the beginning of the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter. Families and friends gather at parks, meadows, and beaches for an afternoon together. The centrepiece of the celebration is the Green Monday picnic. Since many observers abstain from meat, eggs, and dairy products during the Lenten season, the menu is rich in vegetarian dishes. A bread called ‘lagana’ is made specially for the holiday; it is enjoyed with dips (tahini, hummus, taramosalata), olives, and fresh vegetables. You might also find octopus or shellfish on the menu. Aside from eating, the main activity is flying kites. In olden days, the kites were crafted from wood, paper, and string in local workshops. Nowadays, you will see mostly store-bought kites plying the winds—but look closely for some handmade decorations. Many localities organise kite-flying competitions, with the aim being to create a colourful spectacle and see whose kite reaches the highest altitude. While kite-flying is a good way to enjoy the first balmy breezes of Spring, it also carries religious symbolism on Green Monday: the kite represents the soul yearning to be near God. The highest kite is closest to heaven.
10/03/2020
Cyprus is one of the countries where the celebration of name days is prevalent. In the Greek Orthodox tradition, saints are honored with feast days that occur throughout the calendar year; indeed, every day in the year is associated with at least one saint. At birth, children of Christians generally receive a given name honoring a saint. That saint’s feast day becomes the child’s name day. Name days are considered more important than birthdays in the culture. The honoree hosts a celebration at home or at a restaurant or bar; invitees present gifts and everyone shares food and drink, music, and good company. Children have a special obligation on their name days: they must bring sweets for their classmates at school. A child will be treated to a party and should expect special attention from godparents. Name day celebrations are often combined with birthday celebrations, especially when the two days fall close together. Of course, not everyone has a Christian given name; it is common to give names from the pagan Greek tradition, such as Aphrodite, too. What to do? Some simply decide not to celebrate a name day. Others, though, will celebrate on All Saints’ Day. While most name days occur every year on the same dates, some are moveable feasts that correlate with celebrations on the liturgical calendar, like Easter and Christmas. It is common to venerate the name day of a friend or family member with telephone calls, texts, posts on social media, and public gatherings.
04/02/2020
Looking for a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart? Annabelle’s Ouranos Wellbeing Spa is offering the Valentine’s Day Couple’s Escape. Choose from one of two couple’s massages. Rest next to each other as you settle in for the Back to Bliss, a thirty-minute tension-relieving massage focusing on the back and neck (€90). Or luxuriate in the sixty-minute Dual Indulgence, an exquisite full-body massage you enjoy side by side; it will soothe your bodies and balance your minds (€153). Each treatment features essential oils and is conducted in the romantic atmosphere of our couple’s suite. After your treatment, sip prosecco and nibble on strawberries in our relaxation area overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. As a guest of the spa, you will receive daylong access to our facilities—including the indoor pool, gym, and sauna. These offers are available only on Valentine’s Day; they cannot be combined with spa or hotel vouchers. Contact us on the telephone (26885404) or by email (spa.annabelle@thanoshotels.com) to book this special treatment for you and your loved one.
03/02/2020
The ‘locavore’ movement encourages consumers to source their food locally, thereby supporting nearby producers, reducing transit (and the carbon footprint), and using food that is fresh and, in many cases, endemic to the local environment. Mediterraneo, Annabelle’s seaside taverna, is committed to using local foods whenever possible. To do so, it continuously cultivates a network of suppliers. This can be a challenge, as many local vendors are family businesses with no corporate name and a very low profile. Moreover, these producers often focus on a single product and offer only small batches. Often, the culinary team relies on word of mouth. Sous chef Marios Efsthathiou heard of an excellent cheese producer in his family’s village of Galataria (the village’s name, encouragingly, means ‘place of milk’); the company now produces halloumi and anari cheeses made entirely with sheep’s milk and flavoured to Mediterraneo’s specifications. Village wine for marinating meats is procured from a small local vineyard. A local butcher known for high quality product is also trusted with preparing cured meats like lountza. A hotel gardener is the source of mountain oregano; other herbs and spices are grown at Annabelle itself. Every day begins with a discussion with produce, meat, and fish vendors about what is fresh and in season as orders are placed and menus prepared. Recipes are sourced locally as well: a staff member’s grandmother’s preparation of a classic Cypriot dish will be studied with care by the team. Local food served with Cypriot flare—that’s the magic of Mediterraneo.