I’m visiting my friends Jacky and Zsolt in Paphos and exploring the city. Zsolt lends me his small motorbike, which I can use to explore more of Cyprus on my own.
Although it is actually very hot on the Mediterranean island at this time, the weather remains very changeable. There are always rain showers.
My first destination is the “Holy Monastery of Saint Neophytos the Recluse”. The reclusive man must be something very special when he has an entire monastery at his disposal and his hermitage is even listed on Google.
I’m going north and up into the mountains. It rains more here than on the coast. I come through vineyards and small villages. There is little traffic.
Heat and rain… doesn’t matter!
The area in front of the monastery is designed for crowds of tourists. Although it’s Saturday, these stay out. There are many parking spaces and they are all empty. A tourist shop and a cafe await guests. The hermit is ready for a visit.
The entrance to the monastery is surprisingly modern. A screen shows the weather forecast biblically correct ahead.
Nobody wants money. Entry to the monastery is free. There is no trace of the residents.
The facility is indeed very beautiful. The walls show their age, but they are very well maintained. The trees and gardens look like they need a lot of attention too.
Saint Neophytos would have been delighted to see his monastery
Cypresses and lemon trees characterize the gardens around the monastery. It is quiet.
One could become really devout. Or start writing a book.
The hermits from the stories I know retreated to a cave and lived there with the animals. Visitors were only greeted with a few flying stones.
If there are Reclusives, where are the Inclusives?
In a back part of the complex I find the entrance to a monastery. A man is sitting in a small ticket booth and handing out tickets as if you were expecting a roller coaster in the door behind him. But the roller coaster remains. Instead there is a small room with candlesticks and many frescoes on the walls.
The colorful frescoes show passages from the Bible with a special focus on the sacred characters of the Holy Scriptures.
Touching the frescoes and taking photos are strictly forbidden.
I wonder which of the guys on the wall is this Neophytos now.
The inner courtyard of the monastery is also very well maintained. With a lot of love someone has transformed the patio into a blooming paradise, trimmed trees and hedges and planted flowers.
It’s a beautiful place. After an espresso and halloumi sandwich in the café, I ride my motorbike further and deeper into the mountains.