Once we passed through the buffer zone, the drive to St. Hilarion Castle was only another 20-30 minute drive. The road was windy and narrow, but well worth the drive because we saw this:
And supposedly, Disney based the designs of the evil witch’s castle in Snow White from St. Hilarion Castle. (But who knows if that’s true. I guess Disney would know.)
The views from each section of the castle were quite enchanting. It definitely felt different walking through a castle than through an archaeological site.
(views of the Byzantine Chapel)
We climbed all the way to the top to Prince John’s tower. The walk was more challenging than we thought, but Piano Man became a hiking enthusiast, leaping and jumping about what felt like a 1,000 steps to the top. Meanwhile, I needed a break or two to catch my breath.
(Our walk up many, many, may steps.)
(view of Prince John’s Tower)
On our way up the steps, we met a couple of Hungarian women who work and live in the north, and they didn’t sound all too happy about living in Cyprus.
Then on our way down the steps, we encountered several other visitors struggling to catch their breath. We even saw two ladies take a smoke break before making their last hike up the steps to see the tower for themselves. I couldn’t help but think that smoking was the thing that probably made them lose their breath even more in the first place. Well, what can you do? Sometimes you gotta ignore the sign about no smoking around the castle, even if it could cause a forest fire.
(photo of another smoker’s cigarette thrown aside in the mountains)
Linus pretty much missed everything. His morning nap fell right in the middle of our hike. So as you can see, he was warm and resting well on my back while we hiked back down the castle steps.
Piano Man received one of the best freshly squeezed lemonades at the cafe’ situated inside an area of the castle.