IN AN attempt to make the most of the cooler mountain air, my son Kristian and I escaped the sweltering Nicosia heat to visit Platres this week. Instead of our usual walk in the Troodos mountains, we decided to try the Sparti rope adventure park which opened last year.
We started out with very different expectations. Kristian, a 26-year-old athlete, thought the whole thing would be child’s play. I, on the other hand, had heard from several people that they had given up on their climb on lines through the trees very quickly and had to be taken down by one of the park’s employees. As they were all younger than me, and I’m terrified of heights, I was sure I wouldn’t last long.
We were both wrong.
The introduction was reassuring. We were equipped with harnesses and instructed in how to use the various parts. The equipment looked safe, and the instructions for using them only a little confusing.
Then off we went, after I had been cleared to use the easiest of four lines, the yellow line, and Kristian to use all of them, including the black speed zipline, which is 116 metres long.
Most of us – especially the first-timers – were at least slightly scared when we took our first steps. I was terrified. My legs were shaking, as was the rope line I was supposed to be moving along on.
Had I been alone, without Kristian, who was in front of me and occasionally told me to take a few deep breaths, yes, I would have given up. I was lucky to have this support which was sadly lacking for most of the kids who braved the course alone, with their parents safely on the ground.
I was very jealous of them, but also irritated by their meaningless remarks to their kids.
“Go on, it’s easy,” one parent told his child. I was tempted to reply: “What do you know about it? Get up here!”
It is, as even the owner of Sparti readily admits, not easy at all when you do it for the first time. But neither is it as terrifying as it first seems, I gradually realised. In the end, you are only a few metres above the ground. Then there is the equipment, which ensures that you are unlikely to hurt yourself if you do fall. You will simply dangle in the air until someone comes to your aid.
Maybe most reassuring are the 12 instructors. They were very helpful and encouraging, yet also quick to come with ladders when you had enough.
All this was slowly sinking in by the time I reached the end of the line about an hour later. By then I was a little less shaky and quite sure I would like to try it again one day.
As for Kristian, he did indeed find the yellow line child’s play, but went on to do the rest. There were some parts even he found challenging, proving that both of us were wrong in the end.
Sparti suits all ability levels. After opening the place last summer, the owners quickly realised that even the yellow ‘easy’ line cannot be tackled without preparation by smaller visitors and recently added another two lines where the three to five-year-olds can learn the system. More advanced older climbers can move on from the yellow line to the others.
We spent several hours there and could easily have spent longer as you can take your time and also repeat lines. Prices range from €14 to €32 for three hours according to activities and age.
Safely back on the ground, I decided it was a great outing. How often, especially in a small place such as Cyprus, do you get the chance to experience a new challenge in a safe environment? And this is one which people of all ages can share.
The park is open every day from 10am to 6pm in July and August. It is located on the main road from Kato to Pano Platres in front of the hospital.
Tel: 99 100003 (Greek), 99541665 (English and Russian)