Mount Athos
The Holy Mountain

Day 2 - We had reserved seats on the Vatopedi monastery bus which took us back to Karyes, where we had a cup of coffee with a friend and sorted out the programme for the rest of our trip. Then we were lucky to get a lift back to Dafni where we had brief stp, and then on stowards the monastery where we had booked for the night - Simonopetra. We walked the last part of the way, feeling that this was more proper. We were greeted very warmly and shown to a nice room with beds for the three of us. Simonopetra has a rock going straight up through the middle of it, so it is not as big as it looks. Much of the communication is by means of the walkways cantilevered out from the face of the monastery. Theair was humming with swallows - it is said they never allow a mosquito to get as far as the monastery.

In the afternoon, we walked to Agiou Gregoriou. We will be doing this walk again tomorrow, but thought it would be nice to do it without packs, and to have a bit of time to see the monastery. The path winds steeply down hill, and, at the fountain, we went on winding down the hill and ended up at the sea shore by the Simonopetra arsenal, so we had to climb back up to the spring and take the strainght-on path which went down to a beach with a fishing boat, and then up again. We had separated by this time, intending to meet up at Ag. Gregoriou, but somehow missed each other. Vespers at Simonopetra was at 5 pm so we had to hurry back in just under an hour. After vespers, there was a very good dinner. It was lovely watching the sunset from a bench on one of the outside walkways.

Two views of Karyes

Karyes is the tiny "capital" of the Holy Mountain

The old school for monks

Cats dont get much food on Mount Athos

We passed through Dafni again to see the boat arrive

There is a customs inspection for departing visitors

The customs house

The port master's house

Our first view of Simonopetra perched on its rock

and the view along the coast

The new road to Simonopetra

Detail of the stone roofs

The ancient aqueduct now being restored

View of the vegetable gardens far below

More distant vegetable gardens

and the view as we started our walk to Agiou Gregoriou

Monastic outbuildings

Simonopetra's "arsenal" where goods arriving by ship were stored till the mules arrived.

Flower yet to be identified

Heavily laden mule train

Flower 2 yet to be identified

Flower 3 yet to be identified

Flower 4 yet to be identified

Flower 5yet to be identified

Flower 6 yet to be identified

Flower 7 yet to be identified

Flower 8 yet to be identified

Looking back along the coast

The first view of Agiou Gregoriou

More mules

St. Gregory himself to greet us

The wooden balustrade outside the guestmaster's room

Another interesting stone roof

Agiou Gregoriou from the return path

Flower 9 yet to be identified

Back at Simonopetra, just in time for Vespers after a fast 55-minute walk

More of the massive building works taking place all over the Holy Mountain - this one is restoring the old aqctuedu

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