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Postcard from Mt Athos, Greece on TravelSnapz

Dochiariou Monastery

Dochiariou Monastery is situated on the Western coast of the Mt Athos peninsula.

"You're only a tourist then", he said.

It had been a long and frustrating day. I had walked maybe 30 kilometers in the hot sun and I was tired.

Was he being dismissive of the effort I had made? I don't think so. He was just stating a fact when I had answered "No" to his previous question "Are you Orthodox?".

Yes, I was (just) a tourist. But I had wanted to come to Mt Athos for a long time. And the Bulgarian worker that I was sitting next to in the monastery courtyard wasn't going to spoil the experience whatever he said.

We were both enjoying the late afternoon sun that peaked over the top of the surrounding buildings and lit our little corner of the cobblestoned yard. Our conversation was a little hesitant, but only because of language difficulty - me with only English.

He was keen to learn of my home country, Australia, particularly about immigration regulations, a subject of which my knowledge was extremely limited. So we chatted as best we could while we were waiting for the church service to start. The Bulgarian was here as a worker for the monastery. He was aged around 26 years and was spending three years here, performing general maintenance around the monastery.

PHOTO OPPOSITE:
The entry conditions are
displayed in five languages
on signs along the coast:

No women
No staying without a special permit



Other places to visit
in Greece:

Ioannina
Chios
Meteora

But maybe I should go back to the start of my 'pilgrimage' to Mt Athos.

Entry conditions in five languages

The area known as Mt Athos or "The Holy Mountain" is situated on the Eastern most finger of land that sticks out from Greece into the Northern Aegean Sea. This peninsula is owned by the Orthodox Church. There are 20 monasteries in the area plus associated sketes and other smaller communities. You need special permission to visit the area (similar to the granting of a visa for a foreign country) and visitors are given a permit to stay for three nights.

Accommodation is offered to you at the monasteries (most by prior arrangement) but each day you are required to move on to another monastery. There is transport available, and walking trails criss-cross the peninsula between the monasteries.

I had decided to do it the hard way and walk between the monasteries I intended visiting.

The First Day .... >>>


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