2081 – Fish in the pond at Vatopediou

When leaving Vatopediou through the impressive main gate you see the kiosk in front of you with a beautiful hilly backdrop. Right after the gate to the right you will find a new pool.

The large pool nowadays looks like a Japanese sanctuary. There are carefully designed piled-up loose rocks. In the middle you can see a bonsai tree. There are a variety of colourful goi carp. Surely there is a story attached to the design of the pond and especially with the Japanese influence.

This is the situation in 2009, during my first pilgrimage to Athos. It looked quite different then with a greenish basin.  Certainly not clear enough for carp.

We meditated a while at the pool. Staring at the graceful moving fish. Suddenly I saw that one of them, a bright orange one, carried a cross on its forehead. We were stunned and nailed to the ground.

It is my second experience with suddenly emerging crosses on the Holy Mountain. The first miracle one was in the freezing winter of 2014-2015 when we were exploring the waterfall behind Dafni.

Bas Kamps

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2080 – Exploring Vatopediou

A monk approaches an abundant circular bed of fallen crimson flowers under the Camellia in the courtyard of Vatopediou.

The monastery has got a rather large central square that is – unlike most squares – not levelled out but ascends to the guestrooms. It is a beautiful internal space.

A fruit tree blossoming in the cobblestone terraces as seen from the guestrooms. The stones were still wet from the previous raindrops. The colourful, red and blue, bay windows on the top floors of the monks quarters stand out. In the far corner is the icon making workshop, that we never visited.

On the left we see the bell tower.

An interesting perspective looking down on the rooftops , from the high mediaeval stone path behind the crenels.

The main medieval tower of the monastic complex.

A more detailed view of the architecture. The pine trees rise from the hill behind the walls.

Another perspective on the tilted square that reminds me of terraces.

The second tower, the Byzantine bell tower built in 1427. The only Byzantine bell tower on Mount Athos. Much more slender than the first one.

After dinner we had a rather long and interesting conversation with a friendly, intelligent monk.

Wim showed earlier the special Vatopediou app, that can be downloaded for IPad.

Bas Kamps

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2079 – On our way to Vatopediou

We picked up our rucksacks, said goodbye to the archondariki, and were on our way to Vatopediou. Looking back to Pantocratoros we had a good view on the aqueduct that leads to the monastery. The aqueduct spans an olive orchard. We saw some smoke from behind the bushes; the monks were burning rubbish.

A steady climb awaits when you leave Pantocratoros in the direction of Vatopediou. On these southern hills there are mainly shrubberies. Quite unlike the vegetation on the other side of the peninsula. The broom was blooming in April. In the far distance the silhouette of Stavronikita can be seen. Profitou Eliou is not visible, it is just behind the first hill.

Higher up the hill and further from the shoreline, the vegetation becomes more dense. Shrubberies make place for trees, that embrace the monopati and make it hollow like a hole. Here with pilgrim Jacques.

It was still hazy in the early afternoon. Pilgrims Barry and Herman passing.

Suddenly the monopati opens into a dirt road. There, out of the ancient woods, we see cultivated nature; terraced plantation of neat olive trees and blooming broom.

When we walked on we were suddenly surpassed by a monk from Vatopediou, who was powerwalking at twice our speed. We later learned that he had announced our arrival to the monastic community.

Arriving in Vatopediou we were first welcomed by an enormous blooming Wisteria.

Next time we will wander around the courtyard of Vatopediou.

Bas Kamps

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2078 – film: the hike from Panaghia refuge to the top of Mount Athos 2019

Together with pilgrims Richard Snellen and Gert Jan Wiekart, 30th of September, 1st of October 2019

Wim Voogd, 6/10

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2077 – Athos pilgrimage 2019: silhouettes and bells

The bells of the Metamorphosis chapel on the top of Mount Athos – 2033 meters
Two photos of the bell of the Panaghia refuge at 1500 meters (at daylight and sunset)
The grotesque gargoyle in the shape of a dragon at Xeropotamou monastery
On the top of Mount Athos, 7 AM October 1st 2019

Wim, 5/10

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2076 – Athos pilgrimage 2019: coloured glass

Xeropotamou: the phiale
Xeropotamou: the Katholicon
Grigoriou: stained glass and paintings inside the phiale
Agiou Pavlou monastery
Agiou Pavlou monastery

Wim, 5/10

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2075 – the top of Mount Athos, 1st of October

Tuesday morning October 1st we started at 5.00 pm our hike to the summit from the refuge Panaghia. The sky was clear, the view was fantastic and the sunrise magnificant!

Wim, 3-10 (top photo by Gert Jan Wiekart)

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