443 – A trip to Athos in 2007 (day 1 – nr 6)

This is already the 6th report of our first day on the Holy Mountain. I will show you a lot of pictures of the pathways, that you will find near the big mountain, that rises up some 2000 meters above you. In the spring Athos is full of wild flowers, so I’ll start with a picture of some flowers along the way, that greeted us in the mild weather conditions at the beginning of May.

176_athos_2007_bloemen

The pictures I will show here are not of the best quality, but this the only way to point out how beautiful these surroundings are.
First a relatively new sign showing the way to Kerasia, Kavsokalivia, Ag. Neilos, Romaniko (Skiti Prodromou) and Lavra.
174_athos_2007_bord_r_lavra

And then the important crossing between the higher footpath (to Lavra) and the lower to Kerasia en Kavsokalivia (and ultimately to Lavra).
177_athos_2007_pad_r_kavsokalivia_1
After a short while you’ll see the buildings of Kerasia:
178_athos_2007_kerasia
en then- to my surprise- you see a (big!?) new church that is being build and still under construction, mostly made of fine white marble. How do they (in heavens name) get all this material up the mountain without any motorized transportation ?
179_athos_2007_nwe_kerk_bij_kerasia
And when you take a little break you will have some time to look around, you notice that you walk above the clouds.
180_athos_2007_nabij_kerasia
Just after Kerasia you will pass a kellion and the owners put the name of their farm on the entrancegate: Kellion Timios Stauros.
181_athos_2007_kellion_timos_stauros
The path then crosses a old avalanche; we keep on walking, now in a misty atmosphere………….
182_athos_2007_op_weg_naar_kavsokalivia
en then, far below, there is the settlement of Kavsokalivia:
183_athos_2007_kavsokalivia
After arriving at 19.00 h. it took a while before we could find out who was responsible for the rooms and a meal; after such a long walk we were exhausted and hungry ! After 15 minutes we found the keeper of the archondariki (guesthouse) hidden (and sleeping?) in a dark corner of the kitchen, where we could not see him. We just should have knocked the door harder. He immediately showed us in a friendly way to our room on the first floor and he prepared us a typical Athos-meal with a bean-soup, bread, olives and a glass of wine, tasting very good.
185_athos_2007_kerk_en_gastenvertrek_kav
After dinner we could finally relax and enjoy the view and the quietness, except for birds singing (others told me later that they saw an oriole in the woods near Kavsokalivia).
186_athos_2007_kavsokalivia
There were no signs of any activity in the church that evening. When we asked about it the monk reacted as if we asked a silly question. “You do not go to church during the week, you only go to church during the weekend”.! Uuhh, yes, ok, of course, we answered politely.
Wim, 15/4

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