757 – A trip to Athos 2007 (day 4)

Because my visit in 2007 was my fifth trip to Athos and I always ended my pilgrimage by leaving from Dafni back to Ouranopolis, I decided to try to back from the other side, leaving for Ierissos.
I heard from a Greek pilgrim that this was possible, so in the morning of the 4th of May I starting planning the last day of visit. Our archondaris gave us a telephone number of a captain, who’s boat sails between Lavra and Ierisssos every day. We asked him to make the telephone call, because we do not speak Greek, but after he friendly refused a helpful Austrian, who stayed with us in Stavronikita and who used to be a Greek language teacher, made the telephone call.

Calling the captain – May 2007

It showed out that the small boat just left from Lavra and had already a lot of people on board, so the captain couldn’t guarantee that at the time he came to Stavronikita there still would be room enough. We decided not to take the risk, because if he was not able to us on board, we would not make it in time to get back to Karyes and then to Dafni to get the 12.00 o’clock boat. Next time (and that will be: September 2009, we just made a reservation this week!) I want to try it once more and I hope to show you pictures from the North side of Athos, which are relatively rare.

Back to Karyes – May 2007

On our way to Karyes we heard a lot of birds and especially Nightingales sing their song. I recently read that there should be 105 different species on Athos, but did only a small fraction of this number.
on our way to Karyes (me with binoclulars) – 2007

In Karyes we bought some fresh bread:
A monk/salesman who sells religious things in front of the bakery in Karyes (not to be seen)

Back in Dafni we met our friends again, because our group of eight split up in three while visiting the Holy Mountain. In the restaurant we shared our experiences of the last three days, while a monk quietly read his book.
The third party (the “Sherpa”-group that climbed the Mountain), arrived with a boat from Ag. Anni.


Trucks with wood from the forests arrive, while we bought our last souvenirs like bee-wax candles and incense, trying to resist the temptation to buy a real Athos-icon.


And finally we were all checked by the custom-control, looking if no stolen items were in our bags or rug sacks.


And the quay the ”normal” modern world with cell-phones is to be seen again:

A high speed rubber boat passed us on their way to the harbor of Chilandariou.

And then the journey comes to an end…………….. but, as I already mentioned, we do not have to wait long, because this year, at the end of September, we reserved places for seven persons, and of course I will tell you the story and show you the pictures of “A trip to Athos 2009”!
This ends the 2007 journal, thank you fellow pilgrims for a unforgetable trip!


Wim, 4/4

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10 Responses to 757 – A trip to Athos 2007 (day 4)

  1. Albert says:

    Beste Wim,
    Leuk om op dit weblog over deze artikelen te lezen. Ik verzamel alles van A. den Doolaard, en heb ook de betreffende nummers van de Katholieke Illustratie (en een aantal andere met artikelen van A. den Doolaard), allemaal uit 1959.
    Inderdaad zijn de foto’s van Cas Oorthuys die bij het nederlands fotomuseum zijn ondergebracht slecht ontsloten, kennelijk hield hij nauwelijks informatie bij welke foto’s hij waar had genomen.
    Je schrijft een aantal maal ‘Aard den Doolaard’, dat moet echt ‘A. den Doolaard’ zijn, dat was zijn pseudoniem. In het gewone leven heette hij Bob Spoelstra.
    In het boek ‘Grieken zijn geen goden’ (1960) schrijft hij volgens mij ook over Athos, en in ‘Dit is Griekenland-de eilanden’ (1959, met foto’s van Cas Oorthuys) in ieder geval.
    met vriendelijke groet,
    Albert Koevoet

  2. Albert says:

    Herstel, Athos komt voor in ‘Dit is Griekenland – het vasteland’.
    vriendelijke groet,

  3. Dimitris says:

    I hope that your 2009 trip will be a success! 7 people this is quite a number! You should also book early the monasteries that you will be staying, as September is still regarded as high season.

  4. José says:

    Nice Trips Wim!
    I really enjoy the pictures and the comments.
    Where are you read about Athos´ birds?
    Thanks for share your experience.

  5. José says:

    Dear Friends, I´m writing again from Argentina. I´ve been confirmed my first visit to Athos for July 18th! I still have some queries:
    1-How much is a taxi from Karyes to Lavra? Is it easy to find one?
    2- I´m planning to stay at Simonopetra, Lavra and Skiti Santa Ana. How many days in advance do I have to make reservations?
    3- In the book “the six thousands beards” by Ralph Brewster, I read about a monk who collected telescopes… Do you know about astronomical activities in Athos?
    4- Departure day on the fourth day is at 12 am… what time does the ferry get to Ouranopolis?
    Thank you for your help

  6. Dimitris says:

    Hi Jose,

    I hope that your first trip to Athos will be a success and that the mountain will live up to your expectations. Firstly let me say that I hope you are used to warm weather, because in mid-july the temperature will be in the mid/high thirties. Also, since it is the middle of the summer, there will be a lot of tourists around so it will be a bit more crowded than the rest of the year. Now let me answer your individual queries:

    1) You can find the mini-van to Lavra in the same square that the bus from Dafni arrives in Karyes. There will be other vans there as well, so ask which one goes to Lavra. The van will depart after 20 minutes or so. The idea is that the pilgrims going to Lavra will share the van-hire price. So if the van is full, it will cost you around 5 euros. If you are the only one going to Lavra it will cost you 70-80 euros! But as you are visiting in the middle of July, I guarantee that there will be plenty of others going to Lavra as well. In fact, find the van immediately cause it may fill up very soon.

    2) I would say start booking today to be on the safe side. For Simonopetra especially, it might be too late already. Be patient, because it may take a while before somebody peaks up the phone. And he may not speak good english. If you don’t find room in Simonopetra (which by the way is currently under rennovation), I strongly reccomend Docheiariou. It is a fantastic monastery. Check this site for more info:


    3)Sorry, but I don’t know anything about that, or how to find this information.

    4) It arrives around 14:15. The bus to Thessaloniki leaves at 14:30.

  7. Wim says:

    José, I read about the 105 bird species in: http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2008-055.pdf, an article about protected landscapes (from page 51:see page 56 Natural heritage, no futher information about where he got this number 105 from).

    By the way, enjoy your trip in july. We hope to get some info/feedback afterwards.
    I do not have any info about telescopes on Athos, but it intresting to see if we can find it.
    greetings, Wim

  8. Herman says:

    Jose, In 1410 astronomers were working on the top of mount Athos. See this http://athos.web-log.nl/athos_agios_oros_/2006/11/aan_het_werk_op.html

  9. José says:

    Dear Friends:
    Thank you very much for the information and assistance.
    About astronomy in Athos I ask:
    Where can I see the photo of John Mandeville with higher resolution?
    Could be write the link in british library?
    I simulated the sky, with a powerful software, with the coordinates of summit of Mount Athos in the year 1410.
    And working with the software informs me that four events occurred:

    1- A comet
    2- Total Lunar Eclipse
    3- Conjuncion: Jupiter-Moon-Mars
    4- Eclipse between Moon and mars.

    The interesting thing about this is that we may to ensure the month of the year that painted the picture,this would serve to confirm that event were seeing!
    Of the four I mentioned, the most interesting is the Total Lunar Eclipse is because of reform of the calendar!

  10. José says:

    I made a video with the 1410 events!

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