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.
It showed out that the small boat just left from Lavra and had already a lot of people on board, so the captain couldnâ€™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 oâ€™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.
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
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 then the journey comes to an endâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.. 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 â€œA trip to Athos 2009â€!
This ends the 2007 journal, thank you fellow pilgrims for a unforgetable trip!