It took us 5 hours to walk from Kavsokalivia to the Panaghia refuge (see post 2095) and we arrived at one o’clock PM. We planned to arrive as early as possible, hoping to get a place to sleep in the dormitory in the refuge. But a large group of Serbian pilgrims had arrived earlier and all beds had been taken. But the weather was fine and we decided to roll out our camping mattresses and sleeping bags that we brought, and sleep under the open skies on the terrace outside.
The water from the well did not look promising, because small particles floated in the liquid. But various sources had assured us it was drinking water and that we could drink it without having health problems. We took the risk because we ran out of water and we had a long climb ahead of us. And we did not had any stomach problems afterwards. After photographing the interior I had some time to have a look in the surroundings of the building:
And then it got dark. Not just dark, but completely dark I mean. Within many, many miles there are no electric lights here and this has its effect on the skies above. I have seen many starry skies in Europe or anywhere else in the world, even on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but this starry sky, almost on top of Mount Athos, really beats everything. The sky was so clear and the Milky way galaxy was so impressive, it gave me goose bubbles. Because the light of the small moon already did disappear, our spot on the Panaghia terrace was still dimly lit, illuminated by the stars above us. An amazing experience! Tired and satisfied we went to sleep in the open air, knowing that at five o’clock in the morning our alarm bell would ring, to the climb the last part to the peak.
Wim Voogd, 19-01-2020