This is a relatively short hike, only 3,3 km long, that takes about 1 hour walking. The setting is beautiful: leaving the Agiou Paulou monastery, with the majestic marble pyramid shaped peak of Mount Athos behind it. At 8 o’clock PM the monastery still lies in the shadow.
This is the trail we walked, recorded with the Wikiloc App:
But not everything is idyllic: on the next photo the dumping ground of the monastery disturbs the view. Why should this be necessary, isn’t it possible to find a environment friendly solution for the garbage of the monastery?
Not far from the dump and the coastline an open air factory processes the marble of the mountain into small pebbles.
The water stream that flows down the mountain every now and then is canalized in the recent years, to prevent disasters with floods caused by torrents, like the one in 1911. Here a wooden bridge leads over the dry river bed. In the background the newly renovated tower.
The renovation took place from 2007 to 2013, and ended in 2014, with funding from the EU.
Where the beach ends, the monopati to Dionysiou starts. A sign of our FoMa friends guided us in the right direction. However, a warning is appropriate here. This is where the steepest stretch of path you can find on Athos begins! No walking here but serious climbing! Even on a hike to the summit you won’t find a steeper stretch than here. In a short distance of about 200 meters you reach a level almost 80 meters above the sea. After that the path levels at a height between 50 to 60 meters, until you reach Dionysiou.
The Athos West coast early in the morning, the sun will quickly rise above the ridge.
The monopati in the sun, the time is 8.45 h, we are not far from Dionysiou.
The sun over the Athos top.
The shadow of the wooden cross on the rock.
Fear of heights is not recommended on this hike.
After one hour hiking Dionysiou appears.
Almost at the same spot in 1986: the gardens were overgrown back then, but otherwise, not much has changed in 33 years.
The narrow courtyard of Dionysiou with the Katholicon.
We did not have breakfast in Agiou Paulou, so I went to the kitchen in Dionysiou and asked a monk who passed by for some bread and olives, in my best English. He stopped, looked at me and said: “You are from Holland, aren’t you?”. I was quite puzzled, because apparently he could immediately recognize my accent. Or did he remember me from the time in 1986, when I visited Dionysiou during Easter time and spend a night (from 23 AM to 7 PM) in the church? Probably not, but who knows….? Anyway, he said: “Wait!” and 10 minutes later he came back with a plastic bag full with lovely bread and the best tasting olives you can image. Not only good for breakfast, but also for a complete lunch!
Wim Voogd, 29/5