2294 – After the festivities of a thousand years of Athos (1963). Part 3

The next two days Ger and Jan would walk the entire west side of Athos. They left from Paulou via Dionysiou and Grigoriou to Simonos Petras.

 In Dionysiou they studied the famous frescoes. Here is traveling companion Jan sitting in front of the images of the end of time

Their Greek friends also willingly posed in front of the frescoes.

View of Gregoriou from the path to Dionysiou.

The equipment for pilgrims in the early sixties was completely different. Note the shoes and backpacks and combination with the bags and a real canteen.

Saying goodbye to the Greek friends was difficult for them.

The moving farewell of the Greek friends

 When they arrived at Simonos Petras, they were given a room in the old main building, with a wooden bed and a horse blanket and as a bonus the fantastic view of the Aegean Sea from a height of 300 meters.

View of the towers of Simonos Petras. With the manually operated freight elevator and conversing monks

They had long and interesting conversations with some monks in Simonos Petras.

Jan in intense conversation with two monks on the balconies of Simonos Petras

The next day the second long hike along the west coast awaited. First they walked to Dafni.

View of the west coast with the new road from Dafni to Karyes. The road, specially build in 1963 to make transport easier for the pilgrims during the festivities, leaves huge gashes in the mountain. The monastery of Xiropotamou is just visible. A kaïk lies in front of Dafni, which is not visible in the photo. The vegetation is clearly less than today.

Then they walked via Xiropotamou to the great Russicon, where only a few monks remained, and via Xenofontos to Dochiariou. They slept there, but first they were given (again) a lukewarm bean dish and the next morning a meager breakfast. Then on to Konstamonitou (vegetable soup, rice and melon, as stated in Ger’s diary) where they would spend the last, their seventh, night on Athos. They had to wait a long time on the shore for a boat that would eventually take them to Tripiti. At that time, people did not yet sail to Ouranoupolis, but to Tripiti, a little further away, where you can sail also to Ammouliani. And from Tripiti they went to Ierissos where they found the mopeds untouched, that had spent a week in a police cell. They travelled on to Constantinople and then returned home to the Netherlands. It was a journey that changed their lives in many ways. Ger has often gone back to Greece, but never again to Athos.

(For previous posts on this subject see: 2290 and 2291)

To be continued for portraits of monks in 1963.

Bas Kamps

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