Well, I'm back! What a wonderful trip! I don't know quite how to say this without sounding trite, but this visit really changed my understanding of Orthodoxy (for the better obviously). All I can say is that I was deeply impressed by the spirit of love, hospitality, and JOY that the monks exuded. I guess I sort of expected a stiff, super-correctness that I've come to associate with "traditional" or "pious" Orthodoxy, but this was not the case at all. It was a great experience. I only hope I can emulate THIS kind of Christianity.
The top photo is me holding my pass onto the autonomous state of the Holy Mountain. In the background you see the city of Ouranapolis, the main departure port in Greece to leave for the Holy Mountain. Below is a map.
I have 83 photos in all, too many to put all on this blog. I set them all up here (hit the slideshow button; you can then edit the length of time between slides -- I'd suggest 8-10 seconds -- and whether or not it displays the captions I wrote): http://picasaweb.google.com/j.gregory.edwards/MtAthos46Sept2006