RM wanted to speak with a monk, and just before we left we were blessed to meet with Fr. Makarios, a French convert to Orthodoxy who's been a monk at Simonos Petras for 27 years. He has written many articles and does some translating (he translated the Synaxarion into French). He is friends with the family of our French friend here in Panorama, Emmanuelle (my Greek classmate).
Anyway, RM was very glad to get to talk with him. Here's what he had to say:
Finding a monk that spoke English was difficult, especially for me. On the last day I was blessed to speak with Fr Makarios, who gave some great advice. The monastic life is to be experienced, but kept separate from the parish life. Go to the monastery and experience the love and then go back to the parish and love everyone.We didn't get to speak very long with Fr Makarios, as the van was leaving to take all the pilgrims to the port of Dafni. He invited us to come visit him again though, which is great!
Anyway, as for the photos: the top one was taken from just outside the main church. The bottom two photos are of Dafni, taken out of the van as we rode there.