Friday, February 20, 2009

Heading Home

There was, though, another issue looming over us. Everyone was telling us that the weather was due to get very bad the next day, Thursday, and the boat might not leave the mountain. This condition could, just possibly, last two or more days. I asked Elder Gregory for advice, and he strongly suggested that we play it safe and leave on the late afternoon boat.

Not wanting to miss the ordination on Sunday (!!) or leave Pelagia for too long, we decided to play it safe, and headed back to Karyes, from which we could catch a ride down to the port of Daphne.

We don't remember walking that far from Karyes, but apparently we did, as it was an almost exclusively up-hill climb for about 1.5 hours back to Daphne. The photo above is of one cell we passed, where the monk kindly gave us directions for a shortcut. The two photos below are as we wound our way through the paths back to Karyes.

Finally, we reached Karyes again, but I was not at all sure how the system worked for a late-afternoon departure (the usual method is to take the boat leaving at noon). I went and asked, and the only option was a taxi service, which was quite expensive. Just then, a monk approached Fr. Joseph out of nowhere and said, "Daphne?" I came over to translate and the monks kindly offered to give us a ride in their truck.

We waited about 30-45 minutes for the monks to finish their errands in Daphne, and then rode down with them to the port. As it turned out, they were from a cell near the Great Lavra which was composed of 8 monks from Moravia, the country sandwiched between Romania and Russia.

We arrived just in time to catch the speed boat back to the mainland, having heard that there was a bus that connected right away. Unfortunately, there was no bus, so we waited in Ouranoupolis for 2-2.5 hours until the slower boat arrived and the final bus of the day headed back to Thessaloniki. We were fortunate, though, to get to spend that time speaking with Fr. Vasili, one of the monks who drove us, who was also coming to Thessaloniki to take care of some paperwork for his cell.

We learned a lot about their life in the cell. Perhaps some day I will get to visit him there! Anyway, we finally arrived back in Thessaloniki around 8:15, exhausted. It was a short trip, but we had lots of blessings to be able to see and speak to as many elders as we did in such a short time.

For all the photos from the trip, click here.

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