Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Epic Hike to Simonopetra

So we set off in the blazing sun toward Simonopetra. Here you see the sign pointing the way.

We took frequent breaks when we found a bit of shade, as you can see above. Michael related a helpful piece of advice that an Athonite monk had given him when they had hiked up to the top of Mt. Athos (a journey of at least 6 hours). Don't look ahead, because you'll lose hope. Don't look behind, because you'll be filled with pride at your accomplishment. Just look down and say the Jesus Prayer.

After about 1 hour and 45 minutes, we arrived and were greeted with this view.

But even after you arrive, you have to keep climbing. The monastery just keeps going up and up. Here Thomas takes a break on the last set of steps and takes a look out toward the ocean.

After we recovered with the traditional fare of water, ouzo, and Turkish Delight, Michael suggested that we walk a little bit further up to see the cave of the monastery's founder, St. Simon. Every additional step felt like a mile, but it was worth it to sit and have a view over the monastery like this one.

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