So after getting off the boat at 9:30, we finally made it to St. Anne's Skete at around 1:00 on Wednesday. You can see Thomas and Paris climbing the last few steps in the photo at top.
When we arrived, we were treated to the traditional ouzo, loukoumi (Turkish Delight), and water, and enjoyed sitting in the shade with a little breeze, as you can see in the photo above. With all our visits that day, I think we had ouzo about 4 times (although it's kind of a blur). :)
After we rested a bit, we decided to take short walk over to see the cave of St. Gerasimos of Kefalonia. Then, summoning all our energy in the face of heat around 100, we decided to walk over to Little St. Anne's, because Paris' friend had told him that they were celebrating a festal Vespers for the founders of their skete, Sts. Dionysios and Mitrophan.
Above you can see Paris standing just outside the entrance to St. Anne's Skete, as we are preparing to leave.
Here Thomas is looking out over the cliff we were walking along on the southern tip of the Holy Mountain as we headed to Little St. Anne's.
Here a cross marks the southern tip of the Holy Mountain, a point we passed about halfway between the two sketes named for St. Anne.
When we arrived, Vespers had already started, but we caught the last 1.5 hours. There were three bishops serving, the Metropolitans of Veria, Drama, and Xanthi. Afterwards, around 6:30 or 7:00, we went to eat a fantastic feast that the monks had prepared. When we had first arrived, I sort of stumbled into the kitchen looking for some water and I saw the monks preparing the feast. They had enormous metal pans, 4-5 feet in diameter, filled with octopus, rice, and snails.
It was a great meal--a real feast--that was enjoyed by probably 100 guests. At the end, the monks, bishops, and guests broke out in song.
It was quite a memorable experience, and we felt blessed to be able to attend. Finally, after 8:00, we headed back to St. Anne's.