Day 2 : onward to the Holy Mountain

Saturday May 6th

Waiting for the bus to Ouranopolis

Up at 6:30am to assemble all my stuff and repack (again!). I must have the heaviest rucksack in the group. [Note to self — don’t bring any books next time]. Breakfast at 7am then shove rucksacks into one van while we pile into another and so down to the seafront at Ouranopolis.

At Ouranopolis waiting for the ferry

Our resident Greek interpreter, Peter, finangled everyone’s Diamonitirion (διαμονητήριο) or pilgrim visa which was handed out together with boat ticket. Rushed down to ferry with John and joined the Greek “queue”, aka scrum, to board said boat. Stashed rucksack in port gunwale and grabbed seat place on upper deck. Took seasick pill but the water was dead calm so I didn’t need it.

On the Ferry

The ferry docking process at each arsenas (harbour) was rather exciting for a land-lubber such as myself who had not witnessed the process before. The captain, exhibiting a great deal of skill, keeps the large boat stationary relative to the jetty by means of judicious application of power rather than spending time berthing with ropes etc.  Pilgrims crowd the lower deck as the boat approaches the quay, down comes the steel ramp and pilgrims quickly flood out onto the jetty. Then those who have been waiting surge forward to get onto the boat while motor traffic tries to drive on board. In no more than a couple of minutes the exchanges have taken place and the ferry reverses away from the jetty while raising the ramp. Here are a few photos of this process :

We passed a number of monasteries and their arsenas on the hour & a half journey to our destination of Daphne. Here they are :