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Published: September 11th 2009
Before the Uphill ClimbFrom Mykonos, we departed before midnight and woke up in Kusadaci, Turkey. I have to admit I slept in and didn't bother to go out. We were here just a week before, and I thought I'd spend the morning on the boat and dreaming away. Shelly wouldn't pass up the chance to go out and check out more bazaars , of course. So I saw her off, dear old me waving her goodbye as she crossed the plank and walked off towards another shopping expedition.
The \"Skala\" , the harbour in Patmos, can be seen in the background. We were the only boat docked there. This was taken just before the uphill climb to the Monastery of St. John.
I went to the breakfast lounge and lingered.........really lingered over my breakfast. Had 3 cups of coffee over an hour-long breakfast of omelette, salmon, some sausages and those sweet , juicy tomatoes that I just love. Then off to about half an hour of walking around the deck . Surprised to see many children enjoying the pool , running around while their moms and dads are sprawled basking in the sun for a good tan. Before long, Shelly was back with her prized shopping finds. She got those cute tulip-shaped tea glasses with those cute tiny spoons, along with the fav Turkish apple tea. More devil's eye custom jewelry too. She made
A Gallery of Icons and Mosaics
No photos inside.....but there were enough paintings, icons and mosaics outside to grab one's attention.
sure she finished up all our unspent Turkish Lira.
After lunch, the boat sailed towards Patmos. Shelly and I booked ourselves for the boat excursions to the Monastery and Grotto of St. John. Some of those English teachers we met over dinner the night before did not join the boat excursion but went on their own. We all met at the Monastery , with them all shook up after what they called a daredevil taxi ride around the hill to get to the top. That notwithstanding, these guys knew better. There were only 2 places to visit here in Patmos, and we could have saved a lot just hailing a cab to take us to these 2 places not far from each other. Guess we were just too afraid to miss the boat as there was just a few hours to waste here in Patmos, and we had no idea how far the Monastery and Grotto were to the port. All boats dock in the island's only harbor, which is called "Skala".
Anyway, the Monastery of St. John did not disappoint. Others may not agree with me, but for Catholics like me,
Isn't this pretty?
The courtyard was surprisingly "homey" and we walked leisurely around, before checking out the awesome Museum inside.
it is a big deal to know that the original gospel written by Mark (not John) were kept here. It is said that the island itself was given by the Byzantine Emperor to a soldier-priest named Kristodoulous who then caused the construction of this fortress cum monastery. The 11th century frescoes inside the Monastery were awesome, which explains why this place is declared a World Heritage Site. Some even call it the "Jerusalem of the Aegean". I particularly found the inner courtyard very charming and the bells framed by the panoramic view of the Dodecanese very soothing to the nerves after that uphill climb. Patmos is mentioned in the Bible as the island where St. John the Apostle, or to others, St. John the Theologian wrote the "Book of Revelations". The Revelations were inspired by St. John's vision and written inside the Cave which is now the Grotto of St. John. Others call it the "Cave of the Apocalypse". The site has thus earned its place as a pilgrimage site for Christians. We walked up to the castle/monastery, then down to the Cave of the Apocalypse. Just before entering the cave, we stayed outside to wait for those already inside
to say their prayers. It is a very small space. I noticed some young girls coming out, teary-eyed, and couldn't help feeling moved by that scene. I say this because I have visited many churches and pilgrimage sites and observed that most pilgrims are middle-aged or senior citizens, and hardly the younger set. Those girls I met coming into the cave are in their teens. When it was our turn to claim the space within the cave, our Tour Guide advised us to stay awhile and listen to her first as silence is observed strictly inside. We listened to her tell us about the corner where St. John sat, dictating the Book of Revelations to a young scribe. And the low stone ceiling split into 3, representing the Holy Family.
Tonight, Shelly and I shared a table with a couple from Australia and a father and son from USA. It was a fine dinner , but it was obvious we were all feeling slightly uncomfortable seated together. We would have been happier with father talking to son, and wifey talking to hubby, and Shelly chatting with me. But we all managed to carry a polite conversation.
We found this lovely mosaic and took it as a photo opp. Soon after, other tourists formed a bee line for the spot. Oh oh.....
Felt so unnatural, frankly speaking, and feared I'd have indigestion. Don't get me wrong. They were all nice, just that we probably had very little common interest. The last 2 occasions I went on a cruise, we were a party of 5 so we had the table all to ourselves. Then the other time, we were a pair and managed to get a table for just 2. Not so lucky this time. And this tells me now that it is something to consider when cruising. Oh, it's not so bad, but it would really be more fun if we went cruising as a bigger group.
After dinner, we checked out the entertainment and stayed to endure just a few minutes. This is our second night , by the way, and we are not so happy to see that there has not been much improvement in this department. Better to sleep through this night as we sail towards Rhodes!
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