Cloudy skies don't last long

We went and climbed half a freakin’ mountain all the way to Kessariani Monastery, which has some famous mosaics (including this one of Christ Pantokrator—All-Powerful—that we discussed in my stupidArtHistory class)…only to find that the place was closed for renovation and that they were, in fact, building a new place. We did see a lovely little cave filled with icons that was the Chapel of Ascension, though, as well as many botanical things and even a donkey (okay, yeah…I seen—and smelt—enough of those for a bunch o’ lifetimes); but anyway, we—I—basically climbed a mountain for the view from the top. This sounds totally nice, but I, well, get vertigo looking over edges…so really the hike was like, hey if I do this I get to eat cake! All the cake I want! (I had TWO ice cream cones today. Mango sorbet and some sort of chocolate fondante thing, both gelato. Mmmmm.)

Okay, yeah—we also went to this pretty nice although comparatively small (funny story: from the side, I thought Kessariani was tiny but it’s actually huge) monastery called Asteriou, lovely though sadly destroyed chapel. 10th and 11th century buildings with a rebuilt chapel from the 16th century…although the original had obviously been covered entirely in images, most of them were unfortunately cracked, faded, or missing, although there were—I find this interesting and unusual—simple geometric patterns in a few places. Shame about the state of the thing, but it was nice. Not the usual touristy destination. The Greeks also, from what I hear, have this tradition of bringing sweets to out-of-the-way monasteries and giving them out, so I had a pretty good ginger cookie thing (which is good to know that they’re good, because I’ve seen them at the supermarchĂ© a whole bunch of times). Greeks are awesome about food. Just BTW. Of course also bla blah awesome view of city…like I said though, I was really contemplating the long fall down. I swear this isn’t a completely irrational fear!

The funny thing was how we took a bunch of paths around Kessariani…it was like trying to get to Sweden in Catch-22, where it’s something they’re always talking about but they never actually do. We walked the botanical path (which went by the Chapel) and the professor with us got directions from a man out tending things (which I guess is a pretty traditional monastery thing to do? The priest/monk dude at Asteriou had a ceramic, painted watering pot and the herb garden was right inside), so it turned out we’d walked right by the monastery a couple of times and assumed that that couldn’t have been it because a) it was closed and b) looked small (okay, the latter may have just been me). Did you know the forest on the way there is called the “Aesthetic Forest”? (I got that wrong, too; it seemed too awesome/ridiculous to be true.)

Oh, and we also watched this horrible, hilarious British Robin Hood thing with Greek subtitles that one of us got with a Greek newspaper. Seriously. I am very unclear on how the Brits decide on making these things…at the end of one episode, they were all in Nottingham, and in the next, they’re magically in the “Holy Land,” of course in time to save King Richard, bla blah, the ending involved Robin of Loxley being made regent in England. WTF.

But anyway. OW. In the words of Mr. Slave, “Jethuth Chritht.”

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