When we had parked the car, on a steep slope on the hill overlooking the monastery, I put 5 euros in my pocket just in case they expected a donation.

In fact the monastery was completely deserted. We were visiting in the late afternoon, and I had expected that the monks would be directing proceedings in their black gowns and ecclesiastical hats, with various other visitors gathering to listen in.

This place has a wonderfully spiritual atmosphere, intensified by the solitude and the silence. We walked down from the car park through a steep-sided valley and you could see the brick-red dome of the Greek orthodox church. We opened the black iron gate and it felt like crosding a threshold.

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