Just when I thought I was getting well travelled, along comes another Matt to put me in my place. Impressive. Makes me look like Immanuel Kant.
As for this Matt, after a two week seminar at an extraordinary convent recently revived by the famous Father Eprhaim, I enjoyed a brief stay at the Imaret under academic auspices, a quick stop at Phillipi, and just returned from five days on Mt. Athos. Regarding the latter, here are some things I hadn't expected:
1. Seeing a pilgrim buy a case of beer in the provisions shop as soon as I stepped off the boat.I'm still in beautiful Thessaloniki gnawing on frappee straws between churches and museums. Back soon.
2. Helipads (note the plural).
3. Downright rudeness from some monasteries.
4. From others, simply the most gracious hospitality conceivable. Almost to the point of some kind of holy absurdity.
5. Squid for breakfast.
6. Weekday services that can extend from 3am - 8:30am (I preferred vespers).