Stuff to see and do in Patmos
It isn’t just swimming and writing here on Patmos, by no means. We must see and do things. We must explore.
We went all over the Monastery yesterday. Well, the parts that they’ll let you go to which is probably about 5% of the place. Most of it is walled off for visitors. It’s been occupied by monks since it was built in 1088. It was a fortress built to keep out pirates and had these killer gates over which they poured oil and sometimes lead. Think of that, you’re a dangerous pirate, and you want to attack the monks and take their gold, and they pour hot lead on you!
There is a little courtyard and this little chapel with old frescoes which is kind of cool and then this museum part where they have some special stuff like the Bishop’s throne from 1692 and a sort of ark for carrying around pictures of Jesus, plus some of the bishop robes which look like some cross between a kimono and a king’s robe. I would like to see the rest of the Monastery and especially whether there are any tunnels or caverns beneath it.
Speaking of caverns, we also went to the Cave of the Apocalypse. Now the fact is that this cave is one of the major reasons Christians like to visit the island of Patmos. You sometimes see cruise ships in the harbor for the sole purpose of disgorging their occupants to the Cave where they can see where Revelations was written and return to the ship in time for a hearty dinner. The visitors to Patmos are often taken by bus directly to the Cave and then to the Monastery and then ferried away to various other destinations.
One of the reasons I don’t like cruises. You go where they want you to go. You see what they want you to see. It’s like having a single serving version of the world. Here’s a single serving of Italy. Here’s a single serving of Greece. With a little Turkey on the side. At least in Greece, it’s actual Greek people selling the silly souvenirs to the boat people. When you go to Mexico and Alaska, the cruise ships own the souvenir shops and stuff is made (in China) for the shops so you are actually getting screwed coming and going. (There’s a lot to be said about that last statement and life in general, but I’ll pass.)
Independent travel is the way to go for us. We like to swim in a place, breathe in a place, shop for groceries there, go to the local fish market. We plan to buy some octopus or squid, maybe a little crab. They have lobsters for sale, but I don’t know if we’ll go that far.
The Cave is really quite small. One part of it is a sort of rocky cave with a low ceiling and the other part is a little sanctuary. We went on Sunday so there were a few people there praying, even one nun and a priest. The nun was very vigorously crossing herself and others were as well. She may have crossed herself over a hundred times before I stopped counting and we wandered off. The priest was there with a young woman who had her hair covered. They seemed very close, and I believe they were praying. The cave seemed like a good place for prayer. We left there and rode the bike to a tavern. We had beer and some good bread. I went for another long swim but in a quieter bay. I was buffeted about by smaller waves.