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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Greece is still divine with the holy Mount Athos as a backdrop

Beach paradise: The ocean-facing family resort offers something for everyone, with children getting their own playground, swimming pool and kids’ club  

It's 90 minutes' drive from the airport at Thessaloniki along a road that meanders through olive groves and low-lying wooded valleys into a corner of Greece that's a world away from the fleshpots of the party islands far to the south. 
We were afforded the warmest of welcomes.

This area (Halkidiki) of Greece is known for its astonishing panoply of monasteries. 

Image result for Mount Athos as a backdrop 

Prince Charles is a regular visitor, spending time in the company of the monks in the Simonos Petras monastery, which crouches on top of a rock high above the sea.
Such is said to be Charles's fascination with the Greek Orthodox religion that he has installed Byzantine art in his Highgrove garden. 

Far above the twinkling domes, on the peak of Mount Athos itself, sits a stone building. Who would build a chapel on top of a mountain 6,000ft high, I wonder out loud.
Here, trees heavy with wild figs strain over the roadside and olive trees offer dappled corners of shade.

The Simonos Petras monastery towers 800 feet above the Aegean Sea

And at the end of the path? A monastery which is probably 10th-­century, and the first of all those built along this peninsula.

It is a reminder of the history that seeps through the earth in this land — and courses through the veins of Vassilis and the other descendants of the ancients who shaped this Greek marvel.

 Image result for Mount Athos as a backdrop

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