Today was an exciting day. We woke up early to catch the 7:40 bus to the Chora (generic name for the main village on a Greek island, usually also the one placed at the highest altitude of other settlements) and the monastery. The bus was on time (early, actually!) and dropped us off close to the monastery in about 15 minutes. The entrance was closed even though the monastery was supposed to open at 8am--not everybody in Patmos was quite as punctual as our bus driver! It took the warden 25 minutes to come open it--it looks like late night partying in bars that we see everywhere finally caught up with somebody.
The monastery was founded in 1088 AD and was built not unlike a fortress, because it had to endure many pirate attacks through its history. Once we entered, we were greeted by a small central courtyard and our first steps lead to a museum within the monastery, which had a number of very old and rare manuscripts along with numerous icons, robes and paintings. Then we went to see the real deal--the central church of the monastery, which was small but highly ornate.
The church's entrance was adorned by frescoes that were gradually rubbed off by visitors over the centuries, creating a unique scenery.
I was hoping that some of the other rooms of the monastery would be open as well, but since it continues to function (there are about 40 monks there now), a lot of it was closed off to the public. Once we left the monastery we explored the Chora itself a bit more. We saw some magnificent views of the harbour and the bay that we sailed through, but also the opposite side of the island. I took the 10:00 (more like 10:15) bus back because my foot hurt, but my dad went back on foot and stopped by the cave, where St. John of Patmos had visions and wrote the book of Revelations (now part of the New Testament). We met up with Maurizio and Lisa by the boat at about 11am. We left the harbour just a few moments before noon, at the same time as a big luxurious motor yacht next to us did.
The sail to Lipso was pretty calm and uneventful. Both me and my dad took a nap in the beginning and then my dad steered towards the end. The whole trip was short and sweet--we arrived reached our destination mere 3 hours after we left Patmos. At first we thought about anchoring in the bay before approaching the pier, because it was quite full and the wind was strong, but then Maurizio decided we could sneak in and moor sideways, perpendicular to the end of the pier and so we did it.
Once we moored, we made quick couscous for lunch and then went for a walk. The village was much smaller than Skala, but still picturesque, if a little sleepy. All the houses were well-kept and there were actually only very few unfinished/abandoned houses. The town must have a significant Italian population or a large number of tourists from that country, because we saw many signs that were bilingual, in Greek and in Italian. We'll explore more tomorrow!