You can grab a bus to the monastery from katapola. Its quite a climb up the steps to the monastery so its advisable to have good footwear, I wore flip flops which though I made it up the steps I would have been more comfortable in shoes or sandals with straps. The views at the entrance was already amazing but as you climb up the steps, you have a hard time deciding where to look, out to the sparkling sea, the imposing monument ahead carved out of the cliff or the steps you are walking on, or the cliff wall you are walking up against.
Then there is the unexpected experience of having to dress up, no bare shoulders and woman must wear a skirt and men trousers, luckily there are dresses, skirts, scarves and pants tied to the fence in front of the entrance which one can borrow. It was amusing to see tourist putting large mom jeans over their hiking shorts and woman pulling up long hippie skirts or wrapping large scarves around their waist. If you don't fancy wearing strangers' clothing dress appropriately or bring a thin large wrap to tied around your waist, the monks aren't that strict that it must be a proper skirt or dress. Just respectful modesty.
After playing dress up while looking out into the Agean sea you turn and walking up the stairs into a narrow entrance way up a mysterious narrow white stairs up up and turn and wondering all the while how did they manage to build this all? The you come upon in the midst of the whitewash walls and steps a monk in a long black cloak beckoning for you to continue on, then up to the top and from a room with holy icons you step outside into the dazzling sun and become instantaneously blinded by white and green and blue and beauty that surrounds you.
Then you step back inside, pay a donation, please pay a donation, gingerly maneuver down the steep stairs and meeting the same monk he motions for you to enter a room where fellow visitor are offered cool drinks of water, wine an sweets a cool place to sit and rest before heading down and out. It was an unbelievable experience.
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