Saturday, April 3, 2010

PATRAS!!!

An easy and breezy 21-kilometer walk along the Gulf of Patras with an overpowering fragrant mix of eucalyptus and orange blossoms... I crossed the modern bridge and walked the last 10 km along the pebbly beach with the surf lapping at my boots, so holey they should be reserved for Sundays... I walked into the Cathedral of Agios Andreas.

Wow. I'm done.

I happened to meet the priest of the cathedral as I was on the exterior steps putting a stained and faded shirt on over my tank top so I would be as 'suitably attired' as I can be as the signs require in many languages. 'English, Deutsch, Francais, Italiano, mali, mali Ruskie?????', my usual question after stating 'eimai proscinitus', I am a pilgrim. 'Mono Greco', his response, the one that I've heard far and away the most often. Nonetheless, I was able to explain to him in embarrassingly poor Greek that I've walked all the way from 'Kievo' to come to his church. I showed him my credenziale. He shook my hand, then hugged me, then shook my hand again, and finally kissed my forehead, gathering together the candleladies and everyone else in reaching distance. No one, the elderly man told me softly, has ever done this as far as he's ever heard. 'Bravo', he pulled me into the cathedral, into his office, and stamped and dated my book in the place I've reserved for the honor. He gave me a few postcards of the cathedral and an icon of the Holy Mother, because he couldn't find one of St Andrew, and then took me to the reliquary of my virtual trekking pal and gave me my hand back. There's a skull bone in an ornate silver case under glass and pieces of old wood in an X-shaped case behind it. In the side-church, there's another case with some finger bones and some rib pieces. All quite macabre for my taste, actually, Andy's bits in their final resting place. The church is fairly new with comfortable strong Italian influences - gold mosaics on the walls and interior domes similar to St Mark's Cathedral in Venice; colorful and pictorial stone marquetry on the floors like so many of the cathedrals in Tuscany - unquestionably the largest church I've seen in Greece.

And now I'm done with the walk. 4,423 kilometers.
No... can it be true?

14 comments:

ksam said...

You have totally made my Easter celebration complete now. I was almost hesitant to check...it's been a few days...but I'm so glad I did, that you did! It's been the most inspiring adventure and thank you for allowing so many of us to tag a long and peek over your shoulder. Enjoy your stay in Patras!

Perhaps you should get the boots bronzed and put in a display next to Andrews bits & pieces!!

You are an amazing woman. Thanks again and God Bless.

Karin

Margaret Meredith said...

Bravo! What a wonderful achievement! You are truly an inspiration!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and adventures during these past five months.You certainly have been proven "fit for the challenge".

In the future may you savor your wealth of memories as much as your readers have enjoyed following this extraordinary blog!

Ultrei!
Margaret Meredith

"And i will walk at liberty:for I seek thy precepts."
Psalm 119:45

Anonymous said...

Ann,
A most Happy and Blessed Easter to you. I am glad you have arrived but will miss checking on you every once in a while.
Pittsburgh Suzy

The Solitary Walker said...

Very well done! I bet you can hardly believe it... A Happy Greek Easter to you, and congratulations on a really fantastic achievement!

LDahl said...

I am so misty eyed! Bravo dear girl, bravo! This was a wonderful post.

Anonymous said...

Happy Easter and congratulations.
Thankyou for sharing your adventure.
What is next?
All the best you are amazing.
Joan Wells Walker

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Congratulations on an incredible achievement. What memories you will hold. I am glad the priest actually understood you were a pilgrim and not just a ragamuffin: it would be sad if you didn't manage to get the last stamp through communication difficulties!! He gave you a wonderful welcome in the end which is great.

J F F GrandsLieux said...

Congratulations, sincerely !
You must be a very tough person for you've achieved an incredible journey.
You can be admired by so many people.
Enjoy the resting time you have in front of you. The heat will help to stand still a little while, I guess ! D))

Timecheck said...

A truly unique and brave journey. I am going to miss your stories. You are now in for a few weeks of very restless legs. How will you cope?

Compostelle 2008 said...

Ann,
Congratulations! I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts and tales about this incredible pilgrimage! Relax now, and at some point let us know what's next!

Michèle (Ottawa) Canada

Ukiefriend said...

Anna, I was so afraid of checking your blog fearing you were falling short and that would have been quite fine considering you miscalculated the kilometers!

And, now, thru my tears, I am reading you are really there where you intended to be! How amazing can that be? I am so elated! I really hope that you will remember EVERYTHING along the way because it was a long, long way! Can imagine what you must have felt to have reached your goal...your destination, your summit.

Guess it's morning there and you are reveling in Easter services...hope you will post what is next.

I will miss checking in on your blog and seeing what voyage notes I would read.

Enjoy what Patras has to offer and we will see you and hear of you soon! God Bless You Girl! We are all so proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Ann! What a feat!

Anonymous said...

HAPPY EASTER ANNA! CONGRATULATIONS!

CAN'T BELIEVE YOU HAVE DONE IT! It's almost like a dream...who knew you would do it? Of course, we knew you would.

Waiting to read your blog of what it was like at Eastertime in Patras.

Can't wait to see you again, Nadja

Debbie said...

Blessed Easter to you! Thanks for writing about your pilgrimage and letting us follow you vicariously. I certainly hope you turn your writings into a book one day because I'd like an autographed copy!