In the space of about one hour, this morning, I have seen two boats depart with pilgrims for Mount Athos, underlining just how many men visit the monk’s republic even in autumn.
Mount Athos is not only a different country, a theocracy. It is a country in which visitors cannot move around freely. Three day permits are given on condition that a pilgrim spends every night at a different monastery and these have to be arranged in advance.
I found out the land border can be opened. It is very clear that the monks are more interested in the revenue stream generated by a system of permits and boat tickets and in controlling their space than in helping pilgrims.