We arrive on the tiny isle of Patmos at dusk. We walk up first to the monastery, our tour guide very soft spoken but very clear, which makes her seem very earnest. And thoroughly likable.
We see the chapel, the outer courtyard able to be photographed, the inner chapel and museum not so much.
She explains a bit of the doctrinal schism that split the Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches and some of the liturgical practices that differ today. And because we will see a lot of the art, she explains the icons. (While in the great Catholic churches in Europe may be adorned with marble statues, icons (religious symbols and paintings of holy figures: Jesus, Mary, the saints) in the Orthodox Church, she tells us, are always painted on wood – as they are always to be founded on the cross of Jesus Christ.)
After the museum, we make our way down to the grotto itself, where it is believed that the apostle John received the Revelation that is the book of the same name while he was exiled here.
Back on board the ship, our little group has dinner together, and we have a few drinks at our bar – but between the previous full day and the full day and the timbre of our visit on Patmos, it’s a quieter evening overall.