There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot. – Wendell Berry, Remembering
There is something that happens when we travel on foot. The landscape slows down allowing for discovery: a tree frog on the side of the road, a herd of sheep on a country lane, experiencing the feeling of arrival entering a town on foot, walking into an ancient monastery, exploring old stone beehive structures housing thermal springs and listening to a fellow pilgrim singing.
These are just some of the beauty that we discovered today on our 35km walk from Alexandroupoli to Feres, close to the Turkish border.
Walking fills the soul with a lust for life, with curiosity, with an instinctive need to keep moving, to keep learning, seeking. Wanderlust, is this strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.
On the way we passed a goat herder with his goats. This is a very typical scene throughout Greece.
Monastery of Panagia Kosmoteira
We entered the town of Feres close to the Turkish border and on the hill we could see the impressive church of the Monastery of Panagia Kosmoteira. Built in 1152 AD and dedicated to the Virgin Mary it contains preserved frescoes from the 12th century, together with beautiful mosaic floors and icons.
Entering this church I was taken aback by its unexpected stark beauty.
Singing In The Thermal Springs
After completing the walk for the day we drove to our accomodation which was close to Traianoupoli Thermal Springs. These thermal baths have operated since antiquity and contain the remains of a Byzantine basilica together with stone beehive domed structures over the spring.
I visited the springs after returning from the walk with two fellow pilgrims, one whom was Julia, an incredible singer and musician and I got to hear her voice echo throughout the domed chambers.
Below is a recording of the Azhan or Muslim call to prayer that she sung this evening in this magical place. Sit back, relax and take it in.
Walking allows a gradual opening up and discovery of the landscape. We are able to take in everything in stride.
Walking allows the landscape to reveal itself, for us to discover, to marvel, to appreciate the detail and its richness with each passing step.
Who would have thought that when I woke up this morning that today would be such an adventure. This is the unexpected magic of walking.