For the second day trip we took a boat ride to San Frutosso – a small monastery (well ex monastery) that is only accessible by boat, or by walking for hours though small cliff paths. We got to the dock and, unlike two days earlier when we went to check the times and prices, it was absolutely packed.
We brought the ticket and got on the boat. We were both clicking pictures as we pulled out of port, the hotel as seen from the water, the churches on the top of the cliff, medieval defences along the coast, and WW2 defences that now look more like abandoned houses from most angles. Then as you come around a little peninsula sticking in to the Mediterranean you see a few small buildings and a large defence tower. When you come into the harbour you begin to wonder where on earth the boat is going to dock – there is a small beach and nothing else, and there are people on the beach. Well the boat docks within a few meters of where people are swimming. Must make for lovely swimming water...
As the monastery s built at the bottom of some rugged rocks you have to walk a very roundabout way in order to get to where you are going. Up some steps, under a building, out in the sun again, own some steps look across a small bit of water and realise that you are maybe 10 meters from where you started after a few minutes walking :)
When you first arrive it seems that there is nothing there except for a few buildings. Then when you take another look there are small cafes and restaurants dotted all around. The small beach is absolutely packed – and 50% of it is set aside as a beach club. And there are almost no signs for the entrance to the monastery at all. We pick our way through the people on the beach, and start to climb the cliff that seems to be the only way to the entrance. And walk through another cafe that is also cut into the side of the cliff on the way.
Now, I consider myself fairly fit – I run 4 miles, 2 or 3 times a week without getting overly out of breath, but after just a couple of flights of steps we are above the buildings and both Mrs Stace and I were in need of oxygen...
We finally managed to find the entrance hidden away down various small paths; again though, only 30 meters of so away from where you get off of the boat – but about 500m of walking along cliff paths. Pay to get in and get asked about my camera. If you want to take photos then you need a photographer’s license. OK, which means? Another 5 euro’s per person that wants to take pictures. OK then pay up the extra and get a lovely orange sticker for my t-shirt in return.
The first room is dedicated to the history of the monastery; there are several stories about how it was founded. The basics are that a Spanish group of bishops were fleeing persecution and found this small natural harbour that was well protected.
The questions seem to be when they fled. Some stories say they fled at the time, some claim that the remains of Frutosso were taken there three centuries after his death.
I have to say there was not that much to actually use the camera for inside, so I played with it a little, and managed to get the basis for some HDR shots that I want to try and work though when I get the right software.
We spent a couple of hours walking round the building, very interesting to see, but I think less so to describe here :)
Afterwards we went for a coffee at the cafe we walked through earlier and walked up to the large defence tower that one of the noble families built in the 14th or 15th century, and then decided to see if we could eat before the next boat home. We picked what looked like a nice beach front cafe and waited for a table to come free. Whilst waiting we looked what was under the arches at the front of the monastery. And found that the 500m walk and climb was most definitely the long way as one of the arches had a gap that went to the rear courtyard. Oh well, good exercise anyway...
We got a table, ordered and waited for the food. And then noticed how it was delivered. The cafe itself was just some covered decking on the beach front. The actual kitchen was on the top floor of the building behind and the food came down on a rope pulley system.
The food was, as every meal was this time, fantastic. Except for the wasps and strange yellow and black things (looked like an oversize spindly wasp, looking online it may be a yellow jacket – assuming you get those in Europe).
I was amazed at the amount of wasps and hornets that were around for the whole vacation actually. For someone who does not do well with those things (not allergic, and to be honest wasp stings are not as painful as the used to be – but I am still terrified of the things...) it did mean that it took the edge off of a few moments when trying to relax in the heat...
On the way out we tried to see if we could find the status of Jesus in the water. I don’t know the complete story behind it, but there is a statue beneath the waves that you can see if the water is clear. Not knowing where to look though made it (too) difficult to find.
Anyway, to end here are some shots of the day :)
|The monastary when arriving on boat|
|The monastaries capella|
|Another shot when arriving|
|How to moor a boat on a beach :)|
|Towards the end of the day the clouds came down and the mountains dissapeared|
|First attempt at a HDR image using some free software - played with it for a couple of minutes - there are two photo's here, one with the outside world being the meter point for the light, and one with the inside being the meter point.|
|The submerged statue (no I didn't get this shot - linked from StellaStyles on Flickr)|