Byzantine Churches (4th-14th c.): Agia Aekatermi, Agfa Paraskevi, Agla Sofia, Agios Panteleimon, Agios Georgios, Agios Dimitrios (St. Dimitrios is also the city’s patron-saint), Agii Apostoli, Panagia ton Ch&lkeon, Profitis Ilias Osios David; Citadel; Gale-rius’ Triumphal Arch (303); Vlatad6n Monastery (valuable old manuscripts); White Tower (15th c.). It is an absolute must for every visitor to Salonika to make an outing to the famous Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain. The area has the status of an autonomous Monks’ Republic, only monks (about 2.000) live there; 20 monasteries with innumerable icons, mosaics, manuscripts.
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The orca must have been about seven or eight metres in length and was so close to me as it passed by that I could have reached out and touched it. Then – within a few seconds, but what seemed like minutes – it was gone. The experience caused a massive surge of adrenaline throughout my system but I felt like a great bag of nerves and could not relax until I was safely in the boat. Later that day, I thought about the documentary I had seen some time before, showing the creatures to be friendly towards humans. These days, with far more experience and understanding of nature, I very much regret not having made the most of that unique and once-in-a-lifetime encounter with that beautiful, majestic animal. In the late 1970s, I also had the privilege of spending two whole dives with a 3.8-m bottle-nosed dolphin called Donald at Lamorna Cove in Cornwall. I was on a two-week camping holiday at Newquay with my wife and three children and we visited the cove, where I intended to have a shallow dive. I put my gear on and was hoping to join two divers who were already in the water, but before I could reach them they had disappeared from view, so I decided to carry on by myself. I snorkelled out into the bay for about 100 metres before diving to the bottom and was peering into a hole containing a large conger eel, a novelty for me at the time, when I had the uncanny feeling that something was watching me.
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