I couldn’t find much information out there in English so I’m putting this online for anyone who needs it.
I am, of course, not responsible for any damage done to your device.
Information is derived from these sources, primarily copied and clarified from the first:
a. Download ClockModRecovery. The direct link is http://www.megaupload.com/?d=AO4M7NKX (Decompress password is “http://www.droid-style.com”).
b. Decompress the zip file, and you will have these two files (Do not decompress them) “lepad-a1-rooter_signed.zip” and “update.zip” . Save the two zip files into the root folder of MicroSD card.
e. Shutdown the Pad.
f. Turn on the Pad by holding “Power” + “Volume down”, wait until “Lenovo” logo disappears, hold buttons for around 10 seconds, and then release buttons.
g. Press “Power” + “Volume down” again and hold until you see a green Google App installation logo, then release buttons. You will see ClockModRecovery recovery mode.
h. Press and hold “Volume down” until you see “Back Menu Button Enabled” at the bottom.
i. Press “Volume down” to select “install zip from sdcard”, and then press “Power” button to confirm.
j. Press “Volume down” to “choose zip from sdcard”, and then press “Power” button to confirm.
k. Find and choose file “lepad-a1-rooter_signed.zip”, and then press “Power” button to confirm.
j. Find and choose “yes”, and then press “Power” button to confirm.
k. Find and choose “Go Back”, and then press “Power” button to confirm.
l. Find and choose “reboot system now”, and then press “Power” button to confirm.
If you need to install market, download the latest Google Apps package from http://goo-inside.me/gapps/gapps-gb-20110828-signed.zip (29 Aug 2011 version) and repeat the process.
After Turkey, I traveled to Romania. I spent some time in the county of Galati before traveling to Sinaia and later to Sucheava. Nearby Sucheava are the painted monasteries of Buchovina. One of my seminary professors from Romania, Fr. Pentiuc, seeing on Facebook that I was in Romania, suggested I visit. It was out of the way, but worth the trip. I only spent two days in Sucheava before moving on to do the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
The seven days I was in Constantinople/Istanbul was the most moving, exhausting, and colorful part of the pilgrimage. We arrived by bus and went for lunch at the Phanar. Then we visited the small Church of St. Nicholas, one of the 75 still functioning Orthodox churches (served by just 24 priests) in Istanbul. The single men stayed at the Halki Seminary on an island in the Bosphorus. Halki was closed in the 70’s and the Turkish gov’t refuse to allow it to be reopened. It still functions as a monastery where there is only a handful of monks and staff. The seminary was on top of a hill, and since there were no vehicles on the island the only way there was to walk or go by horse carriage.
During the course of the trip we visited a number of churches which had been turned into mosques, the most famous of which were Hagia Sophia and Chora. We also visited Agia Irini, a church which had been closed. It was on the grounds of the Topkopi Palace and had never been turned into a mosque. The church was opened on occasion for concerts, and the evening we visited the GOA Youth Choir was performing.
Our group had a very brief audience with H.A.H Patriarch Bartholomew, and we saw him several other times during services. Another highlight of the trip was, after a very long climb, we visited the Monastery of St. George on Princess Island. There was only a single monk who lived there. We arrived a little before it was time for vespers. Normally, he probably closed the chapel and did a reader service, as vespers cannot be done by a single priest. However, our group had several chanters, so he was able to do the full vespers service. He even left the doors open and several people, likely all Muslims, stayed to watch the service.
After that there was a trip to the Grand Bazaar where one of my classmates wives helped me buy a scarf for someone special, and the next day we left Halki for the last time. Except for me and one other person, all the rest of the group went to the airport to return to Boston or to go on to some other place. I planned to spend two and a half more days in Istanbul to catch up on the sights we didn’t get to see, and mostly to rest and just be alone for a little while before going on to Romania. Now on my own, I spend a few lazy days visiting one sight per day and working on my photos. And eating and drinking whatever I felt like, whenever I felt like it.
Those photos took me over a month to finish processing, but I have 242 brilliant pictures from this part of the trip. Descriptions and explanations are in the captions of several pictures. Enjoy!
After Mt. Athos, we loaded onto the bus and headed off for Turkey. We stopped twice, once in a small city at a fairly decent hotel, and once in a very small town at a very nice hotel by the beach. At the first city, Kavallas, we arrived on the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul. Because this city was the first place where St. Paul entered Europe, and because he is the patron and protector of the city, the city goes all out to celebrate his feast day with an artoclasia and a stational procession from the chruch of St. Paul to the city cathedral. There were at least four bishops and over a dozen priests and deacons. My camera battery died at the start of the procession, but I borrowed a couple of point and shoots and got some more shots of the procession moving and the end. It was a brilliant night and one of the high points of the trip.
After that, we went to a hotel by the beach with a pool. We went for a swim in the pool and had a relaxing evening. The next morning, we were up early for the bus ride to Turkey.
We left for Mt. Athos at 5am. I stayed up too late packing, but worse of all, there was music blasting from the theological school where we had taken Greek classes. Police are not allowed to go on college campuses, and if they had campus security they did nothing. After a restless sleep, we were on our way.
After the usual bus and ferry our group arrived on the Holy Mountain. We got off at Xenofondos Monastery. This was my first time at Xenofondos. I had been to Mt. Athos five years before. At that time, I went to ten monasteries and sketes, but never to any this far to the west. Xenofondos was smaller than many of the other monasteries I had visited. They didn’t seem to get many visitors. Other than us, there was one other small group of pilgrims and that was about all. We had an English speaking guide who took us on a couple of small tours. Outside the monastery walls there was a small stream where a miraculous icon of St. George was found.
We went to evening services and had a simple monastic dinner. Then, we went to bed early for a 4am liturgy. It was a feast day, so we had rice mixed with fish for breakfast. Afterwords, we loaded up and went to Keryes, the capital of the Mt. Athos community, to wait for another bus. It hadn’t changed much in five years, which was nice. The only difference I saw was that there were more consumer goods. I think they have more workers on Mt. Athos now, which is a good sign that more work is being done. Two cokes and some shopping later, we were on our way to Vatopedi Monastery.
I think most of the group agreed that we were at Vatopedi for too long. We were there for four days. The problem wasn’t so much the lenghth, but the monastery itself. They had a lot of visitors, and were very strict. We were asked not to move around much outside the guesthouse. We were questioned before we took communion about whether we had confessed. Worse of all, we couldn’t take photographs, although I found ways around that rule.
Those were the problems, but overall the stay was okay. The services were beautiful. There were two vigils, one very late one on Saturday. I tried hard to go stay for as long as I could, but I left early and, as our stay went on, I went later and later to morning services. I didn’t like doing that, because then I had to stand in the narthex. I couldn’t understand the Greek chanting, so seeing what was happening was a big part of the experience for me. Without that, I just had hearing the beauty of the melody, which was still enough. We went on several tours of the monastery and I saw a lot more than I usually did when I was going from one to another the last time. We went on a tour outside the monastery and I got permission to take pictures. I also took a few from the vantage point of the courtyard, so I was satisfied with my picture taking.
It was hard staying up in our room all afternoon for four days, but I think I got to know all the guys a lot better. OVerall, I think I had a good stay. It was different from the first time I went, but I’d say it was equally good. On the last day we took off on the fast boat for the port.
Thessaloniki was a good chance for us to settle down a bit. On the other hand, we’re still touring around twice a week. Plus, we’re taking Greek classes. These classes are just shy of awful. I taught language for 10 years and I’ve studied a language, so I know better than anyone just what we’re not getting. Plus, the air conditioner remote keeps getting locked up and the room is hot and stuffy. Plus, there’s a lot of homework. I’m just short of giving up all together. I could barely pay attention today at all.
Now we’re going on twice weekly tours with a lady who is supposed to be famous and keeps referring to films she’s made and books she’s written. She gives highly, highly detailed tours that go on for hours. She also talks about aliens meeting ancient Greeks and how ancient civilization was destroyed by a nuclear blast.
The rest of my time was sent fixing my laptop, developing my pictures, and trying to study for my thesis.
After you’ve been traveling for a while, especially when you’re moving rapidly from one place to another, everything starts to blend together after awhile.
There was one important moment during our visit to Agina Island, when we visited the monastery where St. Nektarios lived and where his relics are. We visit the room that he lived in during his time there. Our groups sang the hymn ‘Agia Parthene’ in front of the icon that St. Nektarios sat in front of when he wrote the hymn. I was so glad to have captured that moment on video, but the cheap memory card I was using failed and I lost it.
When we got back to Athens I got very sick. The next day I had a miserable trip up to the Acropolis in the heat. I decided to stay in the day we got to Crete. I started feeling a little better later, but didn’t fully recover until a few days ago.
When our time was up, we boarded another ship and left for the island of Crete.
We had a brilliant time on Crete, but it was here that it began to seem that things were speeding up and we were running from one place to the next. However, this part of the trip was very special for me. We visited a monastery that had been re-founded by a nun who was close to Elder Porphyrios, my spiritual grandfather (spiritual father’s spiritual father). I saw something for the first time, an icon of the elder. When we got back onto the bus I saw another student had bought a similar icon in the bookstore. I held up the bus while I ran back in the hot sun to buy one for myself. I got there just as the nun who kept the store was leaving. As I ran back to the bus, I had the most perfect fall I’ve ever had. The lace of one shoe got caught on the buckle of the other. I pitched forward and fell flat on the ground. I skinned up my elbow and had a headache for the rest of the day, but it was worth it. The monastery was nice otherwise, there was a very old icon screen which is usually closed off but they let us in to venerate it.
We met with one metropolitan and later the Archbishop of Crete. Unlike most of Greece, Crete is not part of the Church of Greece. It is an eparchy directly under Constantinople, just as the GOA is. That’s why it has its own archbishop.
The Archbishop saw us off at the port, which was quite a surprise. Someone said it would be like Arb. Demetrios see off a group of Cretan travelers to the US.
Paris was an amazing experience, and a bit of a surprise. We had been told we’d be going ‘somewhere’ in Europe before going on to Greece, but we didn’t know where. It turned out to be Paris. After Rome, Paris was my second choice. It was great because did this first so I wasn’t exhausted from traveling yet, as I now am, and it’s just a beautiful city. Since I am with a tour group, we had, as is common with these groups, to see everything at a dead run. However, unlike our travels in Greece we got a little more free time to walk around on our own.
The Louvre was, I thought, the best part. Some of the best exhibits were packed with people. In front of the Mona Lisa was a small sea of humanity pushing and shoving their way to the front to take photos with expensive cameras with hundreds of settings which they leave on ‘Auto’. Why would anyone want a photograph of the Mona Lisa or any other painting or sculpture? Look at it while you’re there. If you need a picture later google it. I did have a funny experience, all the bad-mannered, pushy Chinese tourists reminded me of going to McDonald’s while I was living in China. I really wish I had taken a picture of people taking pictures. Why didn’t I think of that?
The Sunday we were in Paris we went to the parish of our tour guides. It was a small church and one of the first established by the Russian community in Paris. The unusual icons were done by the famous iconography Leonid Ouspensky. Elder Sophrony, Nikolai Berdyaev and Vladimir Lossky were also connected with this parish during their time in Paris. Many of the Russian churches in Europe after the revolution came under the Church of Constantinople, such as the huge Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris, but this small one is the under the Moscow Patriarchate. It look like a massive cathedral will be built near the Eiffel Tower soon. ARTICLE Since I was there for a Sunday liturgy I didn’t try to take any pictures. They gave us a nice book to remember the trip by, though.
See the pictures below for full commentary.