Thank you Paul as well as Angie for your comments. That's just what I need to know. I'm going with a group and will be on the island for 9 days also. After that we will go to a few other monasteries finishing off with a visit to Meteora. Looking forward to it.
As to the backpack, this has been strongly suggested by another person that went with the group.
Paul, you ask about the wheels being required by the airlines? There not. My wife (who has more athority than the airlines ) is the one that said that I should use wheels. I have a small backpack that fits the dimentions of the TSA and the airlines for carry on and it has wheels. It just isn't very comfortable as a backpack.
You probably know the size of carry on luggage but I'll list them any way:
Over head dim's are from 26 x 18 x 12 on Air Bus A320, 22 x 14 x 9 United 777 to 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 on Air Canada 777
Under Seat dim's are 18 x 15 x 8 for Air Bus down to 17 x 10 x 9 on United
A purse is also allowed 12 x 10 x 5.5
You can also take a hat, jacket, umbrulla, and other things that can be placed in your pockets or on your person.
You said that you took a full size backpack. What are/were the dim's. of that? You also said that you left your luggage at the hotel. I'm assuming then that you packed your backpack in your suit case and checked it. Then you packed your backpack when you left for the Holy Mt.. Right?
This is the first time I've heard of someone telling how spartan the bathroom facilities are. I guess I'll have to draw on my experience at Boy Scout camp.
One other question is shoes. What do you recommend? I've also heard that Churches as well as Monasteries expect black or at least very dark shoes. Was that your experiance?
The second half of my trip will be in Jerusalem. I'm finding the cost for lodging to very high for hostels and BnB's. I don't know what it will be for a regular hotel.
Maybe Angie can help there.
Thanks for the help.