The bus drops me in Kalabaka around 11pm. Once again I’m hitting a city that’s been closed since five. I chuckle and wander down the middle of the dusty street. to my left jutting from the earth stand the great natural monuments upon which the monasterys of Meteora lie.
I wander up a small side street following signs to the hotel astoria. it seemed like the best choice considering it was the only sign I saw walking the length of the main road. I find the owners sitting out front with a bottle of Ouzo and smoking cigaretts, the woman nudges her husband who rustles himself out of his chair and leads me inside. I motion I’d like a room for 1 night, and then ask him about price, rubbing my index finger with my middle and ring fingers, bus – by honking an air horn and motorboating to make the sound effects and then Meteora by pointing up to the flood lights casting an eerie glow on the rockface. 20 euro spent and a room and clean shower found with information on the bus to Meteora and to Trikala the next day I crashed exausted and ready for a break.
I oversleep my alarm and miss the 8:30 bus. The next one is at 2:30. I decide to walk. its 9:15 when I start and I make my way across the city. I find the bus depot and bargin with a cabby, he’ll take me to the top for 7 euro. frustrated but not knowing how far I decide to go for it. I hop in and off we go. 2km and some curvey roads behind us we make it to the top of the Meteora. I pay him and make the mental decision to walk back down when I’m finished.
the first monastery I enter is beautiful, with freshly painted fresco’s (the monks repaint them much to Unesco’s displeasure) and perfectly kept grounds… sitting hundreds of feet abouve the valley floor on pillars of sedementary rock. Its beautiful, magnificent… what a treat. I walk between four of the five (skipped the nunnery because it was on a flat jutt of rock not on a pillar) and experience the beauty and spiritual energy of the place. Orthodox priests abound, skirts are obliged and each monastery is 2 euro. a small price to pay for something so beautiful.
walking between the different monasterys I get a feel for the land as well. it’s so beautiful here, although Its also hot and sweaty!
Each Monastery has it’s own rope and pulley system, developed to keep the monks safe from war and violence of heathens. Each monastery is a fortress, beautiful, isolated, and easily defended.
The view from the first Monastery:
Holy Monastery of the Meteora: Transfiguration of Christ: this is the biggest and most ornate of the monasterys and it also houses the monk’s Ossuary,
As I hiked back down toward the city I came to the final Monastery of my decent:
And I passed an overlook where I took some Boot shot in Honor of Virtual Wayfarer
Having doused my head in the spring waters rising from within the monoliths, I started my decent, a thumb stuck up and one foot pressing infront of the other. A car passed with an Orthodox priest and his driver, they stopped and took me about a 1/4 of a kilometer before they turned off the main road and headed back toward the monasterys, as I continued on my walk a Biker on a Harley passed and stopped. I hopped on the back and caught a ride almost half way back to Kalabaka, the curving and perilous roads taken at a good clip on the back of a Harley is an experience not easily or quickly forgotten.
I then caught a ride back with a greek couple who dropped me in the city. I collected my bags and started the journey to Trikala, and eventually that night to Thessoloniki.
P.S. Traveling on a sunday is a bad idea. three times now I’ve told myself not to do it, hahahah!