Sunday, March 09, 2014

Meteora

The rocks around Kalabaka are known as "Meteora."  They are awesome looking enough by themselves.  The icing-on-the-cake is that there are monasteries on top of some of them, dating back as far as the 14th century,  and featured in the James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" (added to my list to re-watch).

At the advice of our hotel, we started from our front door on a 12 km counterclockwise loop, by first ascending on a footpath.  While it was a hassle to deal with the wet weather, the accompanying mist made Meteora even more mesmerizing.  I could have sat and watched all day, except there was no sitting in the wet.  There were only a few brave souls marching around on foot; many people were going around in cars, even greater number in tour buses, even from Macedonia and Albania.  I suspected that International Women's Day (March 8th) may be responsible for some of the traffic. In any case, walking seemed just the right pace to take in the views.

The admission to the half dozen monasteries of varying sizes is 3 euros each.  In the winter they have varying hours and closing days.  I did not come across a definitive site online.  On the Saturday we visited, all were open and the biggest one, the Great Meteoron, was having particularly good business.  I could see why -- they had a lot of good stuff.  Their collection of ancient manuscripts and embroideries very much impressed me -- alas, no photos were allowed.

A couple of the churches were covered in frescoes every square inch, shining lanterns -- splendid setting for some serious religion.  Unfortunately nowadays these monasteries are basically museums rather than venues for spirituality, though there is the rare priest  spotted every now and then. And the monasteries make the pretense of propriety by making all the women don long skirts, freely available on loan right by the entrance.  Oh well, one cannot have everything....


Monasteries in the mist.
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

Photography was allowed inside at least one Monastery. ;-)
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

At several of the monasteries, the priest comes to work by cable car. Seeing a priest hop out of the "car" upon reaching the other side was a jaw dropper. We were expecting a delivery man. ;-)
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

And there were great views back to Kalabaka.
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

Three monasteries in this one.
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

Sun-Ling at a view point.
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

Reading the guidebook inside one of the monasteries.
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

Sun-Ling with skirt near the hoist where for hundreds of years everything, including people, entered and left the monastery.
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

Finally the sun!
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

And we're done and walking home.
Meteora - Kalambaka, Greece

And a very short bonus video.

3 comments:

Kathy said...

Love the mist pix! You were more energetic than I was - I took a taxi... Still had to trek up a lot of steps and was very glad it wasn't summer.

Crash Eddy said...

Your video doesn't move, just a 17 second still photo.

john said...

@Kathy - We were fortunate to be staying in a hotel literally at the start of the path up to Ayia Triada. That made it alot easier.

@Ed- Don't you see the mist moving by? ;-)