9th and 10th Feb 2003
Meteora is place of amazing rock formations, topped by even more amazing monastries. We were blessed with perfect clear cold weather for the first of our two days there.
Monastries and frescos are all very well, but firstly we went scrambling on the rocks. It was a bit dicey because the SPD cleats make the soles of my boots slippery and Ju's boots are two sizes two big so she can get lots of thick socks in them. This gave us a feeling of what it must have been like to be a monk searching for a new cave to meditate in!
We came to some beautifully carved steps in one place, leading to a cut traverse ledge that led to a viewpoint over Kalambaka. Believe it or not this was halfway up and otherwise pretty difficult scramble!
The rock scenery is fantastic, and in places it was encrusted in icicles and ice smears.
Next day we went to a Monastery. There are six active monastries, all of which date back to around 1400 AD. They are mostly famous for their frescos. As far as we could see these consisted almost entirely of pictures of saints being martyred. No saint was complete without a painful end! All the monastries are on pinacles or cliffs to make them inaccessible. Originally supplies and visitors were hauled in with winches, but now they have steep stairways. Here we have the monastery of Ayiou Nikolaou Anapavsa on the left and the more imposing Varlaam on the right:
We stayed at 'Alsos House', run by the friendly Yiannis Karakantas. Warm and comfortable, tel 24320 24097.
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