Posts tagged: Meteora

The Meteora

By , 26/07/2014 13:44

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For those who don’t know, the main attraction of Kalambaka and Kastraki is the Meteora (Μετέωρα). There are 6 monastries built on rocks on the egde of the Plain of Thessaly.

This is one of the largest and one of the most important grouping of Eastern Orthodox monastries – only Mt. Athos is more important. The Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This morning I got the bus from the hotel and went to explore the  monastries – there are great views over the region from the tops of the mountains!

Signs at the entrance to each monastry state “No Entry to: Men wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts. Women wearing trousers, shorts and short sleaved shirts”. In reality, as long as your knees are covered they don’t mind. Skirts are provided for the women who need them!

It really is very picturesque round here, and not surprisingly, it is very touristy. I was disappointed there were no Greeks to take my photo for me… I asked a Bulgarian tourist instead; and then I took one of him and his wife using his camera.

Pictures aren’t allowed inside the monastries, but here’s a photo of me from on the top of one of them…

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Now, I need to pay the hotel bill, then, I’m taking the bus to Thessaloniki (changing at Trikala).

Bye for now,

FH.

The Traditional Village of Kastraki

By , 25/07/2014 23:10

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“Welcome in the Traditional Village of Kastraki” reads the sign on the outskirts of the village.

Kastraki (Καστράκι) is a very nice village. Kalambaka is a big town, but Kastraki has, I think, more character to it and offers better views of the Meteora than Kalambaka.

My accommodation – Zozas Rooms – is on the outskirts of the village. I’ve got a double room here, TV, air con and a fridge – and a continental breakfast included. I’ve got a map and a copy of the bus timetable, so tomorrow I will go and visit the monastries.

I headed out for a little walk around the village this afternoon – there are a selection of tavernas, two bakeries, small supermarkets and a few cafes.

I walked in to Kalambaka itself too; there is a cashpoint there, and I went in to the tourist office to get the bus timetable…and then to the bus station to buy my ticket to Thessaloniki for tomorrow (cost €20). Kalambaka isn’t far, it takes about 15-20 minutes to walk to the centre from my hotel.

250720142410For dinner tonight I went to one of the ‘roof garden’ tavernas, it was very quiet there: all the tourists were in the one opposite, which had live Greek music (read as: Zorba the Greek). I enjoyed my meal of σουτζοκάκια με ρίζι (meatballs and rice) – plus of course bread and a drink… at a cost of €8,50.

Tomorrow morning, breakfast is 07:30 to 09:30: I’ll be going down at about 07:30. Then I will check out of my room and leave my luggage in the hotel, and I will get the 09:00 bus to the monastries of the Meteora.

I’m off to bed now.

Good night,

FH.

The Train to Kalambaka

By , 25/07/2014 16:07

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After a five-and-a-half hour train journey from Athens, I have arrived at the Meteora (Μετέωρα).

From the railway station in Kalambaka (Καλαμπάκα) I paid €5 for a taxi to Kastraki (Καστράκι), the next village, where I have double room with wonderful views over the Meteora. I shall write more about the Meteora once I’ve had a proper chance to visit it tomorrow.

Travelling first class on the train was probably the best thing I’ve ever done. The first class carriage is divided in to compartments of no more than 6 seats, with climate control, light control, bigger seats than 2nd class, and the door to each compartment can be closed.

I was sharing the compartment with a Greek family – a couple and their daughter, roughly the same age as me – who I spoke to in Greek quite a lot… they pointed out to me all the key points of interest as the journey progressed; I talked about my tour of Greece, they told me about their friends in England: my favourite line being “Brighton is by the sea but it has lots of gay people”. Now I know the Greek word for “gay”…

Also included in my €14,70 first class ticket was a free meal: so for breakfast (I had it at around 11, with the family) I had a cheese pie, a sort of melba toast with cherry jam to spread on it, a couple of chocolate bars, and a drink.

I will be doing the monastries of the Meteora properly tomorrow morning, Zozas has given me a map and written down the times of the busses. I can have breakfast at 07:30, then get the bus at 9 to the monastries. I’ll be able to leave my luggage securely in the hotel, then collect it when I get back before I head on up to Thessaloniki.

More on Kastraki to follow later.

Bye for now,

FH.

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