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August 21, 2006 – A journey to Meteora And Ioannina, Greece in Europe

A Morning's (mis-)adventures Leading to Ioannina

Planned to go to the island of Corfu today. But, missed the morning bus to Ioannina (and also the transfer to Igoumenitsa from Ioannina) due to Rick's directions (proves the theory again about guys and directions!).

Went on a wild goose chase looking for the Kalambaka bus station with our big backpacks on our backs. We must've hiked up and down asphalt streets and unnamed dirt paths all over Kastraki. The irony was, an hour later, we ended up at the same exact spot from where we started from, except sweating from head to toe and tired as heck. Boo (turned out I had the correct way in the first place). Thus, stranded till 3:30pm.

So, we dropped off the huge backpacks at the bus station and went back to Meteora. We returned to actually visit the insides of one of the monasteries (they close at 5pm - that's why we didn't go into one yesterday). The paintings on the inside walls of Moni Agiou Nikolaou Anapafsa were actually pretty amazing and quite well preserved. They were a stark contrast to the delicate, fading interiors of the old Byzantine "cave" churches back in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Byzantine frescoes inside

a great view of Kastraki and Kalambaka from the top of a monastery

After that, hiked around the area, without our heavy backpacks this time, and noticed many wild turtles milling about.

these two were snapping at each other – they seemed to be quite territorial

In the afternoon, we finally got on the bus to Ioannina, a lake town. Passed through a very quaint town in the Greek Alps, Metsovo. Wished we stopped there for an overnight because Ioannina turned out to be pretty dumpy (i.e., trash, graffiti, broken/potholed roads) - not really what I was expecting after reading some literature about the town.

Besides the old town area, Kastro, the modern or new town portion looked war torn and empty, even though there hasn't been a war there for 50+ years. Also felt a somberness to the town while walking around. Maybe I'm being a little harsh (or ignorant of what actually happened there). The old area of Kastro was pretty interesting to walk around in though.

Where is everybody? It's passed Grecian siesta time already.

dark rooms(?) within the city walls of Kastro – didn’t really feel like going in to check them out

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