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August 20, 2006 – A journey to Meteora, Greece in Europe

Sunday Travel Greek Time

Sundays are not the best time to travel from the smaller towns of Greece (possibly Fridays too, since they seem to have the same schedule as Sundays). Many of the buses are discontinued or reduced. But since Rick and I were on a pretty tight time schedule, we didn't have too many good choices. Maybe we should've just taken it easy. Ah well.

Besides the delineated route taken below, the other choices were going to Thessaloniki (5-5 ½ hours), Litohoro/Mt. Olympus (4-4 ½ hours), or Larissa in addition to a couple of transfers to Meteora (4 hours). All buses depart at 3:15pm rather than the normal 10:15am time from Delphi. Getting into town in the evening wasn't too appealing.

So, we ended up taking this route from Delphi to Meteora:

10:15 – Delphi to Amfissa
11:15 – Amfissa to Lamia
14:15 – Lamia to Trikala
16:30 – Trikala to Kalambaka
17:00 – Kalambaka to Kastraki

Not sure if that was a bright idea, since it took all day to get to Meteora. But, tried to make the best of it. At least we got to see quite a few Greek small towns, countryside, and farmland. Also got to pass by Thermopylae on the way to Lamia. Thermopylae is the narrow pass where King Leonidas and 300(!) Spartans blocked a huge Persian army for a while (Rick explained this to me - he's a big aficianado on war history)!

an olive grove at the foot of these mountains

the whole town of Lamia seems to be closed on Sunday except for their small bus station

Finally reached the small village at the foot of Meteora, Kastraki, at around 5:10pm. Rick ran around and found a hotel and was able to bargain the price down to 35 Euros from 50 (woohoo!). Checked in, dropped the bags, went to the market and bought lots of liquids. Then headed off to check out the amazing monasteries of Meteora.

Moni Agiou Nikolaou Anapafsa

Believe it or not, the whole landscape of Meteora used to be under an ocean ten million years ago. After the boulders immersed, tectonic plates shifted around. The boulders were naturally eroded to the way they are today by wind, rain, and other natural forces. Monks built six monasteries on top of them to find a safe haven from persecution. Way back then, they first used ladders to climb up, then eventually nets. How cool is that?

nowadays, this monastary, Moni Agiou Nikolaoua Napafsa, uses a cable lift

Moni Agiou Stefanou at the foot of this interesting boulder

the town of Kalambaka at the foot of this famous (and yet another interesting) scene

I'm still marveling at the fact that all the surrounding scenery used to be under an ocean once a long, long time ago, and that monks then built monasteries on top!

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