We left Thessaloniki on Monday. Museumed out after Selcuk and Istanbul, we
spent most of Sunday at a lovely beach. It turns out that this was just
as well, as Thessaloniki is pretty much closed from Saturday afternoon
until Monday. It's a nice city but is certainly more of a working city
than a tourist destination, though we weren't there during the week.
We arrived in Kalampaka (Meteora) on Monday. Our hotel here, Koka Roca
Rooms, is great. The owners are just lovely. Also, a 0.5cl of ice-cold
beer is only 1.50. ($2.25 Canadian.)
It's absolutely breathtaking here. Kalampaka is nestled at the bottom of
amazing rock formations, several of which have 15th century Greek Orthodox
monastaries at their peaks. After a relaxing afternoon of laundry, naps
and dinner, we left early this morning to hike between the monastaries.
The terrain was like nothing we'd seen before. It was hot again today,
but we found plenty of shade, there was an occasional breeze and we ad
lots of water.
The monastaries here were very different than the churches we saw on our
honeymoon in France and Italy. The art was beautiful, but more
restrained, and virtually all dedicated to the lives (and martyrdoms) of
the saints. The chapels in the monastaries had very tall ceilings but
were otherwise rather small. We think our living and dining rooms have
more floor space. There were many wood paintings and carvings, frescoes,
intricate furniture with inlaid designs, and of course the views. We took
a boatload of pictures here. We think we have all of about 3 shots of
Thessaloniki and about 50 from here. We hope they turn out but we doubt
they will be able to convey the majesty of the place. That's why we're
buying a souvenir book. :-)
Ben was so glad to have his eyes in tip-top shape for this leg of the
journey, it was great for him to see everything so clearly and
Irene, you would have absolutely adored the walk back. We took a small
path down the face of the mountain back into town. The path was quite
closed in and had holly bushes as large as some trees in Canada. Sarah
says that it alternatively smelled of warm wood and honey.
We got back to town at about 1:30 and had a huge nap, packed, are writing
this now, and are looking forward to another delicious meal tonight and
then it's up bright and early for a 6:30a.m. train to Athens tomorrow.
We'll probably send out one more message from Athens and then it will be
back home on the 21st.
Ben and Sarah