Greek Journal Part IV

Greek Journal: 5/13/2005-6/8/2005

Summary: DenverLondonAthensLeptokaryaLitochoroMt. OlympusLitochoro Kalambaka (Meteora)IguominitsaCorfu TownIguominitsaZorganian Villages, Vikos Gorge and Mt. AstrakaAthensLondonDenver

 

5/21/2005: Kalambaka/Meteora, Greece: Woke at 7 am and had a feta omelets prepared by Katarina. We packed a few things and walked up a steep road just out our front door toward the rock towers and the Monasteries. With in few blocks the road turned in to a trail that climbed 700 vertical feet through a dense forest teaming with butterflies and dragon flies.

Our walked took to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity which sits on top of a 600 ft rock tower overlooking Kalambaka. The tow house, which was once used to bring food, guests and monks up to the monastery still hung over the vertical rock wall, but early in the 20th century a stair way had been cut in to the rock. Early guest would be placed in a rope net and hauled straight up a few hundred feet to the tow house. Unwanted guests were out of luck since even an accomplished climber would be unable to scale these featureless rock walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monastery of the Holy Trinity. The tow house is on the far left of the spire and the stairway can be seen 2/3rds of the way up the left hand side of the tower cutting obliquely across the rock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is still an active monastery with monks working, worshipping and living on the rock. Due to their ascetic life and vows, they do interact and are not seen by the public who visits. We were able to ascend the steps and tour most of the monastery, but saw no sign of its life long habitants.

After the visit Mo and Kelley walked down and I hobbled down. My injured foot is a mixed blessing. Even though it is painful and slow to walk, my tendency to forge ahead by myself has been curtailed and am getting to spend a lot of time in the company of Kelley and Mo.

After returning to the Koka Roka we had lunch and set out on a tour of the other monasteries in the area. We went to Megalo Meteora and the Monastery of Roussano. While all the original monasteries were for monks, Roussano has been converted in to a cloistered convent for nuns. Meteora seemed to be one of those very rate instances where the experience of visiting one of earths great natural wonders was enhanced by the impact of man. The monasteries blended in so well with the rock you almost imaging them being present when the oceans receded from this geologic wonder 3 million years ago.

All good things must come to an end, so after a day of inspiration and perspiration we returned to the KR and Kelley got her things together in preparation for her evening departure back to reality, as it is for her. Her reality right now is Montpellier in the South of France where she is studying French for two months before she returns to her other reality in Barcelona, Spain.

 

 

Map of the Montpellier region of France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After packing we went down to the main town square and had a delicious dinner including a taste of the local Makedeniko wine which was very good.

We put Kelley on the train at 7:30 pm and said a sad good-bye. What a great visit! This was the longest time we had spent together in at least the past 10 years. I will particularly remember and cherish our struggle up and down Mt. Olympus.

 

5/22/2005: Leaving Kalambaka: This was an opportunity to successfully apply our Greek travel education. Last night we talked to Arthur and Katarina about getting a ride to the bus in the morning. One of the things that the KR had advertised was that they treat you like family and will pick you and drop you off at the train or bus station. Unfortunately they did not have a car, but we were assured by Katarina that it would be No problem. Call taxi in morning and it take 2 minutes to get to bus station. Katarina would cook us up a fine Greek breakfast and we would be on our way. The plan was breakfast at 7 am, call the taxi to pick us up at 8 am and catch the bus at 8:30 am. The bus didnt really leave until 8:50, but we thought the extra 20 minutes wouldnt hurt. No problem, it take 2 minutes in morning for taxi take you to the bus. Katarina repeated.

We still had our rental car, but a friend of Georges (Poseidon Hotel George) was going to pick the car up at the KR that day so it had to stay at the Koka Roka. Thus we were dependent on some other form of transportation to get to the bus station.

At 7:15 am we had already brought all of our luggage down and were ready to do something. Unfortunately there was no Arthur and no Katarina. We waited until 7:45 am and since there was still no Arthur and no Katarina we loaded all the luggage in to the minimicro and I drove it and Mo to the bus station down town and dropped them off. I then drove back to the KR a little after 8 am. Katarina was up, but there was no breakfast. She was a little offended that we had initiated escape plan B, but she would still call a taxi for us. Five calls later she declared that the taxis must be on strike, but No problem. You walk to the bus. Only take 10 minutes.

Disappointment and frustration come from failed expectations and being that my expectations were met I was experiencing neither. Twenty minutes later, with seven minutes to spare and a slightly panicked wife, I arrived at the bus station ready for the next adventure.

 

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