Foreword: This is the first, and probably the last time, I’ve used an album title as a headline but it’s ideal, nothing else even comes close.
I’ve been exploring the area of Greece known as Meteora.
After all the chaos of Athens I realised that I had to move on, I thought to myself “Don’t stay” and I boarded a train to Trikala.
On my first day, I just spent my time exploring Trikala and frankly, this city doesn’t offer that much in the way of sights, there’s an old bridge, a clocktower and a couple of museums but nothing spectacular. The nearby area of Holy Meteora is a completely different story though, that really is somewhere I belong.
At the top of the Meteora mountain range lies 6 monasteries all with a different character. I arrived into the base town of Kalambaka and hiked my way through the trees to get to the first monastery, The Holy Trinity monastery. It was at this first one that I saw just how high up I was and it really was breathtaking. I then headed right out of this monastery to get to the next one, St Stephens, and luckily I wasnt even charged an entrance fee to this one, maybe they thought I was one of their own. After exploring this second one, and eavesdropping a tour I thought I’d head to the next one. Now, I’d be lying from you if I said I wasn’t tired, I was absolutely shattered, so when I was able to find a small hidden area, with fantastic views, I hit the floor and had some lunch.
After my little break I walked along the road to get to the next building, Holy Monastery of Rousanou, this one was in fact a nunnery though so I couldn’t disguise myself in any way. I was able to tag onto a tour group though, swings and roundabouts. The following monastery of Varlaam was closed on Fridays so unfortunately I was unable to gain entrance but there were spectacular views from here. The next monastery was the big one, the namesake, The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron. I paid the entrance fee and for this I not only got to see the church and monastery, but also a traditional carpenters workshop, an old kitchen, and the museum of war and folklore.
This was the final monastery I visited as the remaining one was closed so I decided to head back into town. Looking on my maps however (I had two maps with me, just in case), I saw there was a cave so I found a little trail and set off in search. The trail itself was a little difficult to find, I had to scramble through some constructions works just to get to it, but when I did, the place was empty. It was really nice to find peace without having to contend with ignorant bus tourists. The trail started to get a little rougher as I progressed and I thought it might be easier to run but my little legs were knackered and if I did run, I thought I might faint.
As I walked, I kept checking my maps and couldn’t find anything that looked like a cave so I kept walking until something else popped up on my map, a cave entrance known as Monk’s Prison (see figure.09), this wild exploring will take some breaking the habit. I had to see. It took a lot of adventuring to finally reach the opening but I am glad I did, it was a large entrance but as I walked, from the inside the cave got smaller and smaller and by the time I was on my hands and knees, I knew it was time to head back. I calming trekked back to civilisation, scaling a wall from the cave and ending the trail in what felt like somebody’s back garden. This area seemed to only have locals around and it felt like nobody’s listening to me as i wandered through. I did find the base town though and boarded my bus back to Trikala.
I can safely say that was a hiking session I will never forget, be it from the views or the fact that my whole body was numb.
That evening I tried to look for my next accommodation but failed miserably so I think I’m staying in Trikala another night.
As a little treat, I’ve actually hidden the song titles from Linkin Park’s album, Meteora in the above post, see if you can find them.
I spent my time in Trikala staying at Hostel Meteora. This is very small hostel but it offers a lot, there are two kitchens and two common rooms and the staff seem to be really friendly. The only concern at this hostel were some of the other guests, but that’s expected from hostel life.