Double WOW!

NOVEMBER 7, 2022 : Today was the day that I had been waiting for – visiting Meteora! It did not disappoint. Meteora is a double WOW. First, it is an area of great natural beauty. Huge, tall stone boulders overlooking the valley. This alone would make it an attraction. But in addition, on top of six of these large boulders, are working monasteries built in the middle-ages. Mind boggling to think how they managed to build such big buildings so high up, literally dangling off the edge of a high cliff. In the past, there had been over 20 monasteries here. Today only six remain. Five of the six were open today for visitors.

Knowing it would be a long day, we were out the door by 9:00. We decided to first drive by the Trikala synagogue. Maybe on a weekday, it would be open. We had trouble reaching the synagogue because the whole center of town was closed for the weekly market. It was huge, full of people shopping. We parked and made our way to the synagogue. Still all closed. No luck. We continued on to the market – the nicest fruits and vegetables ever. We stocked up and continued toward Meteora – only a ½ hour drive away.

I had seen on Google maps, that there is a Meteora viewpoint on the mountain opposite and thought that would be a good place to start. Google navigated us on a spectacular small road, that turned into a gravel track, full of holes filled with yesterday’s rain. Not too bad. We were getting the idea that this viewpoint is not on the main tourist track. When Google said to turn down a dirt road, we gave up. After yesterday’s rain, there was mud and the possibility of getting stuck there did not seem like a good idea.

We continued on to our first monastery. Each monastery has a car park, and from there, it is usually up and down many steps to the top. Not easy going, but among the people going there, some were much older and some were much heavier. If they can make it, so can I. 300 steps later we reached the top.

At the entrance to the monastery, they will not admit women wearing pants. They keep there a box of scarves to wrap yourself in. We paid admission and went in and wandered about the buildings. The highlight was the courtyard, with the overlook to the valley.

And so the day continued – driving from one monastery to the next, going up and down many steps to reach the top, and then being wowed by the view. We managed to visit four out of the five open monasteries, the fifth had already closed for the day by the time we got there. Mark’s watch, that keeps track of such things, indicated that we had climbed 29 flights of stairs by the end of the day.

I will let the photos speak for themselves.

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  1. It figures that the one monastery that was closed was the one without stairs! What’s the reason for building the monasteries so high up and hard to reach?