Mediterranean Odyssey 2019 travel blog

Impressive panoramas

Light lunch

A not to early start at 7 to be ready for breakfast at 8, and the tour at 9.

Breakfast was not as extensive , but was extremely good, with some more local touches including preserved figs, cherries, and quince. Also some yoghurt cheesecake. So we all decided on a good feed to keep us going for the 4 hr tour. Cereal, yoghurt, eggs, bougatsa, juice and coffee. C asked the owner how she stayed so slim. She said I am not slim, and I don’t eat any of this!! Her husband was very friendly and because J pretended to know Greek by tossing in the odd efharisto and parakalo, he kept talking to him in Greek. Anyway, we all got by. He was impressed we were so far from home.

The bus arrived at 9 and we headed off - C still with her Monastic attire ( covered shoulders, long skirt and a scarf). J was good to go with long pants and a Bob Dylan tee shirt. He was a bit deflated when a slightly wizened and overtanned woman said “nice tee shirt”. He was ignored by every other female, and C was pleased.

The guide (Vasilios) and driver (Kostas) were excellent.

We visited the original hermit cave location (a much easier walk/climb than yesterday) and as it was early, the air was cool and the views clear and crisp.

We spent the next 3 1/2 hours visiting the Great Meteoron Monastery (the biggest), then the monastery of Varlaam, and lastly the Rousanou Monastery ( with nuns).

The first 2 had waaaay to many steps and J has found that his right leg is somewhat we and unreliable for climbing due to his back problem. So, in the time available there was no way they would get up and back in the available time. Never mind, there was a convenient food van so they sat in the shade sipping ice cold frappes and taking in the spectacular surroundings. They think they got enough out of this part of the tour without the pain! The Varlaam monastery had less steps but instead we viewed to gardens and found plenty of photo opportunities.

A few more stops for views, then to the Rousanou monastery which was more accessible. Lots of steps down, but only 40 up so J and C got there. J was amused at the sight of a black robed nun standing g and monitoring the CCTV security images! Quite incongruous!

We also heard unpleasant stories about film producers - the James Bond producers requested permission to film a documentary about the monastic life and had 10 days with no monks present. And needless to say, they paid nothing! The producers of Game of Thrones didn’t ask at all, but just went with drones and filmed all they wanted. ( drones are prohibited as well as paragliders, hot air balloons, skydiving and the like).

The funny thing is that the popularity of the site is great as a result, and so they make a better income from the thousands of tourists.

J told vasilios that they had wanted to visit as far back as 1981, and asked what it was like then. He said that “ the people there would have looked at you as if you were aliens”!

Back to Kalampaka for a relaxing lunch of baguette, croissant, frappes, and ice cream. Easy to while away the hours watching the passing parade!

At the hotel, J as,Ed if he could borrow a basin to wash a few clothes in - “ we don’t wash clothes in the bathroom” - of course no laundry available here, or in the town. I guess all the tourists must smell!

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