The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog

Meteora, Greece

Meteora, Greece

Megalou Meteorou--Grand Monastary

Troy and Chris from Queensland, Australia

Troy and Chris' Car, Fifi

Sunday, July 17. Kastraki and Meteora, Greece. To maximize our time, upon arrival in Athens on Saturday, we immediately caught a bus to Kalambaka, the gateway town to Meteora, which is famous for its clifftop monasteries. Jeff inadvertently got us to the bus station for Kalamata, a town in the opposite direction that we wanted to go. Fortunately, the correct bus station was a 10 minute taxi ride away. We stayed in Kastraki, a smaller town 2 km from Kalamata and a better base for exploring Meteora. From our accommodations, we walked up the hill to the first monastery. The entry fee to all the monasteries is 2 Euro. To visit the monasteries, men are required to wear long pants and women must wear skirts and cover their shoulders. We met two Aussies, Troy and Chris, at the first monastery who stayed at the same pension. Seeing that it was a very hot day and the hills extremely steep, they invited us to join them in their car, Fifi (Aussies name their cars), to tour the other monasteries. We spent the afternoon visiting most of the monasteries open to the public, including the one used in the James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only. Each monastery had its own unique perch and commanding view of the valley below. Built in the 14th century, Megalou Meteorou is considered the grandest and highest (at 1,360 feet).

Troy and Chris planned to head back to Athens via the west coast and Delphi. As this coincided with Jeff and my plans, I asked Troy and Chris if we could hitch a ride to Delphi. They enthusiastically agreed and we all got into Fifi and drove toward Igoumenitsa, a major port to Italy and other Mediterranean countries. We found a little hamlet, Syvota, just south of Igoumenitsa and decided to spend the night here. As we had two weeks before we needed to be in Athens, Troy and Chris suggested we head north to visit Croatia. We seriously considered doing so, but eventually decided to spend our time in Greece.

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