Welcome Guest | Login or Register

Greece – Day 6

Here we are at Day 6! Today, our journey takes us to Meteora and the magnificent monasteries perched high upon precarious clifftops. Today provides some of the most scenic and awe-inspiring views of the entire trip. Come along and see what we discover!

Before heading to Meteora, we stopped in a factory where we could see how icons were made. 90% of the Greek population is a member of the Greek Orthodox church. Part of the tradition of the Greek Orthodox church involves praying to icons. We visited a factory that makes these icons on wooden panels with traditional style paints and gold leaf. The images here show the “factory” and the various parts of the icon-creation process. I found it quite ironic that the factory was nestled between two car-repair places. Someone said divinity is in the details. Perhaps they meant divinity is in-between the detailing.
Next we drove to Meteora which is host to magnificent and unique rock structures. They poke out of the ground like giant porous swiss-cheese stalagmites. Before exploring the magnificent rock formations and the monasteries perched atop them, we stopped in at a local taverna for lunch. I once again took the opportunity to enjoy a lovely plate of Greek moussaka.
Here is a picture of our tour guide, Constantina. She met us immediately after lunch and dictated our bus ride up the mountains. She was very enthusiastic, but also quite partial to the Greek Orthodox religion which made me question some of the “facts” she conveyed to us about the monastery. She gave us a guided tour of the highest monastery in the area as well as a lower (and much less impressive) convent.

The bus drive up to the top of the rocky cliffs of Meteora was breathtaking. It is one of those things that you have to bear personal witness to in order to truly appreciate it. I’ll do my best to confer the majesty of it all, but in a hyphenated word, let me say it was jaw-dropping. Here is a panoramic view of the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, stitched together with multiple shots from my camera. It serves to illustrate the grandeur of the locale.

The first image is of the Meteora rock formations as seen from the Taverna where we had lunch. Upon arriving at the monastery, all women who were not wearing skirts were required to don “complimentary” skirts in order to meet the strict dress code. Since my mom NEVER wears a skirt, I reveled in an opportunity to snap a picture of her in one. The third picture is of me standing on one of the many balconies of the Great Meteoron Monastery overlooking a lower monastery perched upon a similarly perilous cliff top.

Sadly, pictures are forbidden inside the church of the monastery. It was quite fascinating as it was nearly perfectly preserved from its 16th century origins. The entire inside of the church is painted in bright colors depicting the life and death of Christ. Greek Orthodox churches are quite different in that they are generally standing-room only and the altar is hidden behind a curtain which only ordained Orthodox priests may pass through. Even nuns cannot see the altar. They must have a priest come to their convents in order to perform religious ceremonies.

Next we rode down the mountain a ways to a nearby convent. The locale and views were ALMOST as stunning as that of the previous monastery, but I couldn’t help but feel a slight pang of disappointment. Sure, the convent was perched upon one of the many steep and perilous cliffs, but it just wasn’t as impressive as the Great Meteoron. I spent most of the time here writing in my journal about how great the last stop was.
After visiting the breathtaking sites of Meteora, we rode back to the Hotel outside Meteora village. It was another nice Amalia hotel (same company as the Delphi hotel), but this one had a very New Mexico (IMHO) style decorated interior which was quite strange to see in Greece. For dinner we rode into town and ate at a local Taverna. I was weary of the place from the moment we stepped in and wasn’t comforted any further by looking at the menu. The hosts were very scruffy looking and the menu was very sparse. I sallied forth and sampled the grilled chicken. I was underwhelmed. So far, this was the lowest culinary point on the trip. Hopefully, future Taverna stops will be more gastronomically satisfying.

That’s all for Day 6! I hope you enjoyed the magnificent views of Meteora. Tune in tomorrow when we drive to the island of Corfu off of the western coast of Greece. See you then!

One Response to “Greece – Day 6”

  1. on 13 Nov 2008 at 9:50 am Kristi Wellman

    The views look breathtaking! Tell your mom that she looks great in a skirt and should wear them more often!

Trackback this Post | Feed on comments to this Post

Leave a Reply