We woke up early on Thursday to meet our group and I put on the long skirt I brought for this occasion. We were going to visit 2 of the 6 remaining monasteries (there used to be about 24!) and couldn’t have any knees or shoulders showing. This was the one part of our trip to Greece that Danny had specifically requested we do and we couldn’t wait!
We were in awe the entire drive up to the first monastery. The rock formations were incredible! We learned that the word Meteora literally means ‘middle of the sky’ or ‘suspended in the air’. We could see why they named it that! The rock faces just dropped of and had a smooth appearance to the sides. It’s amazing to think they built these monasteries on the sandstone pillars.
Our guide told us that a group of hermit monks were the first to inhabit Meteora. They lived in the fissures of the rock towers. The sheerness of the cliff wall kept visitors away, so they were allowed to live a life of solitude. We saw an example of this on our drive up.
Our bus pulled over so we could see the monasteries from afar. There was a point that you could see all 6. It was so crazy to see them perched on the sandstone formations. We were told that they used to hoist monks up the side of the rocks by ropes or rope ladders. They didn’t change the ropes until they broke! They used to say that it was up to fate if you made it to the monastery or not.
We reached our first monastery and entered the cathedral. The inside was covered in frescos of icons. They looked like they were painted recently and you could see unfinished sections. We were told by our guide that they were in the process of restoring it and that they had to do it in sections depending when the funds were available. It was so amazing to see! We couldn’t take photos inside, so you’ll just have to go there to see it yourself!
We hopped back on the bus and drove to the second location. On the way we stopped to take more photos from the rocky outlooks. I can’t really find the words to describe how breathtaking this place was, and the photos don’t really do it justice.
From the pullout, we walked to the next monastery. It was a nunnery and we spent most of our time in the cathedral (no photos allowed). The frescos in this cathedral were ancient!
On our drive down the mountain, we got the chance to see some ruins from old monasteries that didn’t stand the test of time.
We were heading straight back to Athens, so we got ready for a long drive back. Our tour guide told us we were all in for a treat, because we were going to experience a real home cooked Greek meal in a little bit. We stopped at a place called Restaurant Meteora. Our guide was not kidding! Everything was home cooked and it was absolutely amazing. I had meatballs, peas/carrots, and tomato potatoes. Seriously, the best meal we had in Greece.
After a few more hours, we arrived back in Athens. We rolled our suitcases back to our place (we were staying in the same place as Monday night). I was told by a friend that I had to find time to visit the poet sandal-maker, so I looked at the time and decided we could make the short walk to his shop.
The Poet Sandal-maker’s shop was so magical! It was tiny and there were soles of sandals everywhere. I bought a pair, but am regretting not getting more!
I wore my new sandals back home. They were so comfortable! We grabbed souvlaki on the way back and talked about how we were going to spend out last day in Greece. We still had so much to see in Athens! We excitedly planned out our Friday and spent the night on the balcony staring at the Acropolis.