Athens is always the first stop in Greece before heading to the gorgeous Greek islands. We headed inland by train instead, to Meteora, one of the most awe-inspiring spots you will ever see.
Our hotel was about 10 minutes outside of Kalambaka, the small town at the base of the mountains.
Each room has a view of the stunning rocks, but none as spectacular as the one from the restaurant and pool area, where lunch for two cost just 32 Euros.
We met, Costas, our driver at 6:30 pm. Costas didn’t speak any English but the hotel had explained what we wanted. From there, we communicated through the Google Translate app.
As Costas drove us up into the mountains, we had our first awe-inspiring views. The road curves around the side of the mountains.
At the first stop, a couple taking their wedding photos explained that they had gotten married Saturday morning, partied until Sunday night and were here today, Tuesday, for the photos. This is how it’s done in Greece, they explained.
We continued up the mountain and passed parked tour buses and cliffs filled with crowds of tourists, but Costas didn’t stop. He wanted a more solitary spot where we would be able to take spectacular photos.
We also realized that aside from being our driver, Costas was a great photographer who climbed boulders and backed up near precipices to get the best angle he could. Dan and I were nervous and told him the photos didn’t have to be this good.
We arrived back at the hotel at 8:45 pm after over two hours of touring. The parking meter showed just 35 Euros and we paid Costas 50. He was very uncomfortable taking the large tip.
With Dimitrius, we learned the stories behind the monasteries. The monks arrived in the 13th century and were able to climb these steep rocks with a series of ropes and pegs. Once on top, they retracted their “ladders” and relied on the help of the local people to bring them food.
It wasn’t until centuries later that the monks were able to build the amazing monasteries we see today. Today they have bridges and tramways to connect to the mountains.
We finished the tour in town. We told Dimitrius we would find our own way back to the hotel and said goodbye.
The tour was tiring, so we stopped for a dish of yogurt and fruit. Later, we found Costas and asked him to bring us back to our hotel. We also arranged for Costas to bring us to the train station early the next morning.
Costas’ Surprise For Us
When we brought our suitcases to the lobby the next morning, Costas was there waiting for us.
We spent the ride taking our last look at Meteora, knowing we would miss it. We arrived at the train station and Costas handed me a box of chalvas farsalon, a delicious local pastry he bought the night before at a bakery. He also didn’t want any money for the morning ride, but we insisted.
Whenever you leave a place, you bring a piece of it with you, in your mind, in your bones, in your soul. The places you visit and the people you meet along the way stay with you forever.
[ If you’d like to check out the hotel we stay at, you can click here: The hotel name is Meteora Hotel. ]
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