Published: May 16th 2009May 15th 2009
Unfortunately, it is true that the music was created by my singing. We all know how terrible that can be...
Anyway, I took my last exam of the semester on Monday morning (I think it went alright!) and only had a paper left to worry about. So I said 'you can wait' to the paper and scampered off to Meteora with Camille.
We left early on Tuesday morning, though the tickets I bought (which were supposed to be for Tuesday) were actually for Wednesday. They told us we would have to stand if there weren't enough seats and that we would just have to try and find a place to sit. We found a place- turns out it was in the first class cabins! We had a great ride there! it was very Harry Potter-esque with the compartments and everything.
Once we got to Meteora, we wandered for a little bit in search of our hotel. I managed to ask for directions and understand the gist of the response in Greek and then we found a city map, between that and my broken Greek we made it to the hotel fairly quickly. I just have to say, Meteora
is gorgeous. The rock formations are really interesting and the town we were staying in, Kalambaka, has a great view of some of the rock formations.
After freshening up a bit, Camille and I went for lunch at a taverna, which was delicious as usual. We took a nice long lunch and then decided to go for a walk to explore a little. At first we were going to walk up to two of the monasteries to visit, but it was too late in the day to be able to go in, so we decided to just wander the town a bit. After walking for a little while, we started down a path which turned into the foot path to the two monasteries and we decided to go on up after all.
Part way up the trail, there was a fork in the road with a giant rock indicating the footpath went in two directions. The direction we were already headed down was a nice, semi paved trail. The other direction was a bit overgrown and definitely a deviation from the first. So we took the overgrown trail of course!
It turns out we either went the
wrong way on the second trail at some point (it was NOT a very clear path) or the trail was a silly thing to take in the first place. In either case, we ended up pushing our way through bushes going just about straight up the side of the hill we were on. Luckily, we came up in a bit of a valley between two of the large rock formations, but it was still quite a walk to get to the top! We got some amazing views of most of the monasteries of Meteora along the way up and we saw a bit of wildlife, specifically two different kinds of turtles. When we got to the top we came out on the side of a road, which we followed back to the Monastery we were originally heading to so that we could take the paved road back down to town.
We stopped at the grocery store and put together a picnic for the next day at lunch and then continued on to find a place for dinner. We ended up eating at a restaurant of I am not sure what origin. It was called Salsa and most of the
food was pizza or pasta related. But it is also the only place in Greece where I have seen any sort of Mexican food on a menu. The pizza was good, and we had leftovers to add to our picnic!
On Wednesday, Camille and I got up early for a bit of breakfast before heading back up to visit monasteries. We opted to take the bus up this time and started with the biggest and most well known of the monasteries "Grand Meteora". As we were walking from the bus towards the monastery, I ran into one of my professors from Athens! That was a bit of a surprise, and incredibly entertaining when I saw that he appeared to be leading a tour.
Grand Meteora was beautiful. Though it is still a living monastery, there are museum elements to it and the views are remarkable.
After leaving Grand Meteora we decided to visit two other monasteries, well technically one of them was a convent. Unfortunately the convent was closed on Wednesday and the other monastery was too difficult for us to get to. So we climbed up the rock spire on which the convent sat until we
reached a nice, large rocky place to have our picnic. It was perfect! We had leftover pizza, apples, cheese and crackers and wine while overlooking five of the six main monasteries.
After lunch we went back to the monastery we walked to the day before and went inside of it. It was much smaller than Grand Meteora, but really neat to see! We then walked back down to town and this time we did not deviate from the indicated trail. On the way down we saw a huge snake chilling out in a tree! He must have been at least close to three feet long, definitely the largest snake I've ever seen in the wild. We finally made it back to town and all too soon went to catch our train back to Athens. Unfortunately we were unable to give ourselves an upgrade a second time...
The last few days in Athens were definitely bittersweet. It was so nice to finish all my work, but goodbyes are hard. The program threw us a farewell dinner, which was really nice. They made the dining hall look fairly fancy for the occasion and it was a great
way to say goodbye to a number of people. Afterward, some of my closest friends and I hung out for a while longer at my apartment before resigning ourselves to cleaning, packing, and finishing up the last of our work.
Yesterday, Camille and I went to Plaka one last time, which was nice. It is so weird to think about I wont be seeing these places again, possibly for quite a long time, especially since they have so quickly become home to me. In the evening we went out to a nice taverna in my neighborhood for an unpleasantly rushed dinner before Hilary and I left for the airport.
Now I am in Barcelona and I look forward to playing and exploring here and on Santorini before I come home. I can't believe I only have one more week abroad! Definitely still having mixed feelings about finishing...
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