Chapter 4 - DAY 14 - Ioannina to Athens

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September 20th 2011
Published: September 22nd 2011
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Meteora Sacred RocksMeteora Sacred RocksMeteora Sacred Rocks

A cluster of Monestaries sitting on the top of massive natural columns.

Today was mainly a travel day; the journey from Ioannina to Athens is around 450kms. Ioannina was the last of our one night stops on tour – YAA! So from now on the pace of the tour will slow significantly. In the immediate future we have a 2 night stop in Athens then a 3 night Greek Island Cruise followed by an overnight ferry to Italy to start the Italian leg of our trip.

On the way down though Greece we stopped at Meteora, a cluster of monastic settlements that perch on the top of massive natural sand stone rock pillars that tower above the town of Kalampaka and the plains below. The rocks are known as the Suspended rocks because they appear to be floating in the air. Originally the monks used to live in caves in the area until the monasteries were built in the 1300s.

We took the narrow winding road up the back of the rocks to the car parka and then walked over a bridge. To get to the monastery there was a steep climb of 150 steps or so. We were climbing up the outside of the monastery
Stairs with a viewStairs with a viewStairs with a view

On the path to the Monestary
wall for a while with a sheer drop of around 500 metres below. Not great when heights aren’t your thing-fortunately the path was quite wide and there was a tall and solid outside barrier.

Once inside the monastery the views of the other rock formations and the surrounding countryside were simply spectacular Inside the chapel the walls were completely painted out with religious scenes – they had to be seen to be believed. Being on the top of a massive natural pillar in a tiny chapel surrounded by colourful religious paintings and ornate furniture was a very special feeling.

From there we visited another hill top dwelling, this time a convent for Nuns, which had much newer and brighter paintings. The bridge from the ‘mainland’ across to the monastery was much longer and had less solid sides than the first one – not great! We then headed back to Kalampaka for a very nice traditional lunch; we had veal meatballs and Greek salad.

The whole experience was just amazing, another thing we weren’t really aware of before leaving New Zealand that has just blown us away.

Most of us had a good sleep on the trip
In the CloudsIn the CloudsIn the Clouds

Its a long way down!
from Kalampaka to Athens, although Jeanette did get the chance to try out a massage chair at one of the roadside stops. We got into Athens about seven, had a quick meal at a local Taverna and then collapsed into bed.


24th September 2011

What a view
Looks like a stunning place to be :) Great photos. So excited to hear more about your Greek adventure! I can\'t wait to visit Greece!
26th September 2011

Hi Melissa
Having a great time - just on overnight Ferry from Greece to Italy - Will post Greek Islands soon. They were amazing :)
7th March 2013

Greece Taxi
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11th March 2013

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