Sofia, Bulgaria to Kalambaka, Greece


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July 12th 2017
Published: July 19th 2017
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Sofia, Bulgaria to Kalambaka, Greece


July 12 Wednesday



Early departure so up at 5 am. I had to wash my hair this morning because it was all whacked out. This hotels version of the hairdryer reminds me of just a tube blowing air at the end. Most of the hotels have regular hairdryer. However, you have to hold the button constantly to keep it going. Typical breakfast: runny eggs, lots of cheeses and deli meat, fruits, and assorted breads. We left the hotel at 7:15 am and headed for the Bulgarian-Greece border. This time I get the whole back row to myself (or so I thought). We rotate every two seats in a clockwise fashion. This is the 2nd time around. I had to skip the back row of 5 seats during the first rotation. So now I can go from the left window to the right window to take pictures.





Heading south towards the border we saw lots of sunflower fields. The terrain became more hilly as we skirted around the forested mountains.





Greece is a country in southeastern Europe with thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. Influential in ancient times, it's often called the cradle of Western civilization. Athens, its capital, retains landmarks including the 5th-century B.C. Acropolis citadel with the Parthenon temple. Greece is also known for its beaches, from the black sands of Santorini to the party resorts of Mykonos.



We made it through the border crossing with no trouble and it took only 30 minutes. We didn't make a food stop until noon in the outskirts of the Greek town of Korinos. Mostly large heavily breaded deli sandwiches and pastries. I opted for a vary large creme horn. It was delicious. We left 45 minutes later. We went through some very long tunnels. Scott pointed out Mount Olympus. I would have had more pictures but some members of the group kept coming back to the back row to take pictures on the left side which in turn required me to take pictures standing up. A little annoying.





We the got to see the Mediterranean Sea before heading inland. I noticed along the roadside every once in a while a miniature house or shrine. Checked Wikipedia: Kandilakia are a small wayside shrine usually in the shape of a small Greek Orthodox Church. They are used in Greece to commemorate those who have died in a tragic accident, or by those who have survived a potentially fatal accident. It is also used as a public prayer corner, especially in Greek cities



Kalabaka is a town and a municipality in the Trikala regional unit, part of Thessaly in Greece. The population was 21,991 at the 2011 census, of which 8,330 in the town proper. The Meteora monasteries are located in the town.





The Metéora, literally "middle of the sky", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above" is a formation of immense monolithic pillars and hills-like huge rounded boulders which dominate the local area. It is also associated with one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodoxmonasteries in Greece, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural conglomerate pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece.





We are arrived at the Amalia hotel about 3:15. It's a very spread out hotel. It's not very up-to-date but it is serviceable. The room was a little warm so I am glad I had my fan. The building itself is set like a large rectangle with three floors and an inner garden courtyard in the middle. There is a dining room for breakfast and dinner but it's downstairs. It is almost 100° outside so surprisingly this large building is cool. One could describe the hotel as not quite modern but not quite rustic. The interesting bit is that you should not flush the toilet paper but place it in a little trash can next to the toilet. There is a large swimming pool but it is only open from 8 to 8. We are either away from the hotel or eating dinner at those times. Maybe I'll be able to try on my new swimsuit on the cruise.





We headed out to our visit to the Meteora monasteries. It was a slow steady climb up the hill on winding roads were very steep on both sides. We arrived at the largest one and they require that man not wear shorts that are higher than your knees and we must take their hats off. However, for women they must skirts or dresses and not bare their shoulders. I did have a black shawl that was given to me by one of my students at the end of the school year this year. So I brought that along to wrap around my waist. I was wearing a tank top tight blouse with a wide straps so I thought I would be fine. I wasn't. I had to wear a Gauze type vest that just was about an inch wider than my tank top. Needless to say for those people like me, we were not very fashionable walking around. I always thought the concept of dressing up for church was kind of funny since God only sees what our hearts are like And not who is our fashion stylist. After the visit to the first monastery we end up going to two others but we couldn't go inside because they were closed for the day. I am impressed with the ingenuity and the perseverance of those men in the past who created these monasteries. But I was not impressed with the artwork inside of the first monastery. The view from the top of these mountains were spectacular. And of course there were the gift shops at each location. We headed back through the little town at the bottom of the monasteries and a ride back to the hotel and hour before it was time to go eat dinner. The buffet was delicious. I tried a lot of new Greek dishes tonight. Love the spinach pie so much that I had two helpings. They served soup as the starter course and I end up having two helpings of that too. I ended up sitting with Cameron and Charne and Howard and Ann. Before getting back to the hotel we were told by Scott to make sure we wear closed shoes for our tour of Delphi. During our conversation at dinner time I was told that another member of our Group only brought sandals. So I went over to ask Dana what size shoes she wears. She wears and eight but has some bunions. I wear an 8 1/2 and I got a wide size. I offered her my new shoes just for the trip to Delphi and I'll wear my old tennis shoes. Then she can go back to wearing her sandals. She's going to try them out tonight and wear them part of the day tomorrow before we get there to see how they feel. I was going to do some more blogging but I am tired from all this heat have to be up early tomorrow so we can get to Delphi. Scott was told that government officials are closing all historical attractions at 1 o'clock if the temperature reaches 100° tomorrow. We are supposed to get at Delphi at 1 o'clock. So we are leaving an extra hour early to get there before they decide to close the site.


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