So that was about it about Athens. We started driving again. We arrived to Lake Plastira.
We stayed there because we wanted to see the Meteora the next day. Why I chose the hotel? In the surroundings there are a few hotels that look ranch like. I had to choose between Orizontes Tzoumerkon Hotel Resort ***** (we didn´t choose this, because it didn´t have a pool, although as it turns out, it wouldn´t have matter – read the review), Grand Forest Metsovo ***** (next time we´ll stay there) and the hotel we chose. Has anyone been to those other two? I would love to know what do you feel about them, is it for a snob?
About the Meteora now. I have never seen something like that before. I just loved it!
The Metéora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the north-western edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
What can I say, it just takes your breath away. Do you know how I found out about that place? Linkin Park, yes, the band, named one of their albums Meteora. That was from my rock days. One day I was curious, why Meteora, so I Googled it and I saw these amazing pictures of these amazing monasteries and rocks. I immediately thought that this is a place I think I only see in pictures, I couldn´t even think that I´m ever going to see this in real. This thought was in my mind, till I was putting together this year´s summer vacation. I entered the whole route to www.roadtrippers.com and in one point it showed me that in Greece there is Meteora. Instantly I remembered that once I dreamed about going to that place. I Googled it again and I saw that this is exactly the same place I dreamed of years ago. Immediately I made Meteora one of the main aims of the vacation. And I don´t regret it, never.
The moment you see the Meteora, you just will not believe it. You just cannot imagine, how on earth could someone create this place and how on earth did someone build all these monasteries there. I am so blessed to have been there. Monasteries are so beautiful. There is an entrance fee, but I don´t remember how much it was. Don´t hesitate, it is not high and it is definitely worth it! These monasteries are built in rocks that are ca 300 meters high. The one who founded two head monasteries called Gegano Meteoro and Magalo Meteoro is sacred monk Afaneseus, who came to Kalambaka from Athon Mountain in 1360.
The legend is that the Afanaseus lives this high that only an angel or an eagle could have taken Afaneseus there. In 30 years, Josif, the son of Serbia´s king, a student and a follower of Afaneseus, founded a monastery to that exact place where Afaneseus lived. In the 15-16 centuries, when the Turks conquered Tessalia, there were founded 30 new monasteries. In the monasteries there are lots of small and narrow cells but the dining rooms were common. Most of the monasteries were meant for men, but there were some monasteries meant for women.
After the WW I, when tourists started to be more interested in the monasteries, there was made a new road to the monasteries. Nowadays you can visit the monastery by the stairs that are cut to the rocks and in many places there is only a narrow bridge over the throttles. In the monasteries there are unique wall and ceiling paintings, icons and engravings.
In the monasteries there are souvenirs´ shops too, the shops are near the parking lot too, but keep in mind, you cannot buy the holy wine from those, you can only buy them from the monasteries. I didn´t get mine, because we thought that they sell them in parking lots too. They didn´t :(.
I definitely think that this is one of those places one should definitely see before they die. It is the most beautiful place that I´ve ever seen. And as traditionally, we lit some candles and asked for health, happiness and protection.