30 July – 1 August, 2011
This place is a major highlight in a trip full of highlights. You must be getting tired of my superlatives, but I saw some unforgettable sights today. Stunning surreal scenery. I’ll try to give you a heads-up before I unleash my pics. I first learned of the spot called Meteora (on the outskirts of the small town of Kalambaka where I am staying, which is about 25km from the provincial capital of Trikala in central Greece) in Melbourne, near the Huntingdale Railway Station. This station is where I catch a bus to visit my mother in nearby Mulgrave. Having some time to kill I wandered up the street and came upon a Greek club with membership mainly from this area. There were blown-up photos in the shop-front window that intrigued me. Imagine having a dozen rock monoliths like Uluru just over your back fence, many of them towering vertical pillars. That’s Kalambaka. That would be stunning enough, but that’s only half the story. There is a man-made aspect to go with the nature bit. In that way it reminds me of Matera in Italy. In the 11th c. monks started living in caves high up on the rocks, and in the 14th c. started building monasteries on top. Access was incredibly difficult of course. The highest one I visited, Megalo Meteoro, had to be accessed by a series of rope ladders and finally a basket pulled up by rope, until the 1920s.
I predict I am going to have some strange dreams tonight. That reminds me of a dream I had not long ago. I was an archaeologist excavating a previously undiscovered Roman mosaic. I was so excited. You just don’t get dreams like that in Australia. That one dream was worth the whole trip.
Here are the pics. Enjoy.