Meteora, Greece Week 114 June 6th 2013
We are now well and truly ruined out.

But two more at least.

After a roadside camp we are headed towards Meteora.

Over hills and across valleys.

This part of eastern Greece the rivers flow sensibly to the sea, unlike the jumble of the Peloponese.

The plane of Thessali.

We think!

All arable.

Not an animal in site.

Kalambaka sits beneath some interesting erosion.
On top of which are some Byzantine Monasteries.

This is Agios Nikolas Anapafsas.

The rock is coarse sandstone conglomerate and has eroded in a similar way to the Olgas in Aus.

Not quite as monolithic, this area is on the edge of other mountains.

The lift at Agios Nikolas Anapafsas is modern.


Even the chandelier in the church is on the end of an electric winch.

These days there are also stairs.

Very Olga ish.

The horizontal wind and water erosion of the rock strata.

The vertical erosion of flowing water.

And better as we climbed the steps to the monastery.
And better.

Though sadly no photographs allowed of the frescoes inside the churches.

We need to do a bit of research but we think around 16th century.

We could look across at Varlaam Monastery.

There are six remaining monasteries.

Original dates are a little vague but after 800 years of Byzantine rule the Ottomans were pushing in during the 1400's.

More than 20 monasteries were closed by the occupying Turks in the 15th century.

Opened again in the 16th century they were expanded and decorated.

Later decline was halted in the 1960's.

And we could look up at Roussanou.

No photos allowed of the church frescoes.

And when we walked up to Roussanou we could look back to Agios Nikolas Anapafsas. 
And wonder who put the roof on.
The old door.
Then we drove up to Varlaam.

And look back at Roussanou.

And up to Metamorphosis.

Guess what they do for drains.

Our ration was three, at E3 each per monastery.

A word of warning. Some are closed on Wednesday, some on Friday.

We were lucky it was Thursday.

As well as a lift and steps Varlaam also had a cable car.

Either the door wasn't closed because it was empty, or it was empty because the door was open.

And before you think how clever the first monks were to climb to the top. They probably used ladders.

The steps were added in the 1920's.

Feeling homesick?
Not only no photos but women need skirts, men need trousers. Both need long sleeves.

Not too onerous, and they provide "wraps" for the women.

Just a tad hot climbing the steps in jeans and thermal top (being the only long sleeved thingo).

The inside of a barrel.

Just checking its empty.

Sadly it is.

I could almost have stood in it.

Iron bands must have commanded a premium.

An interesting series of wooden bands round the barrel.

Where have we seen chairs like that before.

Reminiscent of Ottoman furniture to us.

These items weren't representative of the furniture in the churches.

The original lift mechanism.

Replaced with wire rope and electric winch (just visible).

That cable car again.

Maybe the door doesn't close.

Something for the tourists to talk about.

Another view of Roussanou as we drove north.
And a glimpse of Kalambaka.

We are at the western edge of the Thessaly Plain.

With the Pindus Mountains in the background.

Vikos Gorge is less than a hundred km west.

Looking back, the eroded area is about centre.

Not at all Olga-ish from this angle.

Headed towards the tombs of the Macedonian Kings.

This lake is a bit peculiar to us. No boating, swimming, or wading.

I guess its what governments do when there's all that sea for water sports and the dam is for drinking.

The area around the lake seems to have several marble quarries.
After another heavy day at the monuments, and more than 200 km driving on very minor roads, we stopped with a view of the lake.

One more day of monuments then a rest. Hopefully beside the sea.

Some evidence of cattle, and we can hear hens on the far side of the lake, but we haven't seen any farm animals for the last few days.

Royal Tombs of Agai (Vergena), Kavala, Fanari, and Ptelea Lagoon, Greece Week 115 June 7th - 9th 2013

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