Thursday, September 9, 2004

Meteora Monasteries

Meteora is a region of inexplicable sheer rock formations that rise straight up more than 1000 feet. As if it weren't enough to see such magnificent natural phenomenon, some 12th century monks decided to build a series of monasteries on the tops of these rocks, which visitors can tour - and we did. The buildings look as if they are growing straight out of the rock - as if God himself placed them there, like he thought the cliffs needed a little icing on top or something.

The monasteries range from little more than small, simple temples with even smaller living quarters, to a giant compound that we spent 2 hours walking through (accompanied by about 2000 of our closest tourist friends). All of the little Byzantine-style one-room churches are spectacularly painted with frescoes depicting various scenes from the bible (some of which would be rated R for graphic violence if they were movies - those monks apparently didn't want to forget what some Christian martyrs were put through).

Luckily for our exhausted legs, there is a road that leads right to the front steps of most of the monasteries, but at times we thought one of us might have to get out and push our tiny rental car to coax it up the hill - we had to feed the hamster inside the a little extra to get it up those steep roads.

Eric enjoyed a nice siesta back at the hotel in the afternoon, while Jazmine gallivanted with the resident kittens ("Awwww...they're so cute!"). Our host recommended his favorite restaurant for dinner in the larger town (Kalambaka) down the road, where we enjoyed dinner and met up with a British couple we had seen several times on the cliff-side monasteries. We stayed at the taverna chatting with them until midnight, laughing at each others' accents and sharing travel stories.

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