Stoic and jagged...

 

This geological phenomenon stands proud for over 60 million years. They pop abruptly from the flat Thessaly plain, surreal as an artificial prop.  Some say they’re like the Grand Canyon, while others say they’re like Mars, but they can only be known as Meteora: the monasteries that “float in the air.”

 

They’re a holy site, an old battleground, a monk’s haven, and a geologist’s dream. Rock climbers, artists, and quiet hermits simply linger here for the benefit of its peace.

I forgot, this could be the Grand Meteoro or the The Holy Monastery of Varlaam

Ready to explore! Kastraki village

 

 

 

 

But for us, these rocks bring everything to a halt… they are a sweet escape, for the rat race can wait.

 

 

 

 

 

Village man smoking grilled lamb or chicken for fresh Souvlaki

 

 

 

Kastraki village is unspoiled—here, time stopped long ago.  Its air emits a mixture of pine sap and smoked souvlaki. Pickup trucks cruise slowly through the town as the kids throw dice on the Tavli board while old women carry baskets full of rosemary. Kastraki, a village untouched by mass tourism, is the face of old-school Greece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we arrive to our first monastery, we soak in the morning light.  Everything stands still.  The structure looks like a scene straight out of a J.R.R Tolkien story.  A fiery red shrub entangles the stairwell as we ascend. We pay a 2 Euro fee, put on a provided skirt and enter Saint Athanasius’s creation, the Grand Meteoro (standing since 1370). Taking a few steps up, I ponder the towering drop to the valley below. The tower, a feature since 1520, spews out a net once used to hoist up supplies, food, and even monks.

Morning light on first Monastary, Grand Meteoro

 

We stumble inside a musty dark kitchen, where old remnants of copper spoons, bowls, and cups hang. The museum harbors a collection of old Byzantine manuscripts, golden iconography, and romanticized battle scenes of the Greek Independence and World War II.

I step outside gazing over a balcony and gulp in the thin air. The light unsheathes semi-circular shapes and gnarled crevices on these sandstone giants. Though I am alone, the isolation fades as I soak in the energy.

Kastraki village below in the great Thessaly plain

Meteora fosters a subjective divine—religious, spiritual, or atheist, the sight itself will give you chills.

GO.

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