Monday, June 18, 2012

last stop- meteora!

by now we are all in full recognition of the fact that our trip is coming to an end- how will we manage without Evgenia telling us what time to get up- eat breakfast- get on the bus- be back for the bus- eat dinner and give us the thousands upon thousands of facts she knows about her (and ow our) beloved Greece? 

we were so lucky to have had our itinerary culminate in Meteora- a spectacular array of mountain top monasteries that thrill even in photos.  even the easiest is hundreds of steps up and down the mountain/cliff face that they each were miracles of engineering. 

so along the way there we stopped at an icon workshop and that is where the photos started in this group:

the painting in the lobby of our local family-owned hotel:

the view from the hotel balcony:

drilling in to the details of the photo you can see the monasteries:

daytime view from the balcony and then one from the evening as the moon rose:

a gash in the cliff face where scarves are taken up by rock climbers for those who are making prayers once a year- the prayers (scarves) are sent out to spirit like prayer flags in Tibet/Bhutan etc...

a spirit house in the entrance to St. Nikolas Monastery:

the rules- LOL - on how to dress:

St Nikolas from a distance:

Great Meteora monastery:

Roussanou Nunnery:

Varlaam Monastery:

Great Meteora from the entrance to Varlaam:

Roussanou from Varlaam:

Holy Trinity (the James Bond monastery) - this view shows the valley floor below:

another view showing the sheer cliff it stands upon.....

at the Roussanou nunnery- the steps to the chapel

the nuns residence and gardens:


and here's a secret the column to the left side of the cliff face houses an elevator for the nuns (much older women of course) to get up to the chapel... LOL

St Nikolas from Roussanou:

Great Meteora from Roussanou:

a new buddy down at the bottom of the steps- he wasn't hiking all the way up there! LOL

another moon rise on the last night - taken from the balcony of the hotel:

and so - early the next morning we got up and took the five hour trip to Athens where there was time only to see the museum of the Acropolis and to go to a farewell dinner with - surprise- the other group from the boat who are off tomorrow for their extension to the Peloponnese.

our 4 AM departure for the airport came around all too quickly but not before we had one last chance to hug Evgenia - our extraordinary guide!

now- a few weeks at home and then mid August - on to Bolivia!

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