|Greece, Delphi & Meteora, 2011
|After a few days in Athens we rented a car and drove to Delphi.
We had booked a room in "Ariadne", a guesthouse in Arachova, a small town near Delphi.
A room with a view..:-) And with our own fireplace, it can be cold in the evening. In the winter Arachova is a ski resort.
The next day we visited the archeological site. Delphi was dedicated to the god Apollo and it was here that the city states of ancient Greece consulted the Oracle of Delphi, when they were planning a war or another major event. The Via Sacra (Holy Road) leads to the temple, passing numerous "Treasuries", where the city states kept their offerings to Apollo. There is a theatre which could hold many thousands of spectators, and a stadium where the Delphi games were held, similar to the better known Olympia games.
Of course all is in ruins now, only the Treasury of Athens has been reconstructed, and a few of the temple columns have been erected again. Still, the whole atmosphere is very evocative. Many tourists of course.
We continued our trip to Kastraki, where we had found, via the Internet, another beautiful guesthouse. Again with our own balcony. And a bottle of wine as a welcome gift. Kastraki is a small village at the foot of the famous monasteries of Meteora.
Meteora is so amazingly beautiful, words can not describe it.
The (Greek Orthodox) monasteries were built in the (14th -17th) centuries, perched high on sandstone cliffs. There were twenty of them, six still remain.
In the past access was very difficult, either via ladders, or by large nets, which were hauled up with goods and people in it.
Now you only have to be fit enough to climb numerous steps.
We visited five of the six monasteries;
Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas. Very small, our favourite
Holy Monastery of St Stephen. Inhabited by nuns
Holy Monastery of Rousanou. Also inhabited by nuns. Beautiful location.
Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron. The oldest and largest monastery. Too touristy, a bit disappointing
Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity. Built on an isolated sandstone pillar. To reach it, you have to climb many steps down, then many steps up.
Unfortunately, Varlaam was closed during our visit.