Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Meteora, or, The only good thing about Linkin Park is the name of their second album

Yesterday, I made a slightly absurd day trip to Kalambaka, a very small town at the base of Meteora. Meteora is the name given to six active monasteries that are "suspended in air." They were built into stone rock pillars hundred of meters above the ground. To get there, I took a 7:30 AM bus out of Athens, and after a connection, got into the town around 1 PM. Long trip.

When I was taking my assigned seat on the bus, the guy sitting in the seat next to me started muttering something in Greek. I just ignored him, thinking he was unhappy because he couldn't spread out because of me. Five minutes after the bus started moving, he leaned over me and grabbed a plastic bag. He then said to me in English, "Sometimes I get sick on the bus." Unsure of what to do or say, I just nodded. For the next twenty minutes, he proceeded to continuously vomit in the bag. When he paused, I said, "Maybe I should move seats so you're more comfortable." He agreed and I ran away.

On the second leg of the journey, an old, nice Greek woman sat next to me and tried speaking to me the whole way. She was really intent on getting me to understand her. Since I know about 10 words total in Greek, and most of them are from the Coptic liturgy, the conversation went a little like this:

Her: lots of words in Greek
Me: (smiling and looking confused) Khristos Anesti! Alithos Anisti!
Her: (taken aback but nodding in approval; lots of words in Greek)
Me: Agios o theos, Agios Yesheros, Agios Athanatos O....
Her: (smiling and looking confused)

I finally made it to Meteora and started my hike up. There are roads there, but I wanted to get a feel for the place. I thought I was going to die. I am not a hiker. In between me wheezing and trying not to fall down the mountain, I took some pictures. The place was breath-taking:

One of the monasteries had an ossuary.

Before roads, monks came up by rope and basket. I may have faith in God but I don't know how much faith I have in being hoisted up by rope and basket, 500 meters above the ground.

I got to visit two of the six monasteries since I was walking between all of them and they had early closing times. No pictures were allowed inside, so you'll have to take my word when I say the insides of the churches were gorgeous. Every single part of the church was covered with icons painted on the walls. They looked stunning. I got lucky since churches were empty so I got to sit there and take it all in. Afterward, I walked back to town to catch a 5:30 train into Athens. Thankfully, it was uneventful. Five hours later, I was back after an exhausting but awesome day. I definitely want to come back here--but probably not by bus.

3 comments:

  1. my goodness doss.. you are like where is waldo

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  2. you forgot "kyrie eleison." wow, i never realized how much greek i know.

    ReplyDelete