Greece October 2015 (Kalambaka Monasteries)
The monasteries in Kalambaka are built in the most unlikely of places, atop of the very imposing rocks that stand behind the town. Their building was something but having travelled up to see them the real extent of the engineering that had gone into the building of them became a lot clearer. The views all around are absolutely breathtaking and the way some people get to and from the monasteries could literally have you holding your breath as open air cable cars pass over very high ravines, hanging in the balance as they ease slowly either to or from the monasteries. These are open to the general public as well!
Our trip up in the bus first stopped at a panoramic viewpoint en-route, which gave excellent views across the land below and in between the rocks we could see back down to Kalambaka. There’s absolutely no fencing to prevent people going wherever they wanted to on the rocks either so you can be as nesh or as adventurous as you like when scrambling about to get your photos. After the short stop we headed on to the Monastery of the Great Meteoron and very grand it was too; the monasteries look like tiny places when view from way down below or across the valley but the Great Meteoron was far from small.
We had plenty of time to explore the Great Meteoron, which had its fair share of steps to climb to even gain access, and from the upper parts of it excellent views across the valley allow for good views of the nearby Varlaam Monastery. The most fascinating thing for me inside the monastery was the chapel which seemed to have nothing but death paintings all over it, from wall to ceiling; everywhere! Most seemed to be scenes of torture and by the time I’d finished obsessing with the paintings I had definitely learnt some new lessons in how people were tortured back in the day!
After the Great Meteoron we headed downhill, the only way to actually go, to a small monastery call Rousanou Monastery; there wasn’t a great deal to see at this one but the views from it were worth turning up for and those from the adjacent hillside, right over the valley, were even better. What better way to finish off the day than to be looking out over a valley, with hills in the distance, in tranquil settings and with the day ending pretty much as it had started with the sun casting its rays through the gaps in the cloud as it struggled to keep the day alive…….
Photos of the Kalambaka Monasteries: