Blogs headlights, Exploring Europe 2016
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Meteora stop-over

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The Meteora: These one-of-a-kind mountains rise from the middle of the Plain of Thessaly (in central Greece). They were formed by a northern river that slowly deposited sediment, sand, and rocks over a long period of time until the water receded to the sea, leaving these sandstone mountains behind.

© Bertrand ring

© Bertrand Lanneau

And the sight of these giant rocks is stunning. If you’re at the summit on a foggy day, you won’t be able to see the mountains’ base… they appear to float in the air, earning the name the monks gave them 500 years ago: Meteora. This site isn’t just a national park that’s been classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It’s also a place of worship for Orthodox Christians. Monks have taken refuge here since the 10th century. They first lived as hermits in caves they reached by climbing the rocks alone or using ropes and wood. Then they built their monasteries, stone upon stone. There are still around fifteen monasteries at the top of Meteora, but only six are still inhabited by monks or nuns.

© Bertrand ring

© Bertrand Lanneau

It’s hard to decide where to go and what to look at because there’s so much beauty all around. We suggest you contact VisitMeteora.travel. This company organises half-day hikes, sunset trips, rock climbing, and other activities. We decided to do the morning hike first (from 8:30 to 13:30). The small group size made it easier to connect and made the walk more enjoyable. We trailed along with our guide Vaggelis for 4 hours. He taught us a ton of things about Meteora’s geology, history, spirituality, wildlife, and plants.

© Bertrand ring

© Bertrand Lanneau

Our walk ended with a self-guided tour at Great Meteora Monastery, the most impressive of the monasteries. We spent an hour admiring the gilded chapel and the well-preserved manuscripts. The second day, we signed up for climbing! We had 100 m of rock to ascend with our guide Kostas. The Isidora route took us to the summit of Dupiani.

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© Bertrand ring

© Bertrand Lanneau

The panorama as we reached the top was fascinating. Kostas took us to sign the climbers log. He retrieved a small black notebook from a metal box attached to the rock, something each climber has to sign. We took one last look at the view before rappelling down.


[On the road, at the 39°43’17.0″N and 21°38’01.0″E]

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