Visiting the Meteora Monasteries

Oct 8, 2022

We had a rest day in Kastraki and I was thinking of riding up to see the famous monasteries of Meteora. The view of the rock formations dominates from our campground and you can even see a couple of the monasteries. But in the morning I just didn’t feel like riding. So I got some breakfast from a bakery in town, then took the bus which conveniently stops at the campground entrance.

It goes up through town, then stops at each of the six monasteries. Knowing they would be crowded and determined not to try and “see it all”, I picked one, the best sounding one, The Monastery of Great Meteoron. It’s the oldest (14th century) and the biggest. So I got off the bus there. The view of it and all around was just great.

View down to Kastraki from The Monastery of Great Meteoron

I looked up and saw a giant line of people slowly climbing the many stairs. It was discouraging but it turned out that a lot of them were from one giant group. I hung out a little, then went up and only waited a couple of minutes to get in.

Lots of people climbing the stairs

It’s a large, super scenic complex. I spent over an hour there exploring the museums, looking at the view and seeing every room that was open. Best was the church – a relatively small chapel, but very ornate and peaceful. I was sitting just absorbing, when a small group came in led by a guy with a big black beard who may have been a monk. He spoke with a deep resonant voice, talking about something for a long time. Then they all broke into song, very nice acoustics in the room. Many people were disregarding the “No photos, no videos” signs that were all over, but I didn’t. After that little concert, I headed out. I walked down to the next-door Monastery of Varlaam. It looked pretty cool too, but I just climbed a rock near it for a view and didn’t go in.

The Monastery of Varlaam
The Monastery of Varlaam on the left and The Monastery of Great Meteoron on the right behind

I walked back up to the bus stop a few minutes before the bus was due and ran into Marc, Harry and Kevin. They had hiked up and Marc and Harry were just starting back down the trail to town. I joined them for a nice walk, somewhat steep to start, but shaded.

Looking back up from the trail down

Before noon we were back in town. I bought lunch at the bakery and went back to my tent to change into shorts (shorts not allowed inside the monasteries). I ate at the campground bar then went back down to our campsite to relax for a while in the afternoon.

Rock climbers on one of the formations above Kastraki

I walked up to town again for dinner with several riders. We ate small and restrained dinners which was nice.

Gorgeous view walking up to dinner
Night view walking “home”

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