Post the orientation of the monument, a few of us ambled into a discussion on orthodox christianity with the Maria, who gave us a deeper insight into the customs.
Meteora was over by 12:30, but somehow I wanted to explore more of it, more of the region, the monasteries, sink in the views, the place, interact with the monks, the natives, experience its original serenity without the tourists.
But Alas! We were huddled up once again to head back and like dejected kids we stepped into the bus. However, gracious enough was our guide though to halt at a corniche for a few minutes to soak in the views and clicks. We spotted some rock-climbers from here. Apparently the place is also a favourite with adventurists, given the sheer size of the rocks. BTW, did I miss mentioning that Meteora has had the iconic James Bond Movie ‘For your eyes only’ shot here. Maria showed us the the exact location from this point.
It was a quiet 15 minutes journey down to Kalambaka for Lunch. We stopped at a Restaurant called Meteora and were informed that its a family owned restaurant and prepared only 8 dishes per day. We could walk into their kitchen, smell the food, ogle at it and take our servings.
It was an experience of sorts and amongst the 3 of us a family, we tried 4 different dishes.
And no exaggeration here when I say it was the best meal that we had in our entire 12 days trip to Greece.
With so much of food down our bellies, a stroll across the village was a must, which was as touristy as it could get with plenty of souvenir shops vying for attention.
Our final journey back to Athens started around 2:30. And this time, I was really in the siesta mood but Maria still had many stories up her sleeves. Gosh! Greece is an abundance of mythologies!
Here, I particularly liked her summary and the differences she brought out between the two places. Delphi depicting the Ancient/Pagan culture of the country, which was inclusive in nature and encouraged networking across its cities for Sports, Music etc. It resonated with my previous day’s obeservation of the ubiquitous amphitheater found across the ancient sites.
Meteora on the other hand, epitomised the reclusiveness of orthodox christianity, perhaps developed due to the invasive times it went through.
As I think back, had we had the opportune of exploring these places on our own, we could have spent longer time at the site and not feel guided everywhere. But there were many advantages of the tour.
1. Anecdotes, stories, perspectives from a locale.
2. Meeting different nationalities and short friendship that developed there.
3. And of course, the convenience and the punctuality. We reached back Athens dot on time at 6:00 PM
To conclude, not many Indians particularly are aware or plan for the classical region of Greece. But this region is a hidden gem and if culture, history, views sound interesting, this region is a must in Greece’s itinerary.
After all. Greece is the cradle of classic civilisation.