922- Saturday 9th December 2017: Metsovo and Fancy Bumping Into You Again!
Ah yes – Metsovo – at the second attempt….. Narrowing roads approaching the town – instinct to park before the actual town – but a local shopkeeper said there was ample parking in the town centre? Ok, I gentled Jez down the hill along narrower streets – “Castelbellissimo”feelings – lots of people giving us directions…. cobbled street section – my stomach was in my underpants… into town centre and no hope of parking! K spotted while I reversed – and only way out was back up the same way – now my underpants were in my stomach (does that work?). Going well – and a massive coach appeared in our way – oh dear – underpants being waved out the window in surrender! But the coach reversed and I gunned Jez (at 3 mph) back to the original ‘instinctive’ parking. Underpants retrieved and safely back on my head (Blackadder?). The cunning plan was to have lunch in Jez and brave the throngs of folk downtown – it is Saturday….
Far too busy for us and touristy – cold walk – no coffee possibility as the restaurant were only interested in mega lunch bucks – and legged/Jezzed it out of Metsovo!
Meteora (hilltop monasteries) was in our sights next – an hour away – chosen campsite was closed for repairs but another one within minutes…. On arrival, we met Chloe and Chris (previously met in Dubrovnik) – settled in and – drinkies pre-prandial in our van. Then – fantastic meal in local restaurant – coffee and nightcap….
Metsovo: weathly town under Ottoman rule as they kept the mountain pass open. Known for wood carving and textiles … tourist prices, so we passed!
A loose young puppy … God knows how big it’ll grow … played.
Our first view of the odd hills in Meteora.
Always a good omen when a rainbow is over our destination.
Another DRY?! night with Chloe and Chris! My veal liver was AMAZING. But portions are silly … we all took away doggy bags.
We had been listening to Christmas Carols, so I was finally moved to get “Christmas in a Box’ out of the garage!
923- Sunday 10th December 2017: Aura in Met-eora
No ‘overhangs’ this am – we wouldn’t like to ‘hangover’ these cliffs towering above us….. fond ‘adieu’ to Chris and Chloe. They’re heading to Sicilia for the festive season…..
More ‘feckin’ bike problems – punctures….. As K says “F**k a***e b*m t*t” – we need a shyke bop, soon. Our host promptly offered to bring me tomorrow to his friend in the local bipesock – on his motorbike…. These people are amazing! But our bike ride to the monasteries became a walk up and down. No text will out-describe the photos – I know we use the ‘amazing’ word a lot – so we should! Over to our par excellence K-ographer!
Oscar has lots of doggy friends on site – one in season? Ginger BrummieGreek puppies?
As Mateora is a major Greek highlight, here’s loads of information around about Meteora and the monasteries so I will not cover it in detail … in essence … natural sandstone towers were first used as a religious retreat by Barnabas in AD925, then from the 1300s monks started building monasteries – the first being Megalou Meteorou by St Anthanasios … who flew up to the pinnacle on the back of an eagle. We mere mortals walked! There were 24 monasteries / hermitages, but all but 6 are now ruins. It is thought that the locals were expert in rock climbing, but once the first man was up, they hauled everything else they needed up. In the 1920’s stairs were cut into the rock to make them accessible. Coaches passed the campsite in a slow but steady stream all day … it must be very unpleasant in the summer.
For us, the scenery and feat of building the monasteries that we found so amazing (had to get one amazing in there!)
Oscar … you’re ambitious!
Part of Megalou Meteorou, the largest and oldest, which had a number of museums, a kitchen, beautifully frescoed church and an ossuary.
924 – Monday 11th December: Jobs in Met-eora
Monday morning came and at the appointed hour of 10:00 am, I brought the offending bike wheel and spare inner tube to our host for him to kindly take on via motorbike to his friend’s shop in town. “No, he said” to me “you’re coming with me”. Now the last time I was on a motorbike was 50 years ago! I got astride his Honda Cub – one hand clutching the wheel – and the other grasping his jacket – no crash helmet – and off we went at medium speed through the wiggly streets….. No need to slow at ‘Stop’ signs (he knows the roads – I comforted myself). I was definitely back in Sicilia! Was I wearing the same underpants as yesterday in Metsovo? (I do change them regularly once a month, I think…) Digression here – 100 years ago, I worked with a Chartered Accountant – who once proudly told me “I have a bath regularly – every Saturday night whether I need one or not – with my wife!”. For those Chartered Accountants reading this (1?) – I’m quite sure the profession has excellent ‘lavaggio’ practices – always subject to audit, of course…and in strict accordance with the FSA (Freshly Showered Abluthority)…
Back on script – we arrived in no time at friend’s shop – who promptly diagnosed a wrong sized tyre (this is a brand new e-bike of stout German manufacture!) and immediately fitted a different size and new inner tube – all in 15 minutes and for only Euro15. Our host has brought us water and coffee every morning too. These people are amazing – we absolutely love Greece – roll on the next few months!!!
Relaxing jobs day – laundry, engine checks and van cleaning and self cleaning – we do it every 5/6 days – and we’re accounting to ‘SAF’ (ShowerAnyFriday) Standards…..
We’ll be really sorry to leave this ‘kooky’ site, the folks here and Meteora.