Chuck Hillig's Travel Blog

Well, I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6-7 months so I thought that I'd better re-activate my travel blog. The last time I posted anything here was way back in 2006 when I was traveling through SE Asia. Feel free to read my entries back then about my earlier adventures through India,Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong. This time (at least for the next six weeks), I'll be traveling through Greece and Turkey.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Off to Meteora...

About 50 miles directly north of Delphi is the memorial to the famous battle of Thermopyles where, in 480 BC, 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians fought the million-man Persian army of Xerxes.  On the way down from Delphi, however, we first passed the intersection where King Oedipus met...and accidentally killed...his own father in an act of prideful arrogance.  Sophocles immortalised it all in his play Oedipus Rex.  The ride over to Meteora was long and mountainous, but we finally smoothed out and entered a wide and flat plain that stretched on for many miles.  Finally we arrived in Kalabaka, checked into one of the hotels for the night and crashed early.  In the morning, we drove into the nearby mountainous area where the 24 monasteries had been built hundreds of years ago and where they still perched precariously on the edge of these rocky cliffs.   In the old days, the only way in or out of most of these monasteries was by a basket lowered by a long rope attached to a pulley.   There are about six that are still occupied by monks and several of those are only for the nuns.   We visited two of these amazing places that are open to the public.  Lots of colorful religious icons, detailed paintings on the walls and ceiling depicting the deaths of the martyrs and the resplendent glories of the saints .....and all under the watchful eyes of a serious-looking Jesus painted on the dome forty feet overhead.  There were also small rooms full of bleached skulls and bones.... all stacked up like firewood ....that had been owned by the earlier residents of the monasteries.    After spending the morning trudging up and down these ancient staircases and taking lots of pictures, we finally headed south back to Athens.  More later....

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