Day 19: Greece (Meteora)
It got pretty late before we could reach our hotel in Meteora, last few hours were spent on the zig-zag mountain roads. If you guys remember, this is something i like but Aarti no so much! So, i had to drive slower than usual and to top it all, we got lost as well. Aarti called up the hotel lady but that did not help much. GPS was also pointing to nowhere, we continued downhill (listened to common sense) and in few minutes we were at our destination.
We stayed at:
Guesthouse Papastathis (Read Review of Guesthouse Papastathis)
It was nice clean hotel, and the host was nice as well. In addition to us, there were quite few other guests as well. I guess it was a busy period! We were tired but had a little catch to do with work before we could call it a day. Internet in the room was not strong enough, so we had to sit at the reception area to finish our work.
As you guys already know Meteora is a UNESCO site, there is another interesting fact about this place:
Towards the end of James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”, Bond is sent to Meteora, Greece to retrieve a stolen “ATAC” system that could be misused for controlling British military submarines. There the fiendish villain Kristatos hangs out in his unreachable lair, holding a young girl, a hopeful Olympic ice skater, who is being sequestered by her coach and an evil sponsor, who has a small computer device that controls the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet’s missiles. The lair is actually the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, known in the movie as the Monastery of Saint Cyril, the most isolated of all the monasteries. It is also perhaps the one with the most striking location, set on a huge standalone pinnacle, with an incredible view of the valley and city of Kalambaka below.
For the Meteora shoots, a Greek bishop was paid to allow filming in the monasteries, but the uninformed Eastern Orthodox monks were mostly critical of production rolling in their installations. After a trial in the Greek Supreme Court, it was decided that the monks’ only property were the interiors – the exteriors and surrounding landscapes were from the local government. In protest, the monks remained shut inside the monasteries during the shooting, and tried to sabotage production as much as possible, hanging their washing out of their windows and covering the principal monastery with plastic bunting and flags to spoil the shots, and placing oil drums to prevent the film crew from landing helicopters. The production team solved the problem with back lighting, matte paintings, and building both a similar scenographic monastery on a nearby unoccupied rock, and a monastery set in Pinewood.
We woke up to an amazing view of Meteora and beautiful town of Kalambaka. It was a bright, sunny day and this is what we wished for 🙂
Lady of the hotel had an amazing breakfast ready, Aarti really relished it. There was still some work pending so before we could start exploring Meteora, we absorbed some Vitamin D while trying to finish the pending work.
We finished our work, packed the bags, stuffed them in the RR and put our tourist caps on 🙂
Of all the monesteries in Meteora we decided to visit St. Nicholas Anapausas Monastery. After parking the RR on the road, it was a small trek up the hill. You can hear Aarti huffing and puffing on the way up, but the view from the top was good enough to charge her back up.
Meteora was on our wish list and we are so glad we had this covered in our trip.
Once we were done with the monestery, it was time to enjoy some local cuisine. There are lots of local restaurants in the area and food is really nice and delicious.
It was already past lunch time and our next stop Thessaloniki was 3 hours away. Before we could get out of Meteora, the astounding beauty of the place made us stop quite a times and we made the most of these moments.
We were back on the road, the sun was on its way down and the roads were getting lonlier. Road in Greece are pretty good, they might not be wide enough but the tarmac is plain and smooth.
By the time we reached our hotel in Thessaloniki, it was close to midnight. We parked our RR, took out all the stuff that we would need for the morning flight to Santorini and checked in.