Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Wed 29 Jun 2016. To Meteora

Wed 29 Jun 2016. To Meteora
Did a load of washing and spread on bars inside for our drive over the mountains to UNESCO listed Meteora today. Around Ozzie, people clearing sites of pine cones, needles and branches. Filled water, emptied toilet cassette, showered and breakfasted on new Greek muesli and yogurt - both too sweet. Chores complete, checked out, caretaker saying take mountain road to Meteora, too many expensive tolls on highway (5 @€6 each for our size) before Larissa. Fuelled up (BoyRob suspected the owner had doctored meter when it filled up mighty fast, and didn't show much difference on gauge 100€ later??) Goats on road, sleepy "guard" dog lying alongside them.

Climb steep, gained altitude quickly, ears popping early, almost 20kms uphill before plateauing out. Fortunately not in Turkey’s heat else Ozzie may have requested a stop partway up! Only 23⁰-24⁰ up here. Untrimmed trees crowding road, branches scratching truck, one tree growing up through bitumen. Beehives, logging, occasional irrigated and planted fields in valleys; a pretty mountain drive. Rocks and gravel fallen on road. 

Unbelievably magnificent scenery unfolded as we approached Meteora, domed monoliths towering above valleys below. Stopped at high lookout to soak in the vistas, before beginning descent. Many intakes of breath as we rounded bends to find temples and monasteries perched precariously, sheer drops falling away below their walls.

Competition for the best pinnacle...

Drove up to the Grand Meteora Monastery but it is so extensive (and crowded!) we will come up early tomorrow to see it properly.

Drove slowly down mountain stopping at every possible viewpoint and climbing out to edge to take in all the breathtaking pinnacles and shapes. Still over 30⁰ this late in arvo. We definitely will not be visiting all six active monasteries!  

Invaders on this path would have been faced with sheer walls

As the reader can see by the number of photos included in this blog post, we were so awestruck by these geological and man-made formations, it was difficult to tear ourselves away. Eventually we reluctantly left the heart-stopping vistas and drove down into the town of Kalambaka for groceries and to book into a campground, choosing Vrachos with its pool and internet. 

Had meatballs in Aribica sauce and pasta, very tasty. Glowing colours on rocks towering above park as sun began to set. Jumped into pool, it was so deliciously cool the cleaner had to send us out like naughty kids staying out too late!

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