Day 02 is here.
Day 03 is here and here.
Day 04 is here and here.
Y'all, this is the last day of our Greece adventure!
We spent the night in Kalambaka, the closest town to Meteora, so we had only a short drive in the morning before we were faced with this spectacular vista:
Meteora refers to these rock pillars, but this spot was also where hermits of the Greek Orthodox faith would travel to, and where monasteries were then built on top of these formations:
You can see three separate monasteries in the photograph below:
Naturally, I want a rare photo of the four of us in front of this magical location. Usually, I don't ask strangers to take our photo, because most people can't figure out my DSLR camera; our tour guide, however, is an absolute champion and can work all cameras.
It's not her fault, then, that her beautiful photograph came out looking like this:
And another one of our little Riptide doing what she does best--leaning precariously over ledges and looking at abysses:
|Yes, the kids and I ARE going to have to comply with that dress code...|
--and Syd made some friends there:
|Yes, she wrapped up more meat from this morning's breakfast.|
But the Great Meteoron Monastery, the largest of all the monasteries of Meteora, is the one that we toured:
|People put prayer requests in little hidey holes around the shrines.|
|They put more prayer requests and cards, as well as money and jewelry, in the shrines themselves.|
|I thought that our tickets were so pretty!|
|Meteoron has museum displays of storage rooms illustrating how the monks used to live.|
|The monks did their own hunting and farming. They harvested grapes, which were eaten fresh, with the excess dried into raisins or fermented into wine. Excess wine was made into vinegar.|
We also visited Varlaan monastery, which has preserved the original windlass by which supplies--and monks who couldn't climb the rock faces and ladders--were taken to the monastery:
Matt and Syd were not fans of the long bridge that we now use to get to Varlaan, but I was!
|Matt may have been crouched down, clutching the guardrail in fear when he got this shot. Meteora was not his favorite day.|
Fun fact: the concept of the centaur was invented in Thessaly. They have these oddly short little horses, the Thessalians, there, and when riders were on them, the proportions sometimes looked like they had the body of a horse and the torso of a person.
The best thing that we saw, though, was the site of the Battle of Thermopylae! The kids and I studied this battle extensively as part of our larger study of the Greco-Persian War, and we even watched The 300 with Will one night when her sister was sleeping over at a friend's house.
Actually, I showed both children the opening scene from The 300, because its inciting incident is also mentioned in several other references. Also it's bad-ass:
The Spartans were for sure messed up, but I am a huge Leonidas fangirl.
|The engraving above me reads "ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ." It's translation is what Leonidas replied when Xerxes told him that he'd spare the lives of the Spartan soldiers, if they'd just lay down their weapons: "Come and take them." Ugh, I love him so much!|
So we were all thrilled to see the site of the battle--
|Yes, that's the place. The valley where we stood looking at it was underwater, part of the bay at this time, and that narrow pass under that sheer cliff above was the only place the Persians could get their army through.|
--and its memorial:
I even got...well, one of the kids to fangirl along with me:
By the time we got back to Athens, we had just a few hours, really, before we had to be at the airport for our flights home. Matt and I walked around the city for as long as we could before we simply had to go back and pack and get a couple of hours of sleep, and then began the sleep-deprived fog of misery that was our trip home. The lines. The family in front of us who had every single thing on the planet in their carry-ons, and also every single small child imaginable, and who took the longest time that it is possible to take fussing with all of their stuff to try to get it onto the security conveyor. And then forgetting stuff and bumping into me and the children to go back and get it. And then shoving back in front of us when they'd collected whatever it was. And every single person on Swiss Air who kept their seat backs reclined the ENTIRE TIME that they were on the plane. If you're a seatback recliner, stop it, because I don't know if it's how short I am or what, but every seat back reclines directly into my face. Like, directly. I promise you that I measured it, and there was six entire inches between my face, sitting straight up, and the reclined seat back in front of me. I watched five movies (Sing, which was good, The Space Between Us, which was bad, Rogue One, which I found many problems in that I hadn't seen the first time I watched it, Gifted, which was good, La La Land, which was so horrible that I couldn't finish, and Mohenjo Daro, also too horrible to finish, even though I LOOOVE Hrithik Roshan) and ate three meals with the seat in front of me six inches from my face. Then we had to stand in line forever at Customs, and then repack all of our luggage into our own unbearable plethora of carry-ons because checking luggage on US flights costs money. And then check in again, and then go through Security AGAIN. And a security person shouted at Matt, and shamed him in front of the entire long line of people behind us, because he didn't have all of our boarding tickets fanned out properly in his hand when he approached her, the monster. And this was also a Security where we had to have our tablets separated from our backpacks but not our books, which is what they wanted the last time. But the kids could keep their shoes on, which they couldn't the last time. And Matt got patted down for a change instead of me, but they naked scanned Syd for the first time. And everyone who ever walked in front of us walked slowly. And all the babies on all the planes were miserable. And I don't know how I wrote down the wrong shuttle stop for our long-term parking, but I did, but at least we passed another couple on our slog across the parking lot who'd also been on our shuttle and had also apparently written down the wrong stop.
But finally, FINALLY we were all back home, kicked back in our big bed, with the dog back from the dog sitter and a couple of pizzas liberated from our favorite restaurant, watching fireworks on TV. At least, that's what we were watching when I finally drifted off and didn't wake up, nor apparently so much as move a muscle, for the next 10 hours.