Telluride Inside… and Out in Greece: Holy Rockclimb!

Telluride Inside… and Out in Greece: Holy Rockclimb!

IMGP2223 (Editor's note: Susan & Clint arrived back in the US November 3 and will be home in Telluride later this week)

After two wonderful weeks on Crete, Telluride Inside… and Out was back on the Greek mainland. Our driver, Nikolas Vogiatzakis, picked us up at the Athens airport early Sunday morning and we headed north, bound for Meteora.

What you first need to know about Meteora is that the region once hosted about 20 monasteries, each perched on top of its own rock monolith. There are now six monasteries one can visit, and as we look at them from below, one question comes to mind: "How did they do it?"

IMGP2211 We saw rock climbers on some of the easier pitches just outside of town, roped up, don't know about the protection. Now imagine two14th-century monks looking up: "I think that will go!" Check out their feet- yep: leather sandals. Once they get to the top of these vertical towers the trick is to build a structure that will last for the next seven centuries.

We had it easy: Nikolas dropped us near the entrance of each monastery. Take a stone staircase down before crossing a chasm on a bridge, then a climb (again, a stone stairway) to the religious complex occupying every inch of the top of the stone tower. Not a great place for anyone with vertigo. Susan volunteered she would refuse a ride up in a net dangling from a hand-operated winch on the outside of a lifting tower, the easy way up for those visiting in the old days. Not for her she said.

IMGP2186 We climbed to four of the monasteries the day we arrived, which helped us digest our lunch of barbequed pork from the taverna at the approach to the rocks. The man who did the cooking is 88 years old. Nikolas saw him out jogging at 6 a.m., three dogs at his heels.

By noon Monday we had climbed to the top of the last two, seen more beautiful Byzantine religious art, had a history lesson on Greek battles and wars, and were on our way to Delphi. More on that later.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.