So, with the bare minimum of scheduling (i.e. our plan for the year was ‘start in the north and head south for winter’), our arrival in Greece was timed perfectly. We were able to spend 2 weeks in Kefalonia, explore some of mainland Greece and arrive in Athens with time to spare before our flight home for Christmas. I must say we felt quite smug 🙂
Unfortunately the weather was not fitting in with our travel plans and despite our best efforts to avoid the cold, we awoke to frost on our first morning in Meteora and when the temperature dropped again that night I was haunted by the thought of my lovely cosy Jack Wolfskin jacket stuck in a storage unit in Dunstable.
Luckily for Craig the days were sunny and fairly warm (I get grumpy when I’m cold), so our sightseeing was not adversely affected, nor did we have to hunt down the nearest North Face stockist for a warm coat. The only unexpected addition to my wardrobe was a snazzy wrap around skirt which I had to wear over my jeans in the monastery we visited.
Meteora (meaning ‘suspended in the air’) refers to the sandstone rock pinnacles in the area. Monks built their monasteries at the top of these pinnacles in the 14th century and of the original 24, 6 still remain and 4 still house religious communities. Perched high up in the sky, the buildings are incredible, both inside and out.
We stopped off in Delphi which after the acropolis is the most popular archaeological site in Greece and also (according to Zeus and his eagles*) the centre of the world. I’m quite a fan of Greek mythology and having never been to Greece before I was rather excited to see ancient ruins for the first time. I’m glad to say that these are very impressive (as were the homemade cakes we found on the way home….).
After a decent dose of culture and cake (and a close call with some unfriendly mountain dogs that Craig ran into whilst cycling), we left Delphi and made our way over to the island of Kefalonia / Cephalonia or formerly Kefallinia or Kephallenia….!). More on that to follow.
*According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world.