They talk about a place where monasteries sit alone on huge boulders, where your breath is stolen by the landscape but you gasp the crisp, clean air provided by nature, where the non-religious fall to their knees searching for spiritual existence, where man-made constructions blend into nature’s harmony.
This was enough to spark the lively curiosity of Vera Frommelt and the impatience of me and Jack Cowles to photograph these landscapes.
We departed from Thessaloniki to reach Kalambaka, the small city at the feet of the rocks.
In the hostel El Greco, Dora, a funny hospitable lady, welcomed us. On the wall, there were pictures with timetables for the monasteries. Dora, maybe with the past of a tour guide, she showed us how to reach them and sent information flowing to us.
Comfortable shoes and eyes ready to embrace the beauty we take the bus from Kalambaka to reach the summit.
Reaching the summit we were left by the bus at the monastery of Grande Meteore before a short walk to enter into Varlaam. Upon entering Varlaam monastery, women were told to wear the provided skirts. The cloth was well worn and faded colours of whites, reds and greens were checked lightly on the fabrics.
Inside the monastery, there is an airy atmosphere of defused prayers and tones echoing throughout the walls of the darkened chambers.
You may enter Varlaam monastery from 09:00 – 16:00 paying just three euros but it is closed on Fridays.
From Varlaam we walked through the road bringing you to the other five monasteries. You should also dedicate some time to finding the caves that sit hidden along the path down toward Kalambaka and the surrounding area.
During your visit I am sure you would love to eat out the Greek way but be careful: most tavernas here are fairly priced but some places can change their prices when they see tourists.