Once we crossed Thessaloniki, we reached the ruins of Dion city. We enjoyed a break with an espresso-fredo and a tzatziki before to discover the ruins. The Macedonian city was dedicated to Zeus. It was located at the bottom of the Olympus Mount, the highest summit of Greece at 2918 metres. This mythical mount was hidden by the clouds that day. We were able to see only its profile during a few seconds.
The archeological stones were a bit sprinkled on the ground. During our visit, it was hard to get a picture of this amazing period of this small city. Temples, hotel of sacrifices and both theatres have lost their beauty. However, a few metres further, we enjoyed beautiful mosaics, public baths and a small odeon.
The Isis temple was a bit further offering a peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere. Nowadays, there is water at the bottom of its column. Each space between the blocks of marble was filled up with greenery.
10 kilometres further, we did a stop for the evening at Litochoro. We arrived at the end of the afternoon and, after taking possession of the rent house, we walked in the steep streets. Kids were playing soccer in the courtyard of the school. In the town centre, we crossed the main square decorated with a nice fountain. Next to this square, there was the little church of Saint Nicolas with a separated bell tower.
The next morning was dedicated to a hiking session to reach the Zeus baths, on the first heights of the sacred mountain. We reached the extremity of the city and took a path on a little kilometre going to the Enipea canyon, shaped by the river of the same name. Thus, we entered in the domain of gods, the secret garden of the Greek mythology. At the extremity of the canyon, after crossing bridges along the cliff, we reached small water ponds with a beautiful emerald green colour. It was the natural bathroom of Zeus. However, bathing was forbidden. The water flowing like waterfalls was dedicated to the inhabitants consumption.
After this step, we were back on the road. We rode along the Penejos river crossing the surrounding mountains up to Larissa. We got around this city to continue our itinerary towards Kolambaka, the city symbolising the entry gate of the Meteora region. Finally, we found a place to rent for a few days in the little village of Agiafyllo.
After a lie-on, we walked up in this peaceful village in the mountains.
Once our batteries recharged, we headed to the monasteries after riding a steep road on the cliffs.
There were already many buses of tourists but it didn’t disturb the breathtaking scenery in front of us. The 6 monasteries were divided on less than 5 km2 on top of rocks, with balconies for some of them.
We visited the oldest monastery, named Megalo Meteoro. To enter, we climbed up a few stairs and we needed to wear a long skirt hiding our legs. We discovered the different rooms of the monastery and got the picture of this tough daily life that monks knew and still know for some of them. By curiosity, we opened the door of the old cellar. We saw huge cooking pots and utensils in the ancient kitchen. The chapel was beautiful with walls decorated by painting frames of saints and bible stories. Gold was used a lot: on the icons, woodworks and candle sticks. It was raining during our visit, which gave a specific atmosphere to this mystical place. The feeling was a bit unbearable, probably the same feeling that the monks had during the rainy days.
The monastery of Saint Etienne was the second one we visited. Its specificity was to welcome nuns. It was overlooking the nice view of the Kalambaka city.
The day ended on the summit of one of the cliffs with a drink on a terrace overlooking the Meteora, in the little village of Vlachava. For diner, we enjoyed our first Moussaka in Kalambaka.
The following day, after a lunch to finish the leftovers, we left Marie’s family to continue our trip towards North and the Albanian border.
First, we reached the Ioannina city where we noticed a good wild camping spot, in a park on the heights of the city. But the firemen there, due to the storm planned in the evening, dissuaded us. Finally, a few kilometre further, we found a place to camp in the O Lofos inn, in the village of Voutsaras. The owner, a nice German woman, authorised us to pitch up the tent in her garden. She prepared a nice diner on her terrace, which didn’t have any other customers at this moment. But, around 9pm, all the locals arrived to seat around the available tables. Finally, the terrace was full. Our host was juggling with cooking and serving, going back and forth from the kitchen to the terrace.
A last festive evening, before to reach the Albanian border and start a new step of our world trip!
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES
|Where to stop for a break ?
Ice cream shop “Ephessou”
On the main square, this handmade ice-cream maker has many surprising tastes. Taste the sesame and apricot ice cream for example.
|Where to eat ?
A very good restaurant with Greek specialities. Enjoyed the fried courgettes, feta in the oven, sagagnaki and moussaka. Plus, enjoyed its terrace located in the town centre of Kalampaka.