Meteora: The Fingers of God

Meteora means “suspended in the air”. Walking the well worn steps of Greek Orthodox monks evoked a certain kind of peace among the surrounding beauty of the sandstone rock formations. It is as if the tall pillars were the fingers of God reaching out of the earth. We saw a few monks bustling on their way through daily chores or chatting with a tourist. How these buildings perched on the pinnacles of cliffs have withstood the decay of time is beyond my comprehension. On the map, several items on the key showed abandoned or disappeared monasteries dotting the hills. It was evidently a vibrant community at one time.

The monasteries are quite high up, ranging from 300-500+ meters up the mountain. Hannah and I elected to save 3 euro on the bus ride and walk down. I’ve had persistent back pain for about 2-3 weeks that made me initially reconsider. We’ve speculated that it is a result of old, worn, or thin mattresses. I was apprehensive to undertake the task, but I am so glad I did. During that 2 hour walk, I brooded on the mindset of those Greek Orthodox monks. Much of their ideology is that they must suffer because they are chosen to do so, to do penance for the sins of the world. While that wasn’t my mentality, it provided ample distraction as we snaked through miles of switchbacks. Those winding paths represented a familiar idea, that people throughout the world seek meaning from many different religions and ideologies, and come from all over to even pay homage to creations outside their own doctrine.

Kalabaka itself reminded me a bit of a Greek version of Breckenridge. It was a tourist town for Greeks, other Europeans, and anyone else in between. It was probably my favorite city in Greece. In Athens, many cars were 20+ years old, but in Kalabaka I saw one Ferrari and several BMW, Audi, etc. It had rich history, a quieter daily existence, and more nature. Travelers frequently recommend the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. I would enthusiastically impress upon you to consider the islands of solitude atop a mountain, as well.


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