I left Delphi around 9:30am and set out for Meteora.
There's something sad about moving on from one place to the next. The show must go on, but I have a sinking feeling each time I leave a place that that's the last time I'll ever be there. Will I make a trip back? I don't know. There's so much of the world to see and if I were to go back, would it even be the same? Would what drew me to that place still exist? Or would I rather be filled with disappointment and nostalgia. There's also that fact that the more you relive a memory, the more you destroy its originality from your brain.
When I left Athens, right before I got on the train (forgive me if I'm repeating myself, I don't remember what I've said and what I've only thought), the last person I saw was the man at the hardware store who sold me the padlock for the hostel. It was early morning and he was already open for business. You don't see repeats of people when you're on a whirlwind vacation like this, so to see someone that was familiar meant a lot to me.
The drive took maybe three hours? I don't really recall. But it was a perfect drive. Coming out of the mountains, driving along what I would call prairie, it felt like driving in Colorado, just north of Denver with the foothills in the background. Except for the fact that there were mountains all around.
And have I mentioned the air? The air in the mountains is some of the sweetest air I've ever breathed. Aside from being far from pollution, there are flowering trees along the side of the road that infuse the air even as you drive through.
Arriving in Meteora was emotional. I actually even just got goosebumps thinking about it. I had goosebumps consistently for maybe 45 minutes. I cannot believe such a place exists. Dr. Suess was involved, surely.
I just kept pulling the car over to take pictures. And while I am not a religious person, this is a religious place. And I've never said, "Jesus," in succession so much in my life. There currently remain six monasteries, but I overheard someone say there used to be 22 or 26 or something to that affect. These monasteries were built in the 11th century, Greek Orthodox. Prior to that, for thousands and thousands of years (we're talking 5k to 50k years ago), people had been inhabiting caves in Meteora. People have just always been bonkers about it and it's clear to see why.
My favorite spot was a rock overlook (from where most of my pictures were taken). Depending on the time of day, it would either be packed with tourists and photographers, or it would be just me, left alone to contemplate life.
Checked into my hotel. Took a walk about the town to find food. And find food, I did.
Probably my favorite dish of the trip was, "Feta cheese on the grill." It arrived in aluminum foil. Just a slab of feta, olive oil, slice of tomato, sliced peppers and oregano. Greece serves bread with every meal (LOVE) and so I sat myself down, enjoyed some demi-sweet wine, cheese and let the goosebumps subside.
The grill for the restaurant was open as you pass by on the street. I kept walking by, back and forth, and saying hello to the grill master. He was a sweet man. Lived in Brooklyn for years and he gave me an apple.
I went back to my hotel and passed out. Late night, lots of driving and a stomach full of cheese will do that to you. I did set my alarm though to make sure I'd be up in time for sunset. The sun's been setting around 8:30pm here. I got up, drove back up the hill and found a rock. Not my rock, but a good enough rock. The light was golden.