THE MOUTAINOUS MONASTERIES OF METEORA

February 2023.

More holiday snaps from northern Greece, but at least I don’t invite you over to Sheffield to see them as a slide show with sherry and Stilton like in the ’70s.

We started our day trip (3 hours each way) to the famous mountain monasteries of Meteora at Thessaloniki Station, which is clearly modelled on the Stockton to Darlington railway. Sadly, no banked Bass in Macedonia (unless you know bettter).

Mrs RM was a bit annoyed with the itinerary I’d booked (3 nights in Thessaloniki, 3 in Athens), as we could have made the day trip to the Meteora by stopping a night in Palaiofarsalos, where you change from the main line to visit the mountains.

But not only can I not say Palaiofarsalos, it’s also the dullest place on earth, with the bar the preserve of retired espresso drinkers.

The landlady was most resistant to selling us TWO bottles of beer when we popped in on the way back, assuming we’d be sharing a half litre between us. Anyone who know Mrs RM knows not to assume she shares her beer.

The art in the railway underpass is clearly modelled on Pythagoras, who I believe invented the triangle made famous by Bass a few years later.

Meteora is accessed from Kalabaka, a smart town reminiscent of Matlock Bath without the bikers. We were asked to stock up with food, as the monasteries themselves don’t yet sell Bao buns and beer. Spinach pie for us.

Loads of options for touring the monasteries, which are only 10 minutes out of town. We visited three, including the nunnery, and I will tell you now I wouldn’t want to climb the 300 odd steps to the steepest in the height of summer.

But it is a wonderful experience, and if we didn’t have perfect weather for the photos then I can live with that.

Each monastery is home to a few monks and a chap taking your 3 euros and telling Mrs RM off for taking photos, like they do in Sam Smiths.

You’ll wonder how they managed to build on the top of those cliffs, and hear stories of a chap dragging stones by hand for 20 years from the village, but the views are even more inspiring than the monasteries themselves.

If you’ve been to Cappadocia you’ll see some resemblance.

They’re not overrun with tourists, yet, possibly because the loos are of the squat variety.

Here’s the biggest wine barrel in the world, presumably even bigger than a Holt hogshead.

And here’s a painting of legendary Greek GBG tickers St Duncan, St Malt and St BRAPA with the brewery section of the Guide torn out.

Mrs RM had to put a skirt round her jeans to enter. Notice that they have a definitive view on the difference between men and women here.

Some of these backdrops are familiar from “For Your Eyes Only” and “Game of Thrones“, apparently, though our Greek guide had pleasingly watched neither of those.

A wonderful afternoon, though we felt a bit “all monasteried out” by 4pm,

and were pleased to get an hour for tea in the market square before the train home, turning down the horse ride.

Great views from the main square, and mini kebabs for a couple of euros.

Daringly, I nipped in the supermarket for a train beer, one of those Nymfi ones with a paper label, which Mrs RM decanted into her portable mug in case drinking on trains in Greece is illegal.

It really isn’t.

19 thoughts on “THE MOUTAINOUS MONASTERIES OF METEORA

    1. There would have been a celebratory son et lumière event at The Raven, but’s it’s not so easy to illuminate it.

      Like

      1. I now see that it’s only black on the one end. Oof.

        Whatever, moving on to the Blind Monkey, I genuinely love the “elegant wines and Prosecco” notice outside, and which reminds me of the “ten musicians and a drummer” line.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Fjerritslev has one pub. It doesn’t open in the day and only opens three nights a week. When I was there, there was a beer festival! The bar was a thing like an ice cream van with two beers on and the whole thing closed down at about half eight. The only place you could get a beer in the day was the pizza and kebab house. I was there one lunchtime and got talking to a Danish girl who was really excited that Smokie (yes, as in Living Nextdoor To Alice) were going to be playing in a couple of days. Apparently they’re big in Denmark. This was in 2015. Don’t go to Fjerritslev.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I can’t imagine “Matlock Bath without the bikers”.
    And I’ve not seen dress restrictions like that since Frank Carey had the Crossbow in Stafford from 1965 to 1984.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The interesting thing about the requirement for all women to wear a makeshift skirt if wearing jeans or trousers was that NO-ONE of any age a skirt; everyone wears jeans now. Some American visitors were unable to enter the nunnery because all the skirts at the entrance were being used.

      Like

      1. This reminds me of a place in central Bristol called the County Sports Club. I wasn’t a member but it was easy to get signed in. Trouble was, you had to wear a tie. So you rocked up, quite neatly dressed, smartish trousers, ironed shirt and they made you put on a filthy tie from behind the bar, stained with beer, egg and God knows what that made you look like Sir Les Patterson.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In total honesty, Paul, you have my favourite dress sense of anyone I’ve ever met.

        I didn’t like ties. What are they actually for ? To stop ketchup getting on your shirt ? It’s 10 years since I had to wear a black tie for a formal awards event, hated it.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s