Meteora Journals

For Your Eyes Only - the monasteries of the Meteora

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A September 2006 trip to Meteora by actonsteve

Monoliths near Rousseau convent Photo, Meteora, Greece More Photos
Quote: Dangling precariously on pinnacles and cliffs are a set of medieval monasteries - an otherworldly place where spirituality and scenery combine into a world wonder

For Your Eyes Only - the monasteries of the Meteora

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Overview

James Bonds monastery Photo, Meteora, Greece
Quote:
Floating above the clouds like something out of a fantasy genre are the monasteries of the Meteora - one of the great sights of Europe. Built as hermetic retreats during medieval times they cling to the summits of titanic monoliths inducing vertigo in all but the strongest of travellers. There, reached once by nets and ladders, they house chapels, breweries, gardens, cloisters, meditation cells and sweeping views over an astonishing mountain range. But there was something utterly Greek about them – the medieval stone walls contrasting with the sheer rock, the bearded monks themselves and the frescoes and icons. The Meteora is another world of spirituality with just that touch of bleakness ...Read More

Hotel Orfeas

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Hotel | "Hotel Orfea - in the Shadow of the Monoliths"

Hotel Orfeas Photo, Kalambaka, Greece
Quote:
Wherever you are in Kalambaka you will have a view of the Meteora. The monoliths loom hundreds of feet above the town. But there is something special about waking up in the morning, stepping out onto the balcony, and see the sun light them up with the dawn.Hotel Orfea was a very impressive four star hotel. It came part of the package I had with CHAT tours which did an overnight trip from Athens for £100. It is one of Kalambakas better hotels and is only a few steps from the main street. Not to mention, as it faces north, fabulous views of the mountains. But if you have been hiking around the monasteries all day or have arrived tired from other parts of Greece it is a pleasant place to lay your...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 1, 2007

Hotel Orfeas
58 Pindoy St.
Kalambaka 422 00
+30 2432077444

Rousseau convent Photo, Meteora, Greece
Quote:
The Monasteries of the Meteora came to the worlds attention in 1981 when they were shown on the big screen in For Your Eyes Only. The ancient monasteries perched high above the Thessalian plain became the perfect Bond villain hideout. The scenery and setting were used to good effect. Filming was only marred by Roger Moore taking lots of Valium to cope with the the precarious heights and the monks hanging out their washing to disrupt the filming. Athens had cleared the filming, but they had forgot to check with the monks first.It was this film (my favourite of the series, by the way) which drew me to the Meteora. If I was going to come to Greece, then the startling rocks overlooking ...Read More
View from Varlaam monastery Photo, Meteora, Greece
Quote:
In medieval times there was only one way of reaching Varlaam monastery - winch and net.A visitor could be hauled up in a rope net - half an hour of giddy twirling with the only sound being the rope slipping through the capstan. What thoughts accompanied these early visitors as they ascended? How strong is the rope? What if it broke? The terrified visitor must have been sweating profusely; imagining the drop hundreds of feet to the rocks below.Nowadays there is a rope footbridge from a cleft sticking out of the Pindos mountains. Most of the monasteries have precarious and genuinely dangerous ways of access. Varlaam was first settled by hermits in 1350 and they were shown the way...Read More
The monastery at its bleakest Photo, Meteora, Greece
Quote:
Viewing the monasteries can be terrifying...At one point I was perched on a rounded rock overlooking the massive valley of the Meteora. The surface was smooth and shiny and the footing was precarious. Genuinely worrying was the other twenty people on this rock all trying to negotiate the tiny space and line up their cameras. Not a place for non-grip footwear. One slip and it was a quick drop into infinity.But the view was one of the best I have ever seen. In front of us was a plinth of grey rock standing 2,000 ft high. A sense of scale was achieved with the Roussanou monastery at its base perched on its own rock. The medieval roofs of the monastery didn't even reach a fortieth ...Read More
The view from Delphi village Photo, Delphi, Greece
Quote:
The ancient Greeks called Delphi "the navel of the world"...High in the mountains of central Greece, forty miles from Athens, lies the ruins of one of the most mysterious places in the ancient world.Delphi was where you communicated with a 'divine presence'. The presence showed itself through the presence of a rock chasm where strange vapours rose. And anyone who inhaled them entered a trance and muttered strange prophecies for those who chose to hear them. A priestess used to sit in a seat above the chasm known as "the pythoness". She was consulted by king and emperor alike, wars were declared and kingdoms sacked on the advice of the oracle of Delphi.Kings and Emperors may hav...Read More