I won’t bore you with the details of my next day. To summarise: early start, Santorini airport is chaotic, flight delayed, long train rides.
I was very tired when I arrived at my hostel in Kalabaka. It was about 7:40pm and I had been going since 7am. I bought my usual greek treat of a gyros then headed to bed to relax. My hostel room was very nice, with each bunk having its on curtain, plug, light, shelf, and mirror. The bathrooms were also very clean!
The next morning I was doing an organised tour of the monastries of Meteora which are built upon rocks high up in the sky. It picked me up at 9 in a fancy shuttle van and off we went. There were 9 of us on the tour in total plus our driver and our tour guide.
We stopped first at the Great Meteora monastry which is the largest of them all. It is closed on Tuesdays so we couldn’t go in but we were able to look at the outside of it and also the view of the area. Our driver even offered to take photos for us!
Then we went to our first monastry visit. There were heaps of tour groups here so it was crowded and hard to dodge in between all the herds. We were given an hour to explore there on our own. This monastry let you see the old pully system that was used when building the monastries to get supplies up the rocks. The monks must have been very brave to clamber up the cliffs to built these structures!
We did some more tiki-touring around, with our guide telling us more about the history of the monastries. One was even used for the final action scene in the James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only’! Game of Thrones were turned down to film with them though. There were various view points we stopped at along the way showing us different angles of the area and the true greatness of it all.
The next place we visited was a monastry that was now in fact a nunnery. It was the smallest of all the operating monastries in the area but housed 50 nuns. It was very pleasant and peaceful compared to the monastries that had been turned more into tourist attractions. Due to its size we didn’t need very long here and were then off to our next and final destination.
Our final monastries visit involved a 10 minute walk first straight uphill to get to it. This was the only monastry that let you see a monk’s actual bedroom. It was a very boring room, no One Direction posters on the walls. Like all the others, this monastry included a chapel and the visit also let us see the room in which the monks worship. The man at the ticket office was a little crazy though, accusing everyone of not buying tickets even though he had just sold them the tickets.
This monastry marked the end of our tour and we were dropped back in the centre of Kalabaka just after 1pm. I went out for lunch with two Canadian girls who were on my tour and ate a lot of traditional greek food. It was delicious!
I had a very early start the next day so decided to take it easy back at my hostel after stocking up on snack supplies at the supermarket. The next morning my train back to Athens departed at 5:40am so I needed to be up at 4:30.
Again, I won’t bore you with the details of my long train trips, but I arrived in Athens just before 11am. I was able to drop my bag at my hostel for the day as I had arrived so early. I only had one night in Athens due to the fact I had already been there on my last trip and there weren’t any attractions I felt the urge to do again.
I just wandered around the city centre for a few hours, admiring the ancient ruins from outside the fence and walking through the flea markets. Then I climbed up a hill I had done the previous trip that gives a great view over the city. It was a lot more crowded this time around due to the different season but it was sytill blowing a gale at the top. After snapping a picture up there to prove I had made it I actually ended up just sitting a little down the path where there wasn’t the intense winds.
I stopped by my favourite cafe in Athens for an iced mocha before heading to my hostel to check in. This was a very slow process and service wasn’t the best, it took an hour just to print my boarding pass! Eventually I got everything sorted and I was able to relax in my room.
The previous night I had discovered my Air BnB for Las Vegas had cancelled so I now needed to find new accommodation. I ended up cutting my stay there back and adding another destination to my US trip but it took a bit of work figuring it out. In my dorm room there was an Aussie who lived in New Zealand and was about to start a Topdeck so I had a very familar accent!
Then little me headed to sleep, ready for another early start. The next day I flew to Milan as it was the meeting spot for the Tubbs family. I had some great fun with the office assistant that managed my accommodation on behalf of the owner…she really needed some training.
For once I was actually staying the night in Milan so I figured I best do some sightseeing. I found the famous cathedral along with the shopping complex and also walked around a park where the castle with. I was still tired from all my early starts so didn’t push myself too much and that evening I continued planning my US trip.
Guess what happens the next day though!!