Saturday, December 8, 2018

Meteora, Greece

We arrived Meteora in the dark.  But the iconic single pinnacle was clearly identifiable among other rocks
:We checked in the hotel with our windows facing the rocks.
Quickly we went to dinner with syrtaki dancers entertained us in lovely customs.

The following morning, one can see the rocks in brighter light:
Meteora is a UNESCO site known for its unique geology and the famous monasteries built dated back to the 14th century.  Meteora actually means "suspended in the air".  These monasteries perched atop pinnacles that rise 1000 ft from the valley floor.  These monasteries served as Christian redoubts while the Ottoman Turks rules Greece.

We drove around and saw all five monasteries in a distance.  Then we visited two of them where the bus can get close to.

Get close to visit the inside:


We then took a little hike to walk from the monastery to a nearby town (Kalambaka?):
 The rope hanging from the top is for monks to transport people and goods up and down.

 Some beautiful flowers:
 The eggs laid on the leaf:
 The ruin of an once upon a time a monastery:
 A legend of San Giorgio:  Each year, people will hike up on the cliff and hang a new scarf to replace the one from last year.  The wife of an Otterman officer prayed to San Gorgio to save her injured husband, in return, she offered her scarf to San Gorgio.  Her husband was saved.  One would ask "Is it not the term of "Tama" means a life for a life?  How would a scarf equal to a life?  No, the scarf meant that she gave up her religion!!  Hence the tradition of to tie the scarf on the cliff every year.

At the town center, we had a wonderful lunch of lamb chop and lamb stew.  Jill, Carolle, Amy and I shared the dishes.  Bonnie skipped lunch:

 Our dinner was memorable as I really enjoyed the music played with Bouzouki! Our chef not only cooked us a nice meal, he and his family entertained us with music and singing.  Our driver Tassos played accordion.
The restaurant's name means "dawn"

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Metsovo, on the Beaten Path from Meteora to Zagoria

It was mountainous driving on narrow and winding road all right.  Tassoso dis a good job to keep us all safe.  Metsovo is a small village nestled in the Pindus Mountains.  We stopped here to enjoy a cooking lesson on meat and cheese pies, which is a regional specialty.   The town is so small,one can finish walking the whole town in 15 minutes.

The town center:

 They are known with the stone mansions.

The tavern we will have our cooking lesson and lunch:

I marked the pie I made with "KAI":

Looks like an egg roll!  But it was a meat and cheese pie all right.

This is such a hard to get to place.  I seriously doubt that I would ever be back here again.  But this has been a sweet memory.

The Silversmith Workshop in Loannina

Loannina is a regional capital situated on the western shores of Lake Pamvotis.  This city was founded by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD.  We passed by this city on our way from Meteora to Zagoria. During the Byzantine time, this city was often referred to as the "Metropolis of knowledge".  We visited a silversmith workshop and met George (the artist), and his assistant Anna.  I found the visit delightful.  George went through the steps to hand make a sunflower pendant.

George's signature logo:
The design:
The finished product:
The raw material:

To cut the shapes of the pedals:
To curve the pedals:
To smooth out the rough edges of the pedals, at least for 6 hours:
To wash the pedals to be free of fines:
To connect the two pieces of pedals together:
The hand paint the inner pedal:
To be on the neck of a customer:
I found George and Anna quite genuine and kind, and I loved the sunflower pendant on my neck.

Unfortunately we did not have any time to explore the city at all.  I could only take a few pictures of the beautiful lake:  And we know that the city has a wall with gate and everything.  But no time........