A Travellerspoint blog

Athens / Dubai / Melbourne - Day 32

sunny 17 °C
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Well, that brings to an end our ‘Pitchers on Tour, Europe 2018’ trip - what an amazing time we have had. Lucky that our host gave us access to our apartment in Athens till 2pm. Did our last wander around the streets, last coffee, last ice cream and last souva :(

Purchased a board & spice grinder made from olive trees - a momento we will use at home.

We will catch a train to the airport for our flight to Dubai departing at 6.05pm, about a 3hr stop over and then due to arrive in Melboune Friday night at 11.20pm.

Thanks for following our travels and see you all soon xxx

Posted by pitchersontour 02:37 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Athens - Day 31

sunny 22 °C
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With nothing formally planned and our last full day in Athens, had a nice sleep in and didn’t hit the streets till around 11am.

Decided to head towards Mount Lyccabetous, the highest point in Athens and take the funicular up to the top and walk down. It is 277m above sea level and on top there are spectacular views, a Greek church & some restaurants - enjoyed a coffee at the top. Walked down winding pathways, some paved and some Ian took us off the beaten track & headed back to near our apartment for lunch (another souva :) ).

Spent a few hours wandering through the flea markets, didn’t buy anything but Ian may go back to get a cheese board made from olive trees.

Our bike tour guide earlier in the week, had told us how to get to Panathenaic Stadium via back streets & parks and advised it was a great position for watching the sunset. It was about 2km from where we are, so headed off (more stairs), thought we might have missed some turn, but eventually found the back entrance. Ian ended up standing on a platform that had no flooring, just metal struts - I stayed sitting on the top steps - he was happy he got some good pics. Casually (rather than racing like on the way there) we walked back to our apartment via a different route & headed out for dinner.

Posted by pitchersontour 10:02 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Athens (Acropolis) - Day 30

rain 21 °C
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After not getting to bed till 1am due to wifi issues we had a bit of a slow start to the day.

Decided to visit the Acropolis Museum - they have put together an amazing array of artefacts & pieces of ruins, also reconstructing some of the items. The third level has 17 x 8 columns installed to mimic the actual ‘Parthenon’ and inserted some ruins / reconstructed pieces into the giant structure. Given it was on overcast day with rain forecast, the museum was packed with quite a queue to enter - they did however moved people through fairly quickly.

From here we wandered over to the Acropolis - what an impressive site. They are undertaking quite a bit of reconstuctive work, I am sure this will be ongoing for many years. The way they have, and are continuing to put pieces together, is so time consuming and amazing. We spent quite a bit of time walking around, decided to leave once the rain started to get a bit heavier. The marble paths were pretty slippery to walk on, so I wanted to leave before they got too wet - saw one guy fall on them. I took a bit of a tumble yesterday, so a bit apprehensive today.

Our umbrella’s got their 2nd use of our trip, so after the Acropolis we walked back to our apartment. Ian, being the good husband, went off to the laundromat (no machine in this apartment). Finished the day with a lovely Greek meal where Ian tried some of their Tsipouro (an alternative to ouzo).

Posted by pitchersontour 12:54 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Meteora, Kalambaka - Day 29

rain 14 °C
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Second day in paradise, even though it was going to be overcast with rain. Had breakfast at our accommodation and collected by tour guide just prior to 9am - had another 4hr tour booked for today.

Very mystic today, with a mist that was surreal - you could see it moving. One moment you could see something and the next it was gone - got some good shots but also made it difficult for other ones.

Had some of the same people (& some new ones) on the tour from yesterday and the same tour guide - so we did a little doubling up from yesterday with some of the places we went to get some photo’s. However today we also spent time in 3 monasteries - lots of stairs & climbing:

1). Holy Monastery of the Great Meteoro
2). The Monastery of Varlaam - named after a hermit monk
3). The Monastery of Rousanou (St Barbara) - this one currently has 16 nuns residing here. The original monastery was built in the 14th century (it is really small) and private quarters for the nuns was built in the 1980’s. They produce Chestnut & Oak tree honey.

Looking into the interiors of these places & seeing how they were constructed was fascinating. Time to construct a chapel - apparently it took 20yrs to get materials up to the master builder (monk) and then 4mths to construct. They used a pulley system to haul materials up the pinnacles. These monasteries have all been built in stages, not all at once. When the monks had money, they would order materials and construct a new section - simply remarkable.

Yesterday the rocks were all black in colour, today after the rain they are now green from the moss - just incredible.

After our terrible dinner last night, on advice from our guide we went to a Kalambaka family run restaurant for lunch - OMG the best food ever.

Currently on the train heading back to Athens, about a 5.30hr trip, due in just after 10pm - then need to catch a metro to our apartment.

Have arrived back in our unit at 11.20pm to no wifi - hoping it will start working or won’t be able to upload this or the photo’s till it does.

Ok, very weak link but have eventually got the photo’s all loaded.

Posted by pitchersontour 13:47 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Meteora - Day 28

overcast 18 °C
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OMG, couldn’t wait to start writing this blog. We had booked a 2 day tour to Meteora, located in Kalambaka prior to departing Melbourne on advice from a friend, Susie Mioni. It is about a 5hr train journey from Athens, so we were up at 6am to get organised and make our way to the station - this time packed our lunch as our last train trip (Budapest to Zagreb) there was no food or drinks available. We had bought over a small overnight bag, so packed this and left our large suitcases in our apartment in Athens. We arrived in Kalambaka about 1.45pm (25min later than planned). Picked up by the tour company at the train station and then taken to our motel for an hour before being picked up for a 4hr tour at 3pm.

For those that have not heard of Meteora - it consists of a number of rock pinnacles topped with a total of 24 monasteries, 6 of which are still in use and open to visitors, while the others are abandoned (now occupied by monks & nuns). From early Christian times, they were regarded as the perfect place to achieve absolute isolation, to discover peace and harmony - hence monks built monasteries on top and in these cliffs. Some words to describe this place - extraordinary, inspiring, breathtaking & magical. Initially hermits lived in caves in the cliffs and then monks became involved and it developed from there. Today, 85% of Kalambaka’s industry is tourism.

We were so lucky to be able to view a few of these this afternoon, unfortunately it was very cloudy (slight drizzle in the early evening) so missed seeing the sunset.

Got dropped off in town and went to a restaurant recommended by the place we are staying - found out the same person owns the restaurant and the accommodation. We were the only ones in the restaurant, went to order off the menu but kept being told “Sorry, we don’t have that”, in the end we had to ask what was available to order. The power went out 4 times, as we think they had too many appliances going at once and the food was pretty awful. Nothing could ruin our day though.

We walked home in the drizzle, through quite a few back streets in the dark, but made it back safely. We have another day here tomorrow.

Make sure you look at the photo’s.

Posted by pitchersontour 11:39 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

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