I was moving as fast as I could as I climbed up the rocks. I felt my heart beat in my throat like a pounding drum. I could have rested, but something was driving me to keep going; I wanted to reach the top, and complete what I had started. George, my guide from my previous day’s adventure had told me that this was an intermediate level trek, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my fitness level was not up to the intermediate standard. I huffed and puffed my way up, but when I reached the top, it was beyond worth it and I was immediately glad I had walked into the office to see him.

This fantastic afternoon hike started off when I strolled into the Visit Meteora office around noon to ask about ideas for a solo hike. I was told that a suitable jaunt with in the time frame I was dealing with would be to hike up to the Holy Spirit Monastery; just past the town of Kastraki. We discussed the route I would take and sketched a little path on a map. I wasn’t in there long before I was out the door and on my way to perhaps one of the best experiences I have had in awhile.

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I left from the town of Kalampaka, where I was based, to the traditional Greek village of Kastraki. The white washed walls of the houses held the terracotta tiled roofs in place. I wandered slowly through the village, first just to soak in the surroundings, and secondly because I wasn’t exactly sure where the path to the Holy Spirit Monastery was. I was feeling slightly rushed, as I had to be on a train in a few short hours, so I figured it best to seek local guidance. The issue was the wasn’t a soul in sight. I ended up walking into a deserted hotel and the friendly man inside pointed me to the foot path I needed.

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The foot path was narrow and weaved through lush green foliage. I could tell this was a road less travelled,  and that’s exactly what I was looking for. I walked swiftly,but It wasn’t long before the hike turned steep. I was soon clambering up while holding steel railings that were secured to the rocks. It had rained the day before and everything beneath my feet was wet and slippery. I wondered about slipping and falling from these rocks, and if anyone would find me on this deserted path. I put that thought to the back of my mind and I continued onward and straight up.

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About half way up was when my, seemingly low, fitness level hit me. It was like I had run into a brick wall. Sweat beaded on my forehead and my heart pounded in my throat. I just blocked it all out and continued to trek straight upward; I wasn’t about to stop. I must have moved fast, the 1.5 hour hike that I was quoted lasted less than 45 minutes. As I came up my final ascent of rocks I could begin to see my end destination.

Meteora

I found myself entering a courtyard of sorts, where there were white washed walls and a closed blue door. Of course, I had to see what was inside this blue door cave and I opened it up. It was unlocked and when I swung the door open I saw what was perhaps an abandoned hermit’s house. The entire inside was white with religious artwork placed neatly around. I spent some time checking everything out before making my exit and shutting the door behind me. I walked around the courtyard for some time. I was alone and it felt great to be in such a serene place. The tour that I went on 2 days before to visit the Meteora Monasteries was incredible and had a great vibe, where I stood now was an equally fantastic feeling but an opposite sensation. It was about solitude and reflection.

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After a few minutes looking around I made my final ascent to the top of the last bit of rocks. Here I sat for a good half hour; reflecting on where I had been, where I was, and where I was going next. I was glad I was alone. When it comes to travel there are some things that can only be accomplished on tours, and when you have great guides like George and Lazardo, it only enhances the experience. But, I also find it rewarding to get out on my own and carry out something that not many other people are doing. When mixed together, with the right balance, no matter where you go it will be a good time.Meteora

My journey to Metora has now come to an end. I stayed 3 nights and could have stayed longer. There is rafting, mountain biking, dirt bikes, scooters, other treks. Basically, you name it and this place has it. I said it last time and I will say it again; meteora is a hidden gem and if in Greece get here fast before this place is discovered by the masses!

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Full disclosure: This trip was provided on behalf of the fantastic people at visitmeteora. That said, everything is of my own experience and written personally.

4 Responses

  1. Dennis Kopp

    Alex, it really sounds as if you had a wonderful time in Meteora! I am actually there at the moment and luckily the weather has improved, making the views even better and the trails less slippery. Your hike to the Holy Spirit Monastery looks really great, I will see if I can follow in your footsteps and find it as well. Thanks for the suggestion… 🙂
    Dennis Kopp recently posted…Mont Saint-Michel, Wonder of the Western World?My Profile

    • Alex

      Hey Dennis glad you are getting to experience it as well! Really an amazing spot. Were you able to make it to the Holy Spirit Monastery?

  2. Rositsa

    Hey, lovely post!

    We’ll are planning a 2 week holiday, going by car from Bulgaria to Greece for 2 days, then Albania for 7 and then back to Greece for another 2 days. The last 2 days we’ll be in Meteora, staying in Kalampaka just like you. I really like the sound of this trek you did and I think we’ll do the same one 🙂 We love walking and climbing so it will be great! I know you were with SHABL in Albania. We’re going to Saranda and Ksamil, I hope it will be great! Next summer, Vietnam for a month 🙂

    • Alex

      Thats great news! Hit up the Visit Meteora and ask for George, make sure you tell him I sent you 🙂 Albania is awesome, you will love it! We were in Saranda in the fall so it was very quiet, but if your there in the summer I heard it was a pretty good time! Try looking on airbnb for places to stay, there are some amazing deals there. Try this promo code to get $25 off your first visit – https://www.airbnb.com/c/abradbeer?s=8 Have Fun!