Kalabaka & Meteora

I had planned on posting sketches daily as I travelled around Greece. However, the WordPress app was not up to the job. Even when I had a good internet connection the app just wouldn’t upload images. Very frustrating and I gave up after the first few days. The bright side though is that I can now scan in my sketches rather than just posting photos. I can also try to give some more detailed info about the places I visited.

Our first stop was the town of Kalabaka and visits to two monasteries perched on top of the surrounding Meteora Hills.

The town was ok, nothing special and fairly touristy but a pleasant place and surrounded by the Meteora Hills which were great to sketch. Everywhere in Greece seemed to have great views.

We then visited two of the six Meteora monasteries which were perched on top of huge pillars of rock. The idea being that they would be closer to God.

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Building them and living in them was quite a challenge though – goods and people moving up and down on a system of ropes and pulleys. We were told that the monk’s belief in God’s plan for each person meant that they only replaced old, frayed ropes when they actually snapped – if God decides it’s your time to go then who are you to fight against his will with health and safety inspections…. Thankfully we had (many many) stairs to get up there instead.

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Once at the top the views were stunning and the monasteries themselves very interesting with an ornate church, various relics, skulls of the monks who devoted their lives there (I guess there would be nowhere they could be buried on top of the rocks) and museums full of religious artefacts, ancient texts and priest’s robes.

No photography in the museum but no one objects to pencil and paper so I spent some time sketching one of the many ornate crosses on display. Generally these were about the size of your hand or smaller – religious scenes carved into wood and then decorated with gold and silver and gem stones. Some were crazily over the top and had magnifying glasses nearby so you could study the details.

meteora cross

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