I am progressively loading images to my site. Also some on instagram at “briansphotography” if you use that.
Stopping at seaside village for a coffee as one does, this sign offering free shower caught my eye.
Later we turn left off the Rion-Antirion bridge and before long we are in Nafpaktos. Nafpaktos is built around a tiny fortified medieval harbour. Beautiful.
This town has a castle on the hill overlooking it, which we drove too before leaving only to find it was closed until 10.00. Didn’t want to wait so missed that, though did get some great views of the town and harbour below while up there.
From there we head to Arta as a stop off point en-route through the mountains of west Greece. Heading off we set the GPS for the back-roads as normal, but bugger me, somehow we get directed to the motorway with it’s multiple tollgates and boring vistas. And naturally, once you are on it, it hard to get off. But fast I guess.
Arriving in Arta we stop to find accommodation. Found something that looked ideal, booked it then tried to GPS it. Could not find it on the GPS anywhere. Reviewed our booking on the mobile and noticed we had somehow been directed to Arta, sure, but this one was in the Balearic islands, Spain. Ha. The GPS was of course set for Greece. Thats travel.
After a night in our re-booked lovely country hotel on the outskirts of the town we head off early through the mountains. The previous days mountains were interesting, small villages, mostly left behind by the passage of time, rugged roads and only reasonable scenery. Enough to make she who must be obeyed say “boring”. Would not go that far myself, but there you are.
Today was about to be a revelation. Some of the highest hills in the country, some of the windiest roads anywhere, and so many little and not so little groups of red roofed homes scattered among the trees.
But spectacular scenically understates it. What a drive. One not to be missed if you are ever doing a road trip through this country. But, your GPS wont take you there automatically. There is a new toll motorway that Lonely Planet says is also pretty good, but they missed this one.
Have I mentioned the Greek Orthodox churches, shrines and memorials that almost out-number the population?
I later learn they are rarely, sometimes never used in prayer!
Gradually we make our way to Kastraki hotel. This is a beauty, getting to it another story in our excuse for a car. The wee Micra struggles on hills, its 2nd gear often doesn’t realise its being employed. I have never driven so far in 1st gear, but the revs drop and you may as well push. Bloody hopeless is another understatement.
So through the little lanes that double as streets and to bottom of a rise between houses almost less than 1 car with in parts and uphill. The Micra took several hill starts to make to the top. But we did it. And it was worth it.
Couple of sunset shots. We did a sunset tour on our first night in an effort to orientate ourselves. These are from the favorite spot for tourists at sunset. While waiting for the sunset we were taken to the main church in Meteora, We’re filling in time, our guide is explaining every part of every picture. As you’ll know, there is no part of a wall or ceiling that in not artistically painted and turns out they all have meaning. Talk about tedious, so we sat down. And as we do crossed out legs. Not long after a priest came bustling through, was past us when he realised our legs were crossed and in Greek launched into what I’d call a tirade about our legs. Not being sure what was going on I uncrossed mine, no good reason, just a reaction, but Anne didn’t. Well we nearly needed rescuing. Still don’t know what that’s about, but there’s a word of advice there if you are visiting Greek Orthodox churches. Anne does get caught out in these ways. On another occasion we are in a nunnery (monastery that’s been taken over!!). No hats. Anne, wandering around feels a tap on the shoulder, is about to react as she does when I do that, but just in time sees a rather severe nun on her shoulder. Nun points to cap and shakes head, message received, cap removed. A little while later instinctively returns cap to head, just in time for another shoulder tapping and head shaking. We only went into 2 of these monasteries.
Two of the dozen or so monasteries of Meteora.
A couple of days driving the Meteora hills and visiting a couple of the bluff-top monasteries has been a treat.
Then from Meteora via the scenic route, across the cropping plains of Greece and through 3 mountain ranges. the the ancient town of Dephi, I’m just told the ancients regarded this as the centre of the earth. Clearly, they’d never been to New Zealand!
Travelling Greece by road is full of surprises, from the small churches and monuments to wild goats or cattle on the road there seems to be another point of interest around most corners.
Then back up into the winding hill roads, a shell of what once was in middle of nowhere.
And around next corner, something Hitler would have been proud of.
Eventually to Delphi.
So tomorrow, off to join the rest of the group on Skiathos, followed by some rime on a couple of other islands. Until then, keep in touch.