Greece Travelogue 3: Delphi, Sparta and Meteora

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What a sight to wake up to! Breathtakingly beautiful!

After eating a quick breakfast, we decided to explore the area. However, not many shops were opened at that time. And just as we were about to give up and head back to the hotel, we came across this provision store (did not take down the name) and found pretty handcrafted wood tableware and utensils for quite a steal!

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Our first stop was the Delphi museum and from there, we went to the archaeological site.

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It was so blistering hot at the archaeological site, that I am ashamed to admit that I climbed just high enough for me to get some good shots and then waited under the trees at the bottom with the old folks for the rest to get back down.

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We had lunch next at Boutari. It was the first satisfying meal I had since I had arrived at Greece. You can tell from the flavour that the chefs here obviously took pride in their work.

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On our way to Meteora, we stopped at the site where King Leonaides and his 300 Spartans, as well as 700 Thespians (the Thespians are always forgotten after the movie ‘300’) met their heroic deaths.

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We rested for a night at Kalampaka, which is the nearest town, before heading for Meteora in the morning.

Prior to visiting the monasteries, we went to an icon workshop to see how icons were made. Apparently, they do not paint on wood, rather they do it on canvas (then pasted on the wood) with a mixture of hand painting and gold leaves. In addition, a special chemical is added to age the gold area.

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Meteora means ‘suspended in air’, as you can see from the monasteries, they were built on rock pinnacles under impossible conditions. There are currently only six monasteries left, four inhabited by men and two by women.

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When you get up there, you will realise why the hermit monks retreated to these pinnacles back in the 9th century. It is simply peaceful and picturesque.

Not long after our visit to the monasteries, we had lunch at a famous family restaurant in Kalampaka called Restaurant Meteora. Mama cooks certain dishes each day and you get to enter the kitchen to choose what you want to order.

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While the dishes resembled the ones we had at the beginning of the trip, the standard is totally different. Unlike the previous dishes which reeked of mass production, this meal had the warmth and taste of home-cooked food.

And that was the end of our 4D3N tour! But not the end of our day! We had a five hour bus ride back to Athens and another long journey on the subway.

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We had a difficult time lugging the luggage down the stairs at the subway station. Also, it was a bit dodgy when we were dropped off at Omonia Station, where everything was closed on Sundays and the place was filled with migrants.

We took 1.20 euro, 45 minutes on the train and another 5 euro by taxi to get to Maroussi, where our hotel, Athens Habitat, was located.

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The hotel is very modern and new! The staff was also very nice to upgrade us to a junior suite, which came with our own kitchenette and wraparound balcony!

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And also, because we arrived at the hotel at 8pm and it was Sunday, the restaurants nearby were all closed. The staff was really nice to order for us delivery and even took the time and effort to translate the menus from Greek to English.

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The food came piping hot and although it was a huge portion, I almost finished it because it was just so good!

Worth the hotel worth the travel? I guess, if you have a car, or like us, needed a place for just a night. However, if you intend to visit Athens, then I would suggest Monastiraki or Plaka area.

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