• scissors
    December 29th, 2010adminFood, Greece, Nature

    Grapes -- just growing in the mountains

    I visited Greece over a month ago. But, upon my return, I was so busy. So, I only sat down and wrote about Thessaloniki, Meteora and Kastraki much later. And now, I’m finished! So, this will be my last GREECE entry for now …that is, until I visit again.

    Below, I posted one last picture of the Meteora rock formations.

    As I wrote before, the rocks were originally underwater. But, about 60 million years ago, tectonic shifts pushed the seabed upwards. Today, I also learned a new fact about the rocks, though: Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian (who was born in modern day Bodrum, Turkey), wrote about the rocks. In the 5th century BC, he recorded that the people of Thessaly believed the rocks to be from the sea — so, centuries before modern science, the people knew!

    The strange, science-fiction-like rocks of Meteora.

    So, that’s all for Greece. Before it gets really cold, I would like to take 2 small trips, if possible: Edirne and Bursa. They were both former Ottoman capitals — and, conveniently, they’re both close to Istanbul. So, they’re perfect weekend excursions. However, it’s already getting really rainy and nasty …so, if I go, I better go soon…

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  • scissors
    December 28th, 2010adminGreece, Nature, Religion, Village Life

    Kastraki, Greece: The early evening view from our hotel bedroom. Directly below, you can see the chickens, which the hotel matron fed every day. She was a robust, mostly friendly Greek lady, though, sometimes, she would smile as she cheated us --- ah, Greece, thank you!

    The town of Kastraki, which rests right under the Meteora Mountains. Doesn't it look perfect, like from a dream?

    A monastery for females (yay, nuns!). We talked to one of the nuns, who spoke very good English because she was a former nurse who trained in the USA. She said only "Orthodox fanatics, like me" went to the Meteora monasteries -- an adorable, self-deprecating nun with a sense of humor; fantastic!

    Peeking into a secret world

    A monk picking persimmons -- a mundane, yet quiet and beautiful moment (mostly because he did not notice me, so I could observe him in peace).

    Architectural details, up close

    ...and farther away

    As a cat fanatic, the feline presence at the monasteries really elevated the experience to a whole other level.

    Another cat photo

    Farm life in Kastraki

    Farm...