Today I had one single goal – getting to Meteora. I had decided to travel by train to the region as it was quicker than a bus, and hiring a car was not an option as my brain just can’t seem to process driving on the opposite side of the road.
I made sure I arrived at the station an hour early so that I had time to work out where I needed to be. I am glad that I did because all of the signage was in Greek and my pre-booked train tickets gave no indication of which platform the train would depart from. I was directed to platform no 7 and quickly realised that I would be fine for the rest of the trip, or if I wasn’t fine, I’d be in good company, as the entire platform was full of English speaking tourists making the same trip as me.
So what is so special about Meteora? Do you remember the James Bond film – ‘For your eyes only’ – where Roger Moore battles enraged monks at a monastery? According to the locals the film producers never got permission to film a blockbuster movie on the grounds of the monastery, instead they told the monks that they were filming a documentary.
When the world saw the movie and found out about this magical place, it flocked to see the stunning temples that had been constructed into the mountains in the sky over back in the 12th – 14th century. In an instant the economy of the town and it’s people moved from agriculture to tourism (an incredible example of the butterfly effect) and it has remained a tourist hotspot ever since, with the temples in the clouds now able to sustain themselves and the surrounding areas through donations from visitng tourists.
So anyway, back to my train journey. I had booked a first class ticket and was thrilled to see that my seat was in a bright purple, 6 person, private room, resembling the carriages I have come to love seeing in the Harry Potter movies! I was quite thrilled by this, but alas, my travelling companions were nowhere near as interesting as Ronald Weasley or Hermione Granger and the food cart was lacking mystery beans and chocolate coated toads, so I settled in and read ‘City of Girls’ a fiction book by Elizabeth Gilbert that has been on my reading list for years for the entire travel time.
I arrived in the town of Kalambaka at just before 6pm and made my way to my accomodation for the night. I had opted for a budget accommodation option for this stay as it really was just a place to rest my head before an early morning pick up from the tour company in the morning. Regardless of the price, the hosts were incredibly welcoming and after a quick bite to eat in a rooftop café as I watched the sun set over the mountains I would be exploring tomorrow, I had a great night’s rest.