A Meteora Rockclimbing Experience

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Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 2, 2007 - 07:04pm PT
Detail from the cover of Dieter Hasse’s wonderful book,
Which chronicles much of the Meteora experience in northern Greece:




Detail of copper engraving by the monk, Parthenios of Meteora, circa 1782:
(from Hasse’s book)




Roussanou Monastery, with Holy Ghost group of rocks:
(photo Dieter Hasse)

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2007 - 07:05pm PT
The hosts,
Jane & Micha Klein:




The invite:




The map:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2007 - 07:07pm PT
Tarbuster, preflight to Athens Greece, with rope, rack, and no hat,
After pulling an all-night’er sewing portaledge rainflys and God only knows what else:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2007 - 07:09pm PT
First thing I did in Athens after securing my train ticket to Kalambaka was get up on a hill and have a Greek salad, they are so simple; but none stateside has since rivaled that bowl of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives and goat cheese.

Had some time to blitz to the Acropolis and its Parthenon:








Then on the way back down to the train, on foot, I got lost. Just me and my one day pack running downhill in my cowboy boots through various town squares, (they all look alike of course) gunning for the train station.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2007 - 07:10pm PT
It's pretty simple to get to Meteora from Athens. Jane gave me explicit instructions and she's good at this stuff, by age 19 she had traveled solo through the Orient. Between Athens and Kalambaka I just had to make one transfer.

Once on the train, I met a nice Greek fellow traveling with his wife. He was most hospitable (to me) and provided key information about the upcoming train switch. Until then he told jokes: “I have three children, two goats, a goldfish and a wife, haha.” His wife would doze off occasionally, and he would take the burning ember of his cigarette tip and place it close to the skin of the back of her hand. I didn't think it was funny, but he did, and she displayed not a sign of care, other than batting him off like a fly.

A Greek Orthodox priest walked by and my man waved him in to our berth, lit up a second smoke for the priest, handed it to the clergyman and by their tone I can say they engaged in jovial and rather pedestrian conversation. Shortly after the priest departed and when the man was done eating his brown bag dinner, he tossed his empty wrappers out through the nearest train window.

The train slowed down, and with no announcement whatsoever by the conductor or over any sort of PA system, my traveling partner insisted I leave the train and follow him across the tracks to catch the proper train to Kalambaka. He got off with his wife, I followed them, he told me where to stand, seemingly just by the side of the tracks, not at any kind of station, and they left, and I waited a bit and shortly my train came!

Once on the connecting train I met three young women; their names were Elini, Bettina, and Goodrun. (phonetic spelling). Elini was Greek, educated in Germany, along with the two German girls. Ironically, even though Elini was Greek and knew her home country well, they had missed the switch and had ridden the initial train in the wrong direction for five hours. It turns out they also were heading to Meteora to watch the sunrise from the top of the rocks and asked if I would like to join them.

Um, I said yes...
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Nov 2, 2007 - 07:11pm PT
Been wanting to go new school (Kalymnos)...keep em coming, cowroy
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Nov 2, 2007 - 08:02pm PT
Great tour Roy!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Nov 2, 2007 - 08:18pm PT
and then what happened?

/munge says waiting expectantly with grin on his face...
stich

Trad climber
Denver, Colorado
Nov 2, 2007 - 09:31pm PT
Huzzah, a good romantic tale of watching the rising sun on a Friday night drinking at home alone!

I will share with you that I have just helped a college girl I have never met get up the nerve to text a guy she wanted to see tonight for a bit of a romp. She did as I advised using the same language I wrote and got the intended response instantly.

The internet forum is truly magical.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Nov 2, 2007 - 10:59pm PT
C'mon, Tarbaby, give up the rest of the story. But take your own sweet time, nonetheless.

-ExpectantJello
stich

Trad climber
Denver, Colorado
Nov 2, 2007 - 11:45pm PT
He'll finish the story. Don't you worry. Tarvision aint blurry.
yo

climber
The Eye of the Snail
Nov 3, 2007 - 12:12am PT
hahaha yeah, what an opener!!

This thread's already a classic.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2007 - 02:54am PT
Several hours before sunrise, in the darkness, the three young women and I departed the train at Kalambaka. Not so far along we would find Kastraki nestled amongst the towers of Meteora proper. Now, whether we walked or sought transport, I cannot say, can I be blamed? Either way our conversations carried us upward along a paved mountain road through smoky vineyards until we reached a point where the stars above became blotted out by large rectangular patches of blackness. Yes! My first impression of the towers, with their unrevealed bulks impressing such a sense of possibility upon our star punctured ceiling.

Kastraki lay asleep as we passed through the little hamlet and continued on towards the summit of Meteora itself; meandering now up the steeper road, we became aware of just a few occasional small squares of candlelight set high into the sides of the cliffs. These solitary morning sign marked the waking vigil of the cloistered monks, performing their various ablutions, incantations, and readings. Soon the rising sun illuminated on either side of our path the numerous orange Pixari blooms floating the trees.


(photo Dieter Hasse)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2007 - 02:58am PT
With a bit of walking yet to go, a short time following sunrise we reached a pedestal just beneath one of the higher Cloisters.
(I don't know for sure what someone's body language was all about).




Some of the monasteries are known to be open for tour and were quite grand, while others seemed less formally arranged and equally inviting:




The settings afforded by various porches and overlooks were quite relaxing:

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2007 - 03:03am PT
We do not know when the first monk came to lead an acetic life in one of the remote Meteora caves. According to Theotekni, a nun, written records about the monks at Meteora date back to the 11th century. Most monasteries were founded during the second half of the 14th century, when the Serbs ruled Thessaly. (From Hasse’s Meteora)

Some are merely caves, blocked off with external walls, and there is much evidence indicating monks were well acclimated to the precipitous environment:







Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2007 - 03:03am PT




Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Nov 3, 2007 - 03:07am PT
all hot an bothered...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2007 - 03:15am PT
Well ya Munge, maybe.
I mean to say, it is a romantic place.
It was nice to linger.





mack

Trad climber
vermont
Nov 3, 2007 - 07:49am PT
Totally sweet...and then?
mack

Trad climber
vermont
Nov 3, 2007 - 07:50am PT
I sure hope there's some climbing in the next edition.
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