Break-ups always weigh hard on the soul and the best way to avoid an emotional breakdown is to stay busy. So we did. We woke up and got to business, set up camp by a washing service, treated our bikes to a thorough cleanin’ and took them for a spin in search for fresh food. Almost all the duties we had been postponing for a while were now fulfilled. We retreated to our quiet place to complete the last few missions.
First, we needed to revise our route since we calculated we would end up mid-winter in Central Asia if we were to stick to our current schedule. Slightly reluctant to face the -20°C nights in the Pamir Mountains of Tadzjikistan, we opted for a prolonged journey in Greece to gain/lose some time. This was our new plan: We will cycle together to the Meteora monasteries, then continue through Greece’s inland to arrive in Athens on the 2nd of November. There, Stef’s sister will visit us and bring our winter gear, along with all the pepperoni’s we could ever dream of. We now expect to arrive in Tadzjikistan in the middle of March, knowing this is still early in the year to cross these mountains, but not impossible.
Our clothes were clean, our bikes were shiny, the plan was clear, so last up were our bodies. We found a five star hotel with a fairly priced wellness center to sweat out all the dirt and relax the muscles. The fourpack made full use of all available accomodations, including five star apples, drinking water, steam, soap, …
Feeling reborn, we continued towards Kalampaka to visit the monasteries. We opted for the scenic roads which lead us through fields of pomegranates and cotton. After we stacked our bags full of the first, we saw white balls tumbling in the wind on both sides of the asphalt. When we spotted a huge heap of cotton, ready for pickup, we couldn’t resist jumping in this oversized pillow. So fluffyyyy!
We rehearsed our classes, making our own dampfnoodles and Shisha following the instructions of our masters before we cycled up to the famous monasteries. Arriving at the Megalo Meteora monastery, we were in for a real treat. Or as it says on tripadvisor: “The hidden gem of Greece, that outshines the ruins of Athens and Delphi”.
After playing frisbee on top of the rock formation, we can only confirm this. The huge rock pilars rise vertically from the ground up to 600 meters, with ancient and medieval constructions on top, some open for tourists and others only to watch from a distance. We were left in awe, enjoying this stunning view from our hammocks, when the sun made room for a full moon over the monasteries. For anyone who plans on going to Greece: climb Mt. Olympus, then go to Meteora. You will not regret this – and if you want to camp there after the high season as we did, prepare for a cold but unforgettable night.