I, for one, am ready to be swept off.
Because tomorrow, I will leave on a most excellent and fabulous and glorious adventure!! With my camera, iPod (we’re talking almost 15 total hours on a bus, folks!), a pair of jeans, a couple t-shirts, a coat, a book and my running gear for the race, I will head to the bus station in Thessaloniki tomorrow with my Adventure Face on.
(Still working on my Adventure Face.)
I had to eliminate the Ioannina portion of the trip in the interest of not subjecting my sad, sad little shoulder to quite that much time on a bus. So, where will I be going?
First leg: Thessaloniki – Trikala, 3 hours by bus
From Trikala, I will catch a bus for the very short ride to Kalambaka, a small town nestled right under the rocks at Meteora, my first destination.
Meteora is a place I’ve been looking forward to seeing ever since I found out I was coming to Greece this year. It’s famous for its spectacular pillars of rock, with centuries-old monasteries at the top. Monks have been living atop these stone columns since the 9th century. If any of you have read the post-apocalyptic zombie novel World War Z (which keeps getting recommended to me, but I still haven’t gotten around to it), the monasteries at Meteora are used in it for anti-zombie protection! There are steps carved into the stone now, but for centuries the only transport to the top were rope ladders.
I will arrive on Sunday afternoon, spend all of Monday visiting the monasteries and leave early Tuesday morning.
Second leg: Trikala – Delphi (via Lamia), 6 or 7 hours by bus
I’ll spend all of Tuesday traveling to Delphi, and then have Tuesday evening, Wednesday, and all of Thursday in Delphi.
Delphi is, of course, the famed ancient “center of the world”: it’s the home of one of the most renowned ancient sites in the world, the famous Delphic oracle, and even the infamous crossroads where Oedipus met and killed his father.
I’m planning on exploring Ancient Delphi on Wednesday, and on Thursday, doing a hike from the Temple of Apollo to Korikio Antro, a cave that was believed to be a hangout for Pan and Dionysus! I’m really looking forward to the hike, and I can’t wait to see the ancient theatre in Delphi; it will be the first I’ve seen in Greece!
Third leg: Delphi – Athens, 3 hours by bus
On Friday morning, I’ll head to Athens, where Stephanie (one of my fellow Fulbrighters) has kindly offered to let me stay with her in her apartment for the weekend. And yes–for those of you noticed that I forgot my checkered Vans on my first trip to Athens, expect the much-anticipated token Parthenon picture! (A page dedicated to the travels of said Vans is forthcoming…)
And on Sunday, I’ll run the 5K! I am proud to say that I’ve gotten over my initial disappointment at having to abruptly cut off my Rocky training montage because of the shoulder injury; I’m ready to forget about having a fast time and granny-jog my way to victory!
And Sunday evening, I’ll catch a ride back to Thessaloniki with Thanos and his family, ready to teach again on Monday morning.
Almost a full week of solo traveling. Am I ready? Abso-freakin’-lutely. I think I’ve picked wonderful places to visit, all the right things to bring with me and (don’t worry, Mom & Dad) lovely and safe little hotels. Traveling solo ranks right up there with skiing the South Boundary at Bridger Bowl, playing Scrabble with my mom, and getting omakase at a sushi bar on my list of All-Time Most Wonderfully Kateful Ways to Spend My Time! So, stay tuned for pictures, stories and gesture-filled reenactments when we are next reunited.
I’m not sure if I’ll have internet access, so have a good week, world!! Catch you when I get back.