The Monastery of the Holy Trinity or Agia Triada - Meteora
Both foreign and Greek tourists visit the monasteries in Meteora; for the Greeks it's a pilgrimage, and indeed we met quite a few Greeks that afternoon making that visit.
The short drive from our accommodation up into the Meteora rocks reminded us why we decided to visit this place. The initial impression is of Alpine scenery, but once we reached the peak of the hill, the whole vista of Byzantine monasteries atop giant boulders is quite breathtakingly beautiful.
There were originally many more monasteries before the second World War. These were unfortunately destroyed, leaving only six active and inhabited - some purely as museums, and others are just ruins. The road signs listed the monasteries by name but since we hadn't carried out extensive prior research into the merits of each, we decided to go left at the junction and pay our first visit to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity (shown above), called Agia Triada in Greek.
A dirt track loops downwards from the road. At the bottom a rocky path leads upwards to 140 rough hewn stone steps leading up to the monastery. It's not a particularly steep climb, but would be impossible for anyone with walking difficulties. Unfortunately we arrived a few minutes too late; this particular monastery closed at 5pm. Strangely enough, we met our host Costas on the main road a while later. He very kindly gave us a leaflet showing all opening times and told us that the James Bond film, 'For your eyes only in 1981' which has scenes of climbing a seemingly impenetrable fortress were filmed here. If one ignored the stone steps, the monastery would indeed be inaccessible to all except rock climbers. There is a type of cable car arrangement nowadays which travels the distance above the chasm to transport supplies to the monastery.
A path to the village of Kastraki, on the northern side of Kalampaka is marked. There are various hiking trails in the area, circum-navigating the rocks and linking the monasteries with the town of Meteora, villages and civilisation.