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February 2011 Newsletter PDF Printable Version E-mail

Meteora
Kalambaka
Northern Greece

16 February 2011

Dear friends

Diversities and Diversions of Northern Greece

Although our focus has been on the sites of ancient Greek and Roman settlements, our current motorhome journey across Northern Greece - from the Turkish border to the Meteora Monasteries of Kalambaka - inevitably opened up wider experiences. Here we illustrate a small sample:

(The photographs to which the following captions refer can be seen below and as a Gallery/Slide Show.)

Paddington the Nervous Bear: Saved at the last moment from the clutches of Romanian orphans in 1990, Paddington watches anxiously as Margaret explores ideas for future travels. Is that a map of Transylvania on the table?

Free to Roam: Among the rock and scrub of Greece's path-free mountains, the only restrictions and limitations lie within the walker.

Anemone: Spring comes early in northern Greece.

Shower of Fish: An Egyptian fisherman on Maroni harbour brought us a sample of his catch, along with news of recent events in Cairo. So fresh that one fish was still moving as we tried to cut its head off! Margaret uses the motorhome's outside shower for a final rinse.

Queen Eurydike's MacedonianTomb: Here lay the mortal remains of Alexander the Great's grandmother. His father King Philip II of Macedonia, his wife Roxana and his son Alexander IV, all lie nearby in the magnificent tumulus of royal tombs in Vergina. The 46-year-old Philip was assassinated in Vergina's theatre in 336 BC; 13-year-old Alexander IV and his mother were murdered in Amphipolis. In his 13 year rule, Alexander the Great had conquered all the land to the Indus Valley and the threshold of India before dying on campaign in 323 BC, aged 33. Who needs the Archers?

Monastery in the Lake: We talked to Brother Joseph in the Monastery of Ag Nikolaos, on a small island in Lake Vistonida. His Australian accent spoke of good years in Sydney before retreating to the Orthodox Republic of Mount Athos, with its ban since 1060 on all 'female creatures' of whatever species. Asked about his position within the hierarchy of the church, he replied 'a Simple Monk'.

Monday Morning Meeting: An early roost on Lake Vistonida for Cormorant and Pelican; Heron, Coot and Flamingo stayed aloof.

Taking to the Air: A Grey Heron takes flight from Lake Vistonida.

A Good Drying Day: The Cormorant's design fault is that it must hang its wings out to dry after diving for fish, its staple food.

Heron Stalking: The Great White Heron is being stalked by a Grey Heron on Lake Vistonida.

Returning Home: Margaret freewheels back to the motorhome, which is resting for a few days on the beach at Orfani.

The Sun Sets on Mount Athos: To the southwest of Orfani Beach the sun sets slowly behind Mount Athos. 1,600 monks from several Orthodox countries live in 20 monasteries along the 27-mile length of the Athos peninsula, which ultimately rises to nearly 7,000 ft.

With our Best Wishes

Barry and Margaret

Paddington the Nervous Bear

a_Nervous_Bear.JPG

Free to Roam

b_Free_to_Roam.JPG

Anemone

c_Anemone.JPG

Shower of Fish

d_Shower_of_Fish.JPG

Queen Eurydike's MacedonianTomb

e_Macedonian_Tomb.JPG

Monastery on Lake Vistonida

f_Lake_Monastery.JPG

Monday Morning Meeting

g_Monday_Morning.JPG

Taking to the Air

h_Taking_to_the_Air.JPG

 A Good Drying Day

j_Drying_Day.jpg

Heron Stalking

j_Herons_Stalking.JPG

Returning Home

k_Returning_Home.JPG

The Sun Sets on Mount Ethos 

l_Evening_on_the_Beach.JPG