Today we woke up refreshed despite sleeping on pillows dense as bricks with bedsheets that felt like sandpaper against our skin. Hotel Metéora (the least expensive hotel in the city) offered a delicious complementary breakfast which very satisfying compared to our previous two meals consisting of energy bars (samples stolen from the library during finals week, tasting like a combination of diabetic granola bars – according to Eva, and horse feed – according to Kelly), Pringles Wheat Stix, pumpkin seeds, and Craisins (please send $$$).
The highlight of Metéora is a series of monasteries perched on gigantic cliffs. On the drive up to the top we used our common sense and good judgment (thanks Mom and Dad!) and stopped to pick up two young guys who were hitchhiking to the top. They turned out to be Greek students on holiday and quite harmless. Phew!
We chose to visit the most famous monastery in Metéora, Moni Megálou Meteórou, which was built in the 14th century. The monasteries built atop these cliffs are still in use today. Born educators, we were tailed through the monastery by two women from the southern US who enjoyed listening to us read aloud facts about the monastery from our guidebooks (best $25 we’ve spent yet!). These monasteries are definitely an amazing feat of architecture and worth the visit.
Also interesting was the fact that the skulls and bones of all the former monks were archived in a small room:
After heading out of Metéora, we stopped at a local fruit stand to get a snack for our drive to the Tombs of Vergina. There were four tombs, one of which was Phillip II’s final resting place. We also saw a tomb that is suspected to be that of Cleopatra. These tombs are home to four gorgeous funerary wreaths made of pure gold. Unfortunately, as we were (not so gently) reminded by the security guard, photos were not allowed, so we had to steal some from Google images to show you:
As we rolled into Thessaloniki, we hit the 1,000 km ( 621 mi) mark for our trip. We are staying in Thessaloniki for 3 nights, enjoying the beach and the cosmopolitan atmosphere. Always smart shoppers, we comparison shopped for hotels after our arrival in Thessaloniki (OK, we checked out four hotels in one block). We finally settled on a nice hotel which we bargained the price down to save $35; we also convinced the hotel manager to carry our luggage up the three flights of stairs and cook us breakfast! We also saved ourselves from the peril of the budget hotels which offered rooms with a lingering smoke smell, cigarette burns on the bedsheets, a broken bathroom light, and a doorman who may have a been a recovering(?) crack addict.