I have visited Greece twice but I missed the famous islands the first time around.  Just the same, that first visit got me all worked up in anticipation of the historical landmarks to be found in Athens, Delphi , Mycenea, Thessalonika.  The first time around, the highlights of my trip were decidedly Athens and Meteora.  The second time around,  the highlights were the islands of Santorini, Rhodes, Patmos and Crete.   Mykonos?  Well, yeah, it is one party island much like our Boracay (with windmills painted blue and white) but it pales in culture and aesthetics compared to the other islands.


There  is a day for the capital’s classical sights.  The Parthenon atop the Acropolis.  Straight out of a history book,  here I am staring at the crowning glory of all of Greece.  Ancient civilization.  The Erechtheum with its Port of Maidens. The beautifully preserved Theseum, Roman Temple of Zeus, Theater of Dionysus and the Agora where Socrates taught. Vistas of the Royal Palace and various buildings in the city contrast with the remains of a glorious past.  I was so hyped the whole morning. Knowing these colossal structures stood long before the birth of Jesus!  The books available at the Museum have photos of the remaining buildings with transparent overlay showing how the buildings must have looked before.  Amazing.  The Statue of Athena stood tall in the transparencies.  You just have to give it to the Greeks for giving birth to this civilization.  No wonder their tourism industry is flourishing.  Some inheritance they got!  In a way, I was afraid some of the structures may not  last long enough for future generations. At the time, I silently wished a second visit is made possible where these structures still remain. (Wish granted. Amen )  I also made another prayer that I continue to enjoy good health to be able to sustain my penchant for these adventures. (Another answered prayer. Amen)  Looking around,  I found quite a number of senior tourists experiencing difficulties scaling the steps.   Some gave up and started their descent.  A pity.  The highlight of the Parthenon visit lies at the top,  with the added bonus of a panoramic view of the sprawling metropolis. I remember sipping a cup of coffee in the Museum cafe, seeing how majestic the Acropolis looked from afar.  It is a no-brainer that the early Greeks set up the seat of their government on top of this mountain.  There was no way any army can attack from any side without being watched!

Meteora Rocks!

And then, there’s Meteora.  Oh, how I adore this place.  One can’t help communing with Nature in this open air museum.   Monasteries atop the rocks!  I cannot even imagine how those monks built these convents and monasteries atop these rocks.  Nor how the monks were put in cage-like nets to be pulled by fellow-monks atop the rocks to reach the monasteries.  I remember the first time I visited I stayed overnight in the nearby town of Kalambaka .  On a free afternoon,  I strolled around the town to find many friendly Greek men and women, always ready to offer you tea or if you’re lucky, ouzo.   Now ouzo is the equivalent of our “lambanog” in the provinces.  And much like the local folks back home,  the people here seem ready to pick up a conversation and idle the rest of the afternoon away, while nibbling on olives!

Not much has changed the second time I visited Meteora.  Yet, those stairs we scaled going up a number of monasteries seem more steep now.  That is the difference 13 years make!  Same vision,  weaker knees. Same enthusiasm,  not the same energy.  This discovery thus compels me never to stop making adventures while you still can.   It’s my personal mantra.  I dare you to prove me wrong! (Note: the last 2 photos are not mine.  My rusty P&S won’t do justice to the awesome views in Metereora. )

Sequel would be on the islands of Greece.  Soon………….

More photos to be found here:

No Senior Moments, I remember Greece 1996

Revisiting Meteora