I slept in later than I would’ve liked and did not stir from bed until 09:30. I then shaved, showered, dressed, and packed my bags. Next, I stowed my baggage away at the reception desk, checked out, and walked to the nearby mini market (where the local bus makes a stop at). I waited there for about twenty minutes (the kind old lady who runs the mini market brought me a chair to sit on just like yesterday) before the bus came and I got on. I then rode the bus to the Great Meteoro (“Transfuguration of Jesus”) Monastery, which is the oldest (founded in the fourteenth-century AD) and largest of the monasteries in Meteora. Once off the bus, I entered inside the monastery, paid the entrance ticket, and then proceeded to explore the complex. I visited the old carpentry shop and wine cellar (which had many old wine presses, barrels, and other pieces of equipment), and then walked to the ossuary, where there was a collection of past monks on display (i.e. skulls and bones on shelves). Next, I visited the small folklore museum where there were displays showcasing Modern Greco-history; some of the displays (military uniforms, swords, rifles, machine guns) seemed incredibly out of place for a monastery; also, the placards for the wartime displays read as if they were written with pride and zeal (perhaps this was the fault of the translator, but it felt wrong reading such things in a Christian monastery, where all types of warfare – regardless of how righteous the cause is – should be treated with scorn and grief; of course, I have noticed that quite a few of the Eastern Orthodox churches (e.g. Russian and Greek) are tied to their respective state and national identity; therefore, it’s understandable – however wrong – that these institutions would take pride in their countries’ past struggles, conflicts, and victories. Anyway, next, I visited the Ecclesiastical Museum (some artifacts dated to the fourteenth- and fifteenth-centuries AD) and the Manuscript Museum (each museum occupied one or two rooms in this large monastic complex). After that, I walked to the terrace, took in the view (and the scorching sun), and visited the old kitchen. Next, I entered inside the church, which was nice and probably the best out of the six monasteries. Then I walked around the monastery some more before exiting the complex and walking down to the entrance to Varlaam Monastery, where I then took a trail downhill, through the woods and between the rocks, to the road near Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery. I followed the road back to Kastraki and stopped at a restaurant for lunch; I had a Greek salad (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, olives, feta cheese, oregano, and olive oil), a Greek lager beer, Greek yogurt with honey, and a Greek coffee (when in Greece . . .). After lunch, I returned to the hotel, uploaded the photos I took today on my laptop, and went through them all until 16:30. Then, I said goodbye to the receptionist, put my bags on, and walked to the Railway Station in Kalambaka – this took less than thirty minutes. Once at the railway station, I looked around for a nearby market to buy some water and snacks, but I found none (this should be an obvious demand and I was disappointed that no enterprising individual has figured this out yet). I then boarded the train, found my seat, and waited until 17:32 for the train to depart to Athens. Once underway, I used my iPhone and got to work typing out journal entries, interspersed with viewing the passing Greco-countryside out of my train window.
The train ride lasted over five hours and we reached the Athens Railway Station around 22:45. Once at the station, I grabbed my bags, disembarked the train, and walked to the adjacent, underground metro station (Larissa Station). I then rode the metro train to Omonia Station, switched lines, and rode another metro train to the Monastiraki Station. Once at that station, I returned to above ground and walked to the hostel I had booked a bed at the night before. At the hostel, I checked in, went up to the dormitory room, and unloaded my bags. I then met a Korean man staying in the same dorm and we talked for a while. We then went out to grab a late night dinner (at 23:30) and I bought a gyro with chicken. Walking back to the hostel with food in hand, I stopped to buy a bottle of water and a carton of juice. Then, we returned to the hostel and went up to the rooftop terrace to eat our food; the rooftop terrace of this particular hostel has a fantastic view of the Acropolis, which was lit up at night with a large moon shining over it. We then talked for some time, had a complimentary shot of local liquor, and drank a local beer, before returning to out dormitory room to prepare for bed. After getting ready, I went to bed and fell asleep after 02:00.