We are happy. Happy to leave Athens. Happy to get to know another part of Greece. Happy to be on the road in a motorised vehicle for once. We are looking forward to our next visit from Switzerland.
At the airport in Athens we pick up Timon, Sara's brother. With him we want to discover the north of Greece and have rented a car for this purpose. Our two main destinations are the Meteora Monasteries and the Vikos Gorge. Despite the car, we are travelling with a tent, but enjoy the luxury of having a larger radius when looking for a place to sleep. We drive north-west and the landscape changes. More deciduous trees, different agriculture and after a few hours the hills of Meteora rise into the sky, an imposing sight even from a distance. Meteora is one of the most famous sights in Greece. However, as the tourist season is definitely over, the rush is limited. We are classic tourists, driving from one viewpoint to the next, visiting one of the monasteries and taking heaps of photos. The landscape with the jutting hills and the exposed monasteries is more impressive than expected and with the evening sun a real feast for the eyes.
For the night we find a place a few kilometres away somewhere in the countryside with a direct view over the plain and the hills. Light mist settles over the landscape with the colourful trees, autumn now has us firmly in its grip and shows itself from its most beautiful side. The nights are long and cold, but everything is bearable.
On we go. Via Ionnina, a pretty little town on a lake, we reach the Vikos Gorge towards evening. We catch our first glimpse of the impressive gorge just before dark. In the "Guinness Book of Records" it is called the deepest gorge in the world, although the depth varies from 600-1000m. Well, be that as it may, the gorge is an impressive sight, record or not. At the precipice, so to speak, we enjoy an outdoor raclette in windy weather. Timon has brought the cheese from home so that we can officially start the raclette season. Only a mouse disturbs our peace for a short time. It shows little shyness and makes advances, but it doesn't get the cheese.
As not all of us are feeling 100% well, we have to adjust our plans and skip the hike through the gorge. Instead, we take a few short walks to various viewpoints and enjoy the beautiful autumnal landscape. The region is breathtaking, especially in autumn. The deciduous trees are colourful, the gorge imposing, the villages made of old stone houses (and the newly built ones in the same style) and the influence of tourism is still very much within limits. We would love to spend several days in this region and go hiking, but we have to return slowly to Athens, as Timon has to get back to his daily routine.
The way back takes us to the sea, where once again a closed beach bar serves as a place to spend the night. We enjoy another round of games with the three of us and drive all the way to Athens the next day, where we spend a last evening in the city we already know. Early the next morning we say goodbye to Timon, he heads for the airport, we head for the harbour. The time went by way too fast and Timon is already gone again. Thank you for coming to visit, we enjoyed discovering a beautiful corner of Greece that was still unknown to us with you a and having a third partner for board games.
For us it's off to the ferry, at dawn through Athens. The streets are still busy, it's Sunday morning and the revellers are still out and about. We enjoy the ride through the slowly awakening Athens and are ready for the next adventures.