I travelled for 6 hours on a train to Metora to see the famous Monasteries. The trip was beautiful. There was lots of deep snow as we travelled through tunnels and over bridges in the high mountains.
Now I have to say Greek trains are not the best. They are dirty and old etc. They are nothing compared to the Underground in Athens which was built for the Olympics which is bright, airy and pristine, just excellent in every way.
When I arrived in Metora, I was staying in a hotel in town. When I walked into the hotel it was freezing cold. The temperature outside was -6. I asked the staff on desk about the heat and was told heat was turned on for 2 hours every day. The woman looked at me and said she was very warm. She was wearing a ski jacket with a scarf (that said it all). I went to negotiate with the manager and I ended up with heat, and an extra duvet on my bed. It was a very cozy, lovely hotel.
If you go to Greece, this trip is well worth it. Game of Thrones was filmed in the mountains.
The Monasteries are very beautiful. We visited 3 and one nunnery. The Nunnery had woman of wealthy families in Greece there. The Nuns had donated a new fire truck to the town, so they could have their ice cleared first with the firehoses. (that’s power).
On Christmas Eve I went to a Church Service. I couldn’t understand a word, but it was beautiful! Christmas Day, I spent at the BK centre. They had a wonderful dinner for 15 people. They even had me ironing tablecloths and making fans for napkins. I haven’t done any of that for many decades. On Boxing Day, I went on a walk to see the wealthy homes in Northern Athens with a volunteer guide. Afterwards I had a wonderful lunch at a very old restaurant in the community. On New Years Eve I was invited to a very elegant dinner party (FUN)
I will be leaving here February 2nd to spend a week in Cambridge UK before I fly to Toronto for another Bar Mitzvah. This is the last one, next will be the weddings!
I really enjoyed Athens. Where I am staying is just perfect, very central, very well cared for, lots of culture, and great energy.
When I was here 3 years ago people were very angry over the state of the economy. It isn’t any better, but they are resolved to what it is. The Greeks are very proud. They care about family and they take care of one another. I am told 50 per cent of people are unemployed and the people that do work are not sure if they will get paid. I met a teacher the other day. She made 800 euros a month and felt very fortunate. Greeks have no use for their Politicians or the European Union!
I was invited to a book launch last evening. I thought it was for an art show, so I sat for one hour not understanding a word.
Athens is certainly less expensive than UK, but I think anyplace is less.
Wonderful mountain top views from Monasteries: