Getting up in the morning is a tough one! Those who know me must remember that I used to sleep through the first two periods at school. I always delay in my morning dates whether it’s for business or a chore; when it’s for a field trip or a journey though, I am the first one to be there! So today, I woke up at 7 am, knowing that it’s an ideal day for an excursion in beautiful Kastoria. As I am writing this, I am already on the bus and on my way to Kastoria. By my estimations, I will reach my destination by 11.
We are here! I am in need of a freddo to wake me up. What a town, heh! What scenery! There are swans, there are ducks, there are boats adorning the Kastoria lake. I could sit on a bench for hours and just admire this dreamy site! I read about the nearby Dragon’s Cave though and I’m looking forward visiting. What a shame! Right now, I am standing by the entrance and I am being informed that it does not open on Mondays. I will let my friends know in case they decide to visit on a Monday!
The way things are, we were out of options, so we called a taxi. Lady luck smiled at us; the taxi driver, a likeable (also single, with a liking for Cypriot girls) mister G., became our guide for the rest of the day. We hence left the taximeter on and began our tour of the town.
We started off visiting the Monastery of the Virgin Mary the ‘Mavriotissas’. According to G., this was built in 1082 and is a Byzantine treasure. We entered, paid our respects and saw some of the murals decorating the Monastery. G. explained what they showed and what their background was. I also learned that the doors you can see in the picture below, are the oldest ones in Greece, dating over 1000 years ago. The things taxi drivers know, are unknown even to wikipedia!
We get into the taxi again. Following a green, picturesque drive along the lake, we reach the old town and began our ascend towards Saint Athanasios, the highest point of Kastoria. On the way, G. continues to show me every single church, all built during the Byzantine times or later. I didn’t know that Kastoria has 61 churches. There is a church in every turn! I saw Panagia Koumpelidiki dating in the 10th century, the Byzantine Church of Taxiarchis Mitropoleos, the post-Byzantine Church of the Eleousa Holy Apostles and at least ten more churches until we reached the top.
So we are now at the mount top! The panoramic views of the town took my breath away! I really envied the people living here, in this paradise! We took pictures, admired the scenery and began descending. We passed by Prophet Elias which also offers amazing views and ended up for lunch in Apozari, nearby the Byzantine walls. The driver suggested the “Katsarola” kitchenette. We did not regret our decision to take his word for it! Even though the restaurant is closing in the coming days (there is no tourism during August, so it’s low season in that respect) the service was excellent. When they served the sweets in the end, we literally had the bite of the cherry.
I am looking at my watch. It’s 3.30 pm already! So off to catch up with ΚΤΕL! On my way back to Salonica, I will prepare a video with what I’ve seen so I can show it to my friends! Bye for now!
Until next time xoxo