One of the best ways to feel the uniqueness of Meteora and become part of this miracle of nature is to walk on their paths. There are passable routes for beginners and experienced climbers. Whichever route you follow, the only sure thing is that the scenery will enchant you. My current photographic travelogue is dedicated to the path of the Holy Spirit. Although it is a short route, at the end you will leave richer in images and senses.
Characterization of the footpath
It is an easy to moderate route but it depends on the physical condition of each hiker. The starting point of the route is from the village Kastraki and ends at the rock of the Holy Spirit, which stands imposing above the village. This is not a circular route, so if you lose something in the ascent, you’ll see it on the return. It takes less than an hour – around ‘ 45 to ‘ 50 – Unless you can’t resist the breathtaking view and the battle of the camera win. So, it’s going to take more than that. And to tell you the truth, I gave a little more time in short stops to enjoy the eerie spectacle.
The starting point is Kastraki, a small traditional village built in the shade of the rocks, at a distance of 2km from the town of Kalambaka. The route starts from the village square. You pass the playground to your right, descend the steps and continue to the inner settlement. You cross its stone alleys to the fountain of Neraida.
From there you follow the stone path until you meet the sign that guides you to the path of Holy Spirit.
You enter a perm path, parallel to the stream. In a few minutes you will find yourself in the heart of a green space between the lofty boulders. You are so close to them that if you glance up, the less you will feel will be awe.
The more, gratitude for the “creation”. The creation of life, nature and any form of it. Everything seems incredibly insignificant and unimportant. You know, when you are looking up, the spectacle impresses more. The flowery path gives way to rocky passages. You are stepping on small pebbles called “krokales “, the same ones that the first monks stepped on them nine centuries ago. You walk the same tracks, the same paths, with the same captivating views, but in different times.
Continue the uphill path and follow the signs, which are visible throughout the journey. Keep hiking in the most awe-inspiring backtrop, the gigantic stone complex. In front of you is the most demanding part of the route. You literally climb a stone path, side by side on the rock with the help of a metallic bracket. The adrenaline is coming up.
The path along its length is alternating sometimes in rocky and sometimes in earthen. You are in front of a small stagnant glade and it seems the right time for a rest stop to enjoy the mystagogy of the imposing landscape. On the left is gleaming the monastery of St. Nikolaos of Anapafsas and the red roofs of the village’s house. The perfect tranquility and allure, can be interrupted only by the sound of wild birds.
Time for adventure and the last part of the track. Let’s go touch the sky! At this point, the path becomes steeper and you seem to pad among unformed rocks. In just a few minutes you’re facing a small plateau. You arrived at your destination. On your right, little gray iron door reveals the entrance of the cloister of the Holy Spirit.
The interior of the small carved cloister is modest and humble. The two pillars that seem to raise the whole history of so many centuries that accompany the monastery stand out. They are said to symbolize the two forms of the Athanasiou Meteorite and his old man, Gregory Stilitus, who lived here their first ascetic years, around 1334.
On the left there is an iron staircase that leads even higher: on a wide cliff where there is a small belfry with a cross. The view is breathtaking.
The eye wanders to the peaks of the unformed rocks of Meteora, the tiny Kastraki, the vast Thessalian plain and the Snowy mountain range of Pindos. You have conquered a small peak, but in fact you have touched a little of this eerie light of Meteora.
The higher you climb, the more striking the images are. On the existing rock there is still a small rock top, with a solitary tree rooted in a steep corner.
You’re between heaven and earth. On a rocky balcony with incredible view and immense serenity.
Return from the same path. Descend with the comfort of the experienced hiker, sucked and imprisoned in your soul all the images and aromas of nature, until the next time.