On our journey we went to Greece and Italy, my Belle Mere, Alice, French Husband and I travelled together for two weeks. We had a wonderful time, the weather was oddly flawless. My Belle Mere, her name is Monique, but I have always called her Bonne Maman, like the French confiture; Well actually her grandchildren called her Bonne Maman, so I did too, and so do our children. Anyway Bonne Maman rarely sat, and when she did I took this photo. She never said no to anything, was gamed for everything, no matter how many stairs or how far away. When we returned to the ship, she would go to the jacuzzi, the sauna and then dance until midnight. Some would say they hope to be like that at her age 86, but I say I hope to be like that now.
Alice was twenty thousand steps ahead of us, of course she is young, so it stands to reason. But considering she was hanging out with us three older folk I was impressed she didn't ditch us.
Alice leaves for her homeland in Australia in February we are going to feel the empty nest feeling again.
When we got off the ship in Volos (Greece) we took a taxi to Meteora. Talk about stunning landscape. Photo-opt central! This is the sort of place you want to drive around, pray for fog or clouds to give depth to your photos, and have the different play of light throughout the day.
If only I had my camera... but I gotta say the cell phone did a good job considering.
"The Meteora, literally "middle of the sky", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above" is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, in central Greece.
Caves in the vicinity of Meteora were inhabited continuously between 50,000 and 5,000 years ago. The oldest known example of a man-made structure, a stone wall that blocked two-thirds of the entrance to the Theopetra Cave, was constructed 23,000 years ago, probably as a barrier against cold winds.
In the 9th century AD, ascetic group of hermit monks moved up to the ancient pinnacles; they were the first people to inhabit Meteora since the Neolithic Era. They lived in hollows and fissures in the rock towers, some as high as 1800 feet above the plain. This great height, combined with the sheerness of the cliff walls, kept away all but the most determined visitors. The hermits led a life of solitude..." Via Wiki
Nowadays there are stairs going to the monasteries, so you do not need to be roped up as before.
Up we went. Bonne Maman in heels with her clutch, "Are you okay?" I asked knowing the answer, but asked anyway, "Oui, oui, oui, just an everyday promenade." She likes to say things in three: "No no no", "Oui oui oui" and her favorite is a tsk sound, "tsk tsk tsk." I wonder if she wrote a blog what she would say about me. THANK GOD she doesn't.
We visited three of the monasteries.
We were told that in the summer the lines are miles long.
Though in January we walked right in. I do not think I would do it in the summer. Crowds are not my thing, nor the heat.
A few stairs here and there and everywhere.
Rather stairs then being roped up.
"I am the official photographer," I teased, "Strike a poise."
Since French Husband's mom lives on the other side of France we only see here a few times a year. This trip was special for Yann as he was able to be with her, for two weeks without work or daily life activities. I figured the least I can do was let them have their moment, and take photos to show you what a tough little cookie she is.
One of my favorite things to do is tell people my Belle Mere's age... Their expression goes into shock, and then they look her up and down, those perfect legs, her wrinkle free face (not fair!) and then they say, "Incredible." I do not say my age, but I have thought to say I am 95 just to have an incredible reaction too.
This is the loading dock where the monks use to haul up and down monks and supplies.
Stairs have my vote, and your vote too if you saw the drop.
On the left side of the photo you can see the rope bag that the monks still use to bring up supplies.
Monastery on a sandstone pillar.
We walked up there!