Sep 18

Meteora to Parga, Greece

After breakfast, we hopped into Emanuel, left Metsovo and drove the remainder of the way to Meteora (which was just over an hour away!). The weather today was mostly overcast, which was unfortunate – as it would have been fantastic to get some nice photos of these epic monasteries in all their glory.

We rocked into the town underneath the rock cliffs, where Gina jumped into the Information Centre to get us a map for the different monasteries.We could see from the get-go that this was going to be a major tourist attraction, as the place was full of buses, all going up to see the monasteries.

We had a lovely time up there; massive rock pinnacles with epic monasteries perched ontop of them. There was far too many for us to visit in a day, so armed with Gina’s map – and some recommendations from the inofmation centre, upwards we went!


Gina & Megalo Meteoro, Meteora

Our first stop was Varlaam, which is the second biggest monastery in Meteora. It offered some fantastic views towards Megalo Meteoro on the rock pinnacle across the way. It had a lovely small museum (no photos allowed!) and we could also see the original rope basket  in which the monks used to get to the top (there we’re no steps back then!!).

Ginas petting heaven

A Meteora Cat

We continued on towards Agiatrias and Agios Stefanos, which both offered spectacular views over the town below, and over to the hills at the other side.

Gina superpose

Views over Kalabaka

Gina at the viewpoint

And there we have it! Another World Heritage site ticked off the list.

Our next stop was Parga for a couple of days, and luckily for me, Gina had booked this stay for us, and boy! what a booking!

Balcony views over Parga

Iest and some cats

Parga is a picture-perfect little town, with it’s hollow castle perched above, and two lovely sandy beach to either side. To add to it’s beauty – our b&b owner was the local stray-cat lover, giving them dinner every evening, so Gina was again in cat-heaven!

Cat gathering

Valtos Beach cove

We chilled to the max, with Gina taking a dip in the sea, and then off for an epic Greek dinner in the evening, before heading to our b&b to enjoy the views from our epic balcony, and listen to the crickets chirrup.

Gina having a splash

Our lovely dinner

Sep 18

Ioannina to Meteora (ish), Greece

We woke up, and headed downstairs for some breakfast. A large buffet was awaiting us, and we got stuck in. We had hoped to take the little relaxing boat cruise over to the To Nisi (the Island) right in the middle of Lake Pamvotida, but unfortunately, the winds were still blowing strongly. We walked along the lake shore just to double check, but all the boats were tied up for the day. No luck!

Windy Lake Ioannina Pamvotida

Old streets of Ioaninna

From here, we decided to walk into the old town, to see the sights. There’s a lot of history in Ioannina, and the thing that stands out the most is solid, tall walls of the Kastro enclosure; a tranquil old quarter, with many interesting sights that we planned on visiting.

We first headed over to see the Aslan Pasha Mosque, which is set atop Ioannina, in some really quite impressive castle ruins – littered the floors were stacks of cannon balls. Inside the Mosque, was the Municipal Ethnographic Museum, which exhibits local costumes and period photographs together with exhibits of the Greek, the Turkish and the Jewish community.

Grounds of Aslan Pasha Mosque

Gina and the stacks of cannon balls

The Mosque itself was really impressive and quite beautiful – built in the 17th Century. We pretty much had the whole area to ourselves, so we took our time and and admired the beauty of the place.

From here, I had to head over to the car quickly to sort out parking, while I left Gina for a few minutes. I had such a hard time finding her afterwards – so much so, that I’m making a note of it on our blog. The impressive Kastro walls wouldn’t let me inside anywhere – I finally found her, chilling on the grounds of Its Kale, by the Silversmithing Museum.

Gina inside Aslan Pasha Mosque

The Silversmithing Museum at the Its Kale

We continued to explore the grounds of Its Kale – and relaxing behind the Fethiye Mosque, which was another really impressive mosque overlooking the lake. We didn’t go into the Fethiye Mosque, as this one was quite busy – so we just chilled in the glorious sun.

Fethiye Mosque


Fethiye Mosque

Gina and Lake Pamvotis

Walls of the Kastro enclosure

We decided to hit the high street, to see what Ioannina had to offer us – Gina found a H&M, and got herself a funky Wonder Woman t-shirt which she loved. By now we were a bit peckish and headed over a local cake shop to sit outside in the sun to have a couple of lovely slices.

Cake Shop

Cake eating in the sun

We then headed back to Emanuel, and decided see if we could try to catch a boat to To Nisi (the island), but from the other side of the lake. Unfortunately, they weren’t going from here either – the winds we’re just too strong.

The plan then was to head over to Meteora, so we drove East, out of the Ioannina. Unfortunately, Gina had tasked me with booking our hotel for this night. I managed to book us into a super fancy hotel, that was in a tiny sleepy little town of Metsovo, which was still a good hour away from Meteora. Oh dear.

We decided to make the best of our situation, and head out for some local dinner – and then retire to bed early.


Sep 18

Dilofo, Greece

After dropping Lily off on the weekend, we were all packed and ready to go to Greece for our summer vacay. Unfortunately for us, we had to get up super early this time – 3am to be exact, ready to be picked up for 4am by the taxi to take us to Gatwick. Everything went super smoothly, Gina even managed to get a few Zzz’s in on the plane, and we landed in Thessaloniki in no time.

Our first mission was to pick up the car, a nice little Citroen we named Emanuel. After familiarising ourselves with the car, we departed Thessaloniki on the 4 hour drive over to Dilofo.

The drive took us right through the middle of the country, where we were greeted by some lovely views – and the Greek highways were super nice to drive on. We noticed loads of high fences on either side of the highways – these were to prevent bears entering onto the highways! How cool!


Iest & the church at Dilofo

We arrived at Dilofo just as the sun was starting to set. No cars are allowed into Dilofo – so we parked Emanuel in the car park that’s just on the outskirts of the village. Dilofo is amazing, an incredibly traditional, picturesque village that I don’t think has ever changed since the day it was built. All the houses and roads are made from the same stone, with the whole village nestled into the woods in the hills, making it look like a little fairy tail village. We dragged our suitcase over the stone cobbles, and found our fantastic hotel; Archontiko Dilofou that Gina had picked nicely for us. I can’t recommend this hotel enough, the rooms were beautiful – all rustic and super comfortable, with a lovely host that we got chatting to a lot. She made us feel very welcomed.

Archontiko Dilofou

The streets of Dilofo

After familiarising ourselves with the beautiful room, we headed out to take a tour of the little village. Dilofo is super quaint, with lovely old buildings everywhere, with a church in the middle of the village and narrow lanes connecting everything up. We walked the loop around the village, and eyed up a nice little restaurant for dinner; Taki’s place. We sat outside on the terrace, looking out towards the mountains as the moon was slowly rising up behind them. We ordered a whole lot of fantastic food, including the grilled feta with tomatoes and herbs – something so simple, yet incredibly delicious. We had a couple of beers, and then retired to bed for the night – since we’d been up since 3am (!) and we had a full day of exploring to do tomorrow.

Grilled Feta!

Moon rising