Love, the driving force: a journey of discernment

Chronicling my formation with the Loretto Sisters (IBVM)


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Ioannina and Vergina

Ioannina

From Meteora, we travelled to Ioannina, a city in Northern Greece that tradition holds was founded by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 6thcentury C.E. Ioannina flourished in the late Byzantine period (13th–15th centuries). Ioannina surrendered to the Ottomans in 1430 and there is a strong Turkish influence that can be seen today.

The walls of the old city.

Ottoman baths

The Ioannina Municipal Museum – a converted mosque. It houses an excellent collection of artifacts describing the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities that resided in Ioannina over the centuries. A Jewish marriage certificate


Traditional dress

The main area of the mosque, once used for prayer.

The grounds of the museum contained beautiful stone structures, now mostly abandoned, and a small graveyard.

Vergina

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of Vergina. We stopped here on our way to Makrinitsa to visit the tomb of Philip II (the father of Alexander the Great). The site has a fantastic museum showcasing the many artifacts that were discovered intact within the tomb. It sheds light on ancient burial customs and beliefs. Check out Aigaiand the archeological site.


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She’s just too beautiful

Last week I arrived home from holiday. I spent two glorious weeks in Greece with my dad and stepmom. It was  the best holiday I have taken in many, many years. The perfect blend of activity and rest. We took an incredible road trip and visited Delphi, Meteora, Ioannina, Vergina, Makrinitsa and Pelion, and Athens. Then we spent over a week together on the island of Kea, just relaxing and enjoying the sun and sea, swimming, sunbathing, eating bread from the fournos, reading, playing rummy, tending kittens, sipping ouzaki, and exploring the ancient sites of the island. I returned home rested and renewed, grateful for the precious time spent with the people I love most.

Over the next few posts I will share some highlights from the places we visited.

Delphi

Our first stop was the archeological site of Delphi, with the famous oracle of Apollo.  In the 6th century B.C.E, Dephi was an important religious centre in the ancient Greek world. According to mythology, Delphi was understood to be the meeting point of two eagles released by Zeus, one in the east and one in the west.

One of the ancient treasuries at Delphi.

The site of the ancient oracle of Apollo.

Looking up at the remains of the Temple of Apollo.

The remains of the Temple of Apollo.

The amphitheatre.

The stadium.

Meteora

High atop the cliffs, six (of an original 24) Greek Orthodox monasteries are precariously perched. Most are no longer inhabited although the two nunneries (convents) still house orders of nuns. It is thought that the monasteries were established sometime in the 14thcentury C.E. to provide refuge from invading Turks. This is a spectacular place to visit (though the treks up to the monasteries are arduous!) and the views are incredible. My favourite monastery was the Monastery of the Holy Trinity.

 

 

The Grand Meteora monastery.

Climbing up the Grand Meteora. 

The views from the top. Kalambaka, the town nestled at the feet of Meteora.

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity. 

Just imagine bringing up supplies in a basket like this!

An icon of the Holy Trinity of God.

St. Barbara, patron saint of the Greek artillery. From the Roussanou Monastery (nunnery).

The secret garden at Roussanou!