Evrytania & Ioannina

A trip to Greece is, in some ways, a return home since ancient Greece’s legacy and history penetrated the awareness of all Western civilization.  It’s the land of mythological Gods and Goddesses.  I flew to Greece with 15 of my army buddies, and our jeep caravan rambled through the rugged backroads traversing the wild mountains, forests, streams, and magical coastlines of Evritania, Epirus, Zagoria, and Pelion.  The remote picturesque villages we drove through were ‘sleepy’ but very well kept.  The local taverns offered the most delicious meals: fresh goat cheese seasoned with pure olive oil, colossal vegetable salads, hot bread, and a variety of other dishes, all with plenty of Ouzo, Tsipouro, and beer.

The scenic highlight was a visit to the Meteora region.  Only six structures remain of the many 14th Century Eastern Orthodox monasteries situated on a massive stone cliff, carried to a height of about 600 meters (1,800 feet).  The source of the name Meteora means “suspended in the air.”  The monasteries were secluded and extremely safe.  The monks accessed the monasteries employing nets and ropes that can be seen today and led an ascetic lifestyle.

But the real highlight of the eight-day trip was by far the people I was with, my army platoon brothers.  I had the chance to experience the softer, kinder, more generous, and wiser parts of their personalities that come forward with maturity and age.  I immersed myself in the love of re-discovering brothers I have not known for a long time.