We saved the best for last - as much as I adored those islands, I would skip them all-every last one-to see this: Meteora, home of the mystics.
We hitched a 7-hour train ride north through some gorgeous country, speckled in mountains and red-roofed villages. It was a long trek, especially after 4 hours on a ferry the day before, but I wanted to go somewhere that most tourists wouldn't get to.
When we stepped off the train in Meteora, we were overwhelmed by its majesty. (It's no wonder Game of Thrones sought permission to film here, but the monks wouldn't allow it.)
We stayed right beside the cliffs in this wonderful hotel, Dellas Boutique. The staff was so friendly, and the breakfast was lovingly homemade by a gentle elderly woman who, in the midst of telling us about her delicious marmalades and pastries, began to prophesy over Gryffin (it was before Lorelei had arrived) - that he was a special soul who would do something very great. (Twice when I was pregnant with Gryffin, elderly foreign strangers in restaurants - though both of these were men - came up to me and told me in no uncertain terms that I was having a boy - what's the deal with that?!)
I stole this photo from the Internet, since I didn't have a good one from above - this is the first monastery we visited, the Roussanou Monastery, now a convent.
Here's a photo I took of the gardens, before we crossed the wood bridge to go inside and were greeted by nuns. It was lovely to peek out the tiny windows, and then to step inside the chapel (no photography allowed on the interior, but the iconography on the walls was just exquisite)!
Here's our view from outside the church.