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This reflection paper is from my most recent trip to one of Earth's most beautiful locations. Greece itself is the second name of elegance, but I must admit that both of these places bring vivid and bright colors to the overall beauty of Greece after visiting Vergina, Ioannina, and Meteora. It was just a two-day journey, and it seemed confusing to me at first that in a small period of time we would cover all the desired areas. But the travel was very well managed and well-coordinated and we enjoyed much more than expected from the beginning of the morning on May 4th to the evening on May 5th. It was Tuesday morning, and we were notified to reach the departure spot on sharp 7:20 am. We ran a little late and reached the decided place at 7:25 am. One of our friends was afraid that we might get left behind that it did not happen because luckily the bus was waiting for us. We thanked the manager and sat in our reserved seats. The bus left at sharp 7:30 am, and we reached Vergina around 8:45 am. The distance from Thessaloniki to Vergina is not long, and because of the morning time, the highway was relatively clear, and we reached Vergina faster than expected.
Vergina is small city or town in the northern areas of Greece. It is part of the municipality of Veroia. It is not an ancient place as it was founded in 1922. Until 2011, it was an independent and separate town, but after that, it was combined with Verona under the act of Plan of Kallikratis. Now, it is a part of Veroia and consists of almost 69.047km. The fundamental reason of ultimate fame of Vergina is that it is regarded as the first capital and center of Macedon as well as the site of ancient Aigai. Abigail's history falls back in 336BC, and it has been awarded the title of ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO.
After the arrival in Vergina, our guided tour of the Royal Tombs and the Museum of Vergina started. It took us almost 2 hours to take a thorough tour of the whole site. We also took pictures and selfies to capture the memories of that incredible trip. Because of the fresh, exciting and exhilarating start, we all were very thrilled and energized. Around 10:45 am, we departed for the city of Ioannina. The journey from Vergina to Ioannina consisted of few hours, so we stopped once during the voyage to Ioannina at around 12:00 pm for the use of restrooms and to have some lunch or to buy snacks for the tour. After that, we again hit the road in almost 15-20 minutes.
We reached Ioannina at 1:30 pm. The name of Yannena is also known as Ioannina. It is the largest as well as the capital city of the Epirus and regarded as a significant and important management area in the north-western part of Greece. According to the census performed in 2011, Ioannina consists of 112,486 residents. It is a beautiful area which is almost 500 meters above the sea level near the western short of the Pamvotis Lake. The significance of Ioannina does not end here as it is also the capital of local unit of Ioannina and also of the Epirus region. If we see the area of Ioannina Geographically, it is located 80km in the east of the Igoumenitsa port in the sea of Ionian. The distance of this area from Thessaloniki is almost 290 km and is 450 km from Athens.
We went Ioannina for visiting Perama Cave. It is one of the most famous caves in the world. It is located almost 4km from the city of Ioannina on the road to Metsovo. Among all natural caves, it is the first one that has grabbed the attention of tourists from all over the world. It is a huge cave that extends almost 14.000 so. m. When this cave was explored, teeth of cave bears were found by the scientists and researchers. By nature, the Perama cave is majorly composed of limestone (calcium carbonate), and that is why numerous stalactites and stalagmites are hanging inside the cave. It took us almost 2 hours to complete the tour of this fabulous artwork of nature.
I must say I like the Perama cave and all the information provided by the guide about the cave inspired and excited me a lot. After that, as we all were hungry because of roaming and touring different places, we decided to take rest and have lunch by the Ioannina Lake. Lake Pamvotida is also commonly known as Lake Ioannina and is one of most beautiful and peaceful place I have ever seen. Lake Pamvotida is the largest lake of the Epirus, and it is located in an almost center of the regional unit of the Ioannina.
We spent almost one and a half an hour at the lake. We had lunch and toured the place. There was also a boating port. Some of us also enjoyed boating in the gorgeous looking water of the lake. The navigation service was also offering to take the tourists to the Ioannina Island. After spending quality time at the lake, we prepared to reach the hotel we were supposed to stay for the night. We arrived at the Hotel Du Lac at around 5:00 am. We checked in and shifted our belongings from the bus to our respective rooms. After that, we again hit the road in a few minutes to visit the old castle.
We reached at the old castle in an hour around 6:00 pm. It was almost evening time, and the sun had started to set behind the clouds. The shadows were getting darker and intense, and that scene was making the Old Castle more royal and imperial. I have the special interest in the places like old castles, forts and other prehistoric places and that is why I enjoyed the trip to this location very much. We did not spend much time at Old Castle or may be time felt short because I liked the scenery, environment, and scenario of the place.
However, we get back to our bus for an hour or so to get back to our hotel. We were back to the Hotel at around 7:15 pm. After that many students went out to explore the city but our group did not leave the hotel because one of our friends was feeling sick and tired. After she had felt okay, we went out to the nearby places to the Hotel around 8:00 pm and returned to the hotel at almost 10:30 pm. We had dinner outside and enjoyed a lot. Although much time has not passed since that trip, I miss that time very much.
We slept early around 11:30 pm because guide instructed us to wake up early for breakfast. Next day, on May 5th, we had breakfast at around 8:00 am, and then we got ready, clicked some pictures of each other till we were ready to depart for the trip of Meteora. We checked out from the Hotel Du Lac, filled their feedback forms with a positive response because we loved their service and everything else. We left for Meteora at around 10:00 am. The distance from Ioannina to Meteora is almost 103.3 km, and it took us nearly two hours to reach our desired destination.
We did not stop in between because it was not such a long distance and it was our first destination of the day. So to stick to the schedule, there was not rest stop in between that journey. We arrived at Meteora around 12:00 pm. Meteora is a place which fits accurately on its name as the word “Meteora” literally means ‘centre of the sky or suspended in the middle of the air.' Meteora is composed of hills or mountains like large round shaped boulders and massive, colossal pillars which seem to take over the whole area in sight. Not only this, but Meteora is also regarded as a specially important place because of its association with the most sharply and largest build compounds of Eastern Orthodox Monasteries (residences of religious communities) all over Greece.
If we compare the importance of Meteora to other places around, it only comes second to Mount Athos. Except for Mount Athos, Meteora is beaten by none. After arrival at Meteora, along with receiving this insightful information we also received a guided and exciting tour to the Monastery of Agios Stefanos as well as of Megalo Meteoro. It was a trip to remember for a lifetime. The construction of all those places is remarkable. It was hard to believe that such artistic, sharp and fabulous construction is made in the time of no or very less technology.
After completing the tour of Meteora, we stopped for the lunch break in the town of Kalambaka. Kalambaka is also known with the names Kalabaka and Kalampaka . Similar to Ioannina, Kalambaka is also a city as well as a metropolis in the regional unit of Trikala in Greece. According to the census of 2011, the estimated population of Kalambaka was 21,991 people. Out of this population, almost 8,330 people live in the town. The monasteries of Meteora are also situated in the same city. Kalambaka, being part of Thessaly, composes the northwestern terminal of the old railway line of Thessaly Railways. According to many types of research, Kalambaka is voted as one of the most attractive, stunning and beautiful places in Greece.
We had a quality and fantastic time in the town of Kalambaka. We had lunch and visited the neighborhood. After almost half an hour, we decided to go back and loaded our belongings onto the bus to start our journey back to Thessaloniki. It was almost 4:30 pm. The distance from Kalambaka town to Thessaloniki is approximately 227 km. It is a journey of nearly 3 hours, so we stopped during the way once for the use of restrooms and other things. Around 6:00 pm, we got on the road again. We reached back to Thessaloniki around 7:30 pm. We were only half an hour late from the scheduled time which did not matter because the trip was simply great.
Honestly, I was perplexed by my decision of that trip first, but I must say that I had two incredible days of my life because of that tour. All of the places were fantastic and immensely beautiful. Our tour guide was entertaining, and all of the information that he gave us was truly insightful and excellent. He entertained us a lot and told all the information in the form of interesting stories and tales, so we quickly remembered it and enjoyed it as well. The buses were comfortable, and sitting was natural and soft that prevented us from getting tired and irritated from constant traveling.
The whole trip was intellectually organized and managed. We got a proper break, lunch breaks, and necessary facilities. The Hotel Du Lac was remarkable and excellent in all respects. As a whole, each and everything regarding that trip was just superb. I will never miss any other trip in my student life because I have realized that these trips are a great source of refreshment, freshness, and chances of interaction with nature. I experienced the natural beauty so close to myself after a long time, and I felt great.
It was like catharsis that ultimately took all the negative energy, disturbing emotions, confused and complex thoughts away from my being. It is strange how in two days a person can feel changed, refreshed, energized and active. We came back with tired bodies but energized souls. This trip gave us positive energy, freshness, liveliness, and power to carry out our routine and daily life activities with more zeal and zest. After such great and perfect experience, I recommend everyone never to miss an opportunity to travel across the world.
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