Balkans Day 12: Kalambaka (part 1)

Having taken a walk up through some of the rock formations and then topped off the evening with a couple of drinks at the campsite bar before retiring to the cottage with a few bottles of Mythos beer the previous day  we arose early on our twelfth day and walked into Kalambaka taking in the sights of the rocks in the early morning sunshine.

Some of the taller rock pillars on the way from Kastraki to Kalambaka in the morning sun.
Some houses in Kastraki lying down in a valley.
Rock pillars reaching up for the sun.

Coming into Kalambaka we stopped in a square in the town centre for some tea which was served up with complimentary cake as we watched the world go by.

The pleasant square with its fountain and statues where we had tea.

Suitably refreshed from our tea and cake we set off through the streets of the town and to our pleasant surprise came across a street market being set up nearby.  Clothes, shoes, fruit, vegetables and sweets were all for sale in another small square and several of the streets running off from it, all under the imposing shadow of the rock pillars.  The market was certainly a lively affair with a large number of the town’s residents out buying their fruit and veg and the clothes sellers doing a roaring trade.

The square was the main location for the stalls selling clothes and shoes.
The market rapidly became busy as people did their shopping before the day got too hot.
Many of the vegetable stalls were in the streets with more shade.
All the business was carried out directly under the huge pillars of rock looming over the town.
The watermelons were the size of baby elephants!
The produce on sale was some of the freshest and largest you’ll ever see.
Some of the items on sale were a little more unusual.

All this walking around saw us work up a bit of a thirst so we returned to one of the other small squares where we relaxed for a while as some of the locals took a break from the growing heat of the day.  We sat at a shaded table near a small pool with an artificial waterfall pouring from one side and just people-watched for a time.

The cooling pool and waterfall we sat near.
Some of the locals engaged in lively conversations nearby.

Deciding to walk down in the other direction we went along what appeared to be the town’s main shopping street before noticing a sign pointing out the ‘old town pathway’ so we made up our minds to follow this which turned out to be fairly pleasant walk through some quaint areas before we found ourselves on a footpath leading up into the rocks above the town.

The road going through the old area.
Some of the gardens had beautiful flowers in bloom.

Leaving the town behind the path soon began to climb up between the rock formations winding its way through trees and bushes of all sorts all accompanied by the almost deafening racket of millions of crickets.  Looking back the way we had come we had some amazing views out over the edges of the town to the start of the Plain of Thessaly and the mountains on the other side of the valley.  The Plain of Thessaly is the most fertile area in all of Greece and agriculture provides the town with one its main sources of jobs and prosperity aside from tourism.

The path winds its way through the trees and shrubs and around the base of one of the rock pillars.
The plain beyond the woods at the bottom of the rocks with the mountains beyond.
One of the millions of crickets which provided the soundtrack to our whole holiday.

Being a pair of old farts, and desperately unfit to boot, we only went part-way up the path before the heat got a bit too much and we turned back to go back town.  Returning to the town centre we were a bit hungry after our (almost) exertions so we got a couple of seats at a fairly busy restaurant near the square where we’d had a drink earlier to have some late lunch/early dinner.  This turned out to be a whole lot better than the previous day’s attempt at eating.  The place we chose was a family-run restaurant which was obviously popular and justifiably so.

I had a local chicken dish while Mrs M thought she’d try a lamb and aubergine dish both of which were excellent as was the service.  We enjoyed a post-meal drink watching the life of Kalambaka pass us by and enjoying the complimentary ice-cream we were given before setting off on our evening adventure exploring the rock formations and the fascinating monasteries which perch atop some of the pillars.

The restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious afternoon meal.
The covered terrace where we dined.

















18 thoughts on “Balkans Day 12: Kalambaka (part 1)

  1. What extraordinary rocks…. did they make you feel claustrophobic as they towered above? They look dramatic, but not sure I’d have like it! The market looks amazing though!


  2. In the pic “the road going through the old area” made me think…the giant rock formations are like guardians carefully protecting the homes and the people inside. Love the cricket!


  3. I’ve been following your blog now for some time now; your photography is getting better and better, plus your reporting on this trip is great. The personal view you take is particularly inviting. Thanks for taking time to post about things that would never show up in the travel magazines.


    1. Thanks very much for your encouraging words Ben. Nice to hear. I’ve always been able to write fairly lucidly and the photography is more instinctive than anything else. Glad you’re enjoying our wee adventure 😀


  4. I was so taken my those magnificent rocks that I had to do some research. It is amazing.
    And I have read ahead 🙂
    Your writings in the subsequent posts are far better than the research I did.


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