The alarm woke us at eight. We wanted an early start since we were on another sightseeing mission, though we wouldn’t be beating the (other) tourists this time, since we still had around thirty miles of riding to do to get to Meteora.The sun was shining and the road was quiet, taking us through sleepy little farming villages, and the only little niggle in the back of my mind was that we had about sixteen euros between us, two empty fuel tanks, and it was very unlikely that any of the bemused farmers we rode past would produce a card machine. We decided to spend our last bit of cash on petrol for the girls (of course) and stop at Kalampaka; the little town at the base of the looming sandstone formations on the horizon.
Parked on a side road, we grabbed a couple of freddos and wandered into Kalampaka’s central square. For such a small town, surrounded by sleepy farming communities, the centre was inexplicably chaotic. Cars and scooters parked three deep while drivers honked at geriatric pedestrians crossing between cafes; the whole thing was a bit of a jar to the senses after a quiet morning’s ride. We popped into a little bakery at Maria’s insistence that we try ‘traditional easter bread’ (basically her favourite bun, but bigger and with a red egg on top – I’m not falling for that ruse) and then climbed back on the bikes and started winding our way up through the rocky beginnings of Meteora.