The ferry silts the calm sea when suddenly, after following the jagged coast of Albania and flanked the island of Corfu, it turns towards the bay of Igoumenitsa. A fresh morning, the ferry docks with a slight delay and immediately begins the journey. The road runs fast on steep hills, climbs up the sides of mountains covered with green pine forests and finally descends to perdifiato towards Ioannina. We are attracted by the quiet promenade along the lake and we are surprised by the mixed soul of this city where today’s European and Balkan tourists mix a distant memory of the Arab world and a more current Orthodox mysticism. To remind us of the smell of the streets of Ioannina, where Arab sweets, spices and silver handicrafts are still sold, as in a Middle Eastern souk. Overlooking an esplanade, which was the palace and still the tomb of Ali Pasha, the Ottoman ruler of Ioannina, where minarets and Orthodox churches coexist, in an architectural and cultural contrast that unexpectedly bring us closer to the eastern borders of Europe.
Still a few hours of travel and the natural spectacle of the Meteora monasteries, opens up before our eyes, leaving us speechless. The monks of the monastery of Varlaam look at us with detachment as we climb the stairs overhanging the monolithic rock formations, which explain to us that they have formed as the result of river erosion.