Cities, treasures, and monasteries
Although Paul had to leave Thessaloniki under cover of darkness and threats from the ruling authorities, our group was able to leave on a much more positive note. This was our second consecutive day of sunshine and blue skies as we traveled anticipating out of the way cities, treasures, and the monasteries in the sky.
Our first stop was Berea (a city to which Paul traveled after sneaking out of Thessaloniki) where we heard about the noble Jewish Bereans and their testing of Paul's message. We were also able to see an old Jewish synagogue (perhaps the one Paul preached at) and make a brief stop to share a hymn in a small Pentecostal church.
After Berea, we headed to the museum and tomb of King Phillip II (father of Alexander the Great) and saw some of the most impressive, intricate golden crowns and other treasures from ancient Macedonia.
We then traveled across the mountains to Meteroa, an area where monks constructed (beginning after the 11th century) numerous monasteries on the tops of rocky cliffs and columns, accessible only by rope, hundreds of stairs, or a draw bridge. Around a half dozen monasteries still exist and are open to the public. We were able to visit one which offered sweeping views of the plains of Thessaly as well as intricate iconography and wood carving in its church. Although the rugged beauty of the snowy mountains and valleys has been impressive and sobering (especially thinking about Paul making his way through this terrain) the group is also excited to find perhaps slightly warmer weather in Athens for our last few days here in Greece.
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