CENTRAL GREECE GODS, PHILOSOPHERS, MYTHS, warriors, kingdoms, ancient cities, history, history, history, monks on mountain tops, mainland Greece has stories to tell.Delphi, Ioannina, Meteora and maybe somewhere else. On the slope of Mount Parnassus, Delphi has been a site of human settlement for about 3000 years.Apollo's sacred precinct in Delphi, where every four years, starting in 586 BC Greek athletes competed in the Pythian Games, one of the four Panhellenic Games.Delphi's Hippodrome, home of chariot races.The mountains around ancient Delphi and modern Kastri.Delphi's 4th century BC theatre had some pretty cool views, and seating for 4500.Mountains in the background of a church roof, Meteora.High on dramatic mountain tops, Meteora's monastries were a place for isolated meditation by its monks. Some never left.Near the town of Kalambaka, in mainland Greece, mountain top monastries date back up to 700 years.In the good old days, there were no stairs, and monks used ropes and pulleys to get themselves and goods up.I guess if you want to be left alone to meditate, this would be the place.The Monastry of Varlaam, 1542, is the second largest of the 24 monastries.Dating from the 14th century the Monastry Of Great Meteoron is the largest.The monks also found time to make wine.The northern town of Ioannina is a friendly, easy going place, the perfect getaway if you have been robbed in Athens.The town's fort, Its Kale, is the focus of historical interest.There's a mosque and several old churches up there, and the views are free.A quick ferry ride to the island, and there are chuches galore, and mosques.And frogs' legs. No bad, not great. Plenty of other Greek goodies to gouge on.The island's museums, with the history of Ali Pasha's cruel reign, are worth the time.Like many rulers of the period, Ali Pasha brooked no dissent, and had a habit of disposing of "enemies" in creative ways.Back on dry land, there are plenty of ancient villages to visit around Ioannina.There are also some fine short walks..........and challenging overnight hikes.Without a car, the area is too hard to explore, but with wheels, views like these aren't hard to come by.For the enthusiastic, trekking through Vikos Gorge takes you to the charming old stone Papingo villages.Of course, then you have to get back to your vehicle, so we just headed down, along the river, and back.Mikro (small) and Megalo (big) Papingo are just two of the many villages a short drive from Ioannina.The rustic stone villages are full of guesthouses and eateries, but are not tacky.Churches and monasteries, as well as other historic buildings dot the towns.The mountain settings are cool and pleasant, and hikes lead further into the mountains as well.The whole area is dotted with quaint old villages, usually built from stone, sitting on mountain sides or rivers.Small rivers run under ancient bridges in cool forests.After a brief shower, mist rose from the clear waters of this blue stream, probably a metaphor of some sort. Ioannina is good!