The birthday of two tour members, Dr. Klein and Cleo Potter. We visited two outstanding archaeological sites, Mycenae and Epidauros. Mycenae, with its famous lion gate, was dug by the legendary Schliemann, who also excavated Troy and named the various tombs after Atreus, Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, etc. We had seen some of his exquisite gold finds in the National Museum of Athens, though the Mycenae museum has replicas. At Epidauros, an ancient center of healing, we were enjoying the cool breezes and classical atmosphere when hordes of Greek high school students descended on the theatre. We have first-hand evidence that the ancient acoustics still work! At night we ate in Nafplio, a taste of home dinner of pizza and pasta. The group sang happy birthday to Dr. Klein and Cleo and shared in some Greek cake with chocolate sauce. After dinner many group members returned to the famous Italian gelato shop or the Greek doughnut shop for a good night treat, then strolled along the seafront. We have fallen in love with Nafplio and can see why it is a popular vacation destination for Athenians.
Today we explored Corinth, hiked up the Acrocorinth, a fortified citadel used by many armies, and had a picnic on the summit. While visiting Corinth we took many a sports action picture including cartwheels and jumping into piggy back rides capturing an excellent shot of Tara wiping out which was definitely funnier the second, third, and fourth times we looked at it. After leaving Corinth we drove up to the entrance to the Acrocorinth, promptly beginning our 30 minute journey to the summit where we enjoyed stunning views along with a picnic packed by our tour guide and bus driver of Greek olives, bread, feta cheese, and tomatoes. As we began back down the ancient fortress we had our second wipe out of the day executed by Katie Henshaw rolling majestically in the dirt coming off with only a few scrapes and still having an excellent attitude. But no need to fear, everyone made it back down to non-citadel earth safely. Even with our wipe outs, Corinth was worth every second because of the views of mountains, oceans, and Greek cities, walking on ground that people have been walking for centuries, and the laughs we have all shared.
My favorite experience...
I have come to the conclusion that my favorite site that we've attended was the theater at Epidaurus, which we visited yesterday. It was very amusing to see nearly half of the Saint Stephens crew shout out ululations from the bottom of the theater to the other half of the Saint Stephens crew at the top of the theater. What can I say, I'm a little immature (if you haven't gathered). Also, I was able to justify all of that gelato after having climbed what felt like 500 steps to the top of that theater.
My favorite experience thus far has just been wandering the streets of Athens. It's really cool to experience another culture up close and personal like that. Doing so gives one a better understanding and appreciation for the ancient sites as you see the evolution of civilization. It's also nice to experience hospitality in a world where foreigners aren't always welcome.
Thus far, my favorite experience has been speaking with locals. Though not easy, it really makes one think about cultural differences and their importance or lack thereof. It has been fascinating to speak with certain locals about their thoughts on Europe as a whole, their experiences in other European nations and even which other languages they speak. These few conversations helped me to realize that the margin of difference between us and those from Greece is not as large as one may think.
My favorite part of the trip so far has been hiking Palamedes, which is a medieval fort on the top of a hill in Nafplio. Although we had to hike up approximately 895 steps to get there (not including other steps inside the actual fort), the views at the top were phenomenal. We had the chance to explore the fort, climbing ever higher to find the best views. It was so much fun to have the chance to freely explore the fort with my friends, and the history and geography of its location made it even better. There was a beautiful view of the Aegean Sea and the whole town of Nafplio (we could even see our hotel and people eating breakfast on the deck). The only downside to our excursion was going back down all 895 steps....
My favorite part of the trip so far has been the free time. Yes, the museums and historic sites and so on were amazing and really interesting, but those parts were already a part of the trip I expected. But in our free time, it was like we were on top of the world. We did what we wanted, saw amazing views and quiet streets that were serene, peaceful, and beautiful. Sharp graffiti, fried dough covered on chocolate, and laughing with friends so hard you can barely breathe has made the trip real. Beautiful views made the trip amazing, but free time gave us the opportunity to appreciate the Greek society and lifestyle through the ages and it really gave insight into the true beauty of the classical world. I could understand and work through the beauty on my own time, and have fun while at it!
|Latin students (on top of the world) at Acrocorinth after a picnic lunch|
|Temple of Apollo at Corinth|
|Dr. Klein and former creative writing student Tom at Acrocorinth|
|Picnic lunch: olives, bread, oranges, feta, and tomatoes (a wonderful lunch)|
|Students looking at the amazing views before the hike up to Acrocorinth|
|Julia and Tara in front of the Temple of Apollo at Corinth|
|Temple of Apollo|
|Heather in front of the orange orchard outside of Nafplio|
|Cleo (The day of Cleo) the day after her birthday|
|Petros' house and orange orchard|
|Katie, Liza, and Dokken were three of the brave few to hike Palamedes |
Fortress early in the morning (Ann, Bit, Sarah, and Mr. Hochberg also hiked)
|View inside the castle|
|Liza inside the fortress|
|Cleo enjoying gelato on her birthday!|
|Island fortress as viewed at night from Nafplio|
|Mr. Hochberg hiking in tunnels|
|Mr. Hochberg and Dr. Klein on Acrocorinth|
|Seniors on Acrocorinth|
|Dr. Grissom at orange orchard|