Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saints in Greece: Our Gracious Hosts


March 27th:
Our bus driver Stelios has driven backwards for us in the small narrow streets of Delphi.  Despite a rainy start to the day, students were in high spirits because Stelios provided them with large umbrellas.  He knew a shortcut to the Peloponnesus and also adroitly steered around a large truck at one of the ubiquitous, rather pedestrian, sharp turns of Greek roads, which wind across the rugged terrain.  I mention this not to alarm parents, but rather illustrate what goods hands we are in.  Likewise, our tour guide Smaro brings seventeen years of professionalism, pride, and passion to her craft.  We are lucky to have such a knowledgeable, sophisticated guide.  She could speak for hours on any topic, and while she may sometimes get carried away with her descriptions, her enthusiasm does not go unnoticed by the students nor unappreciated.  Addressing an audience of classicists and non-classicists requires a delicate balance.  Some kids are a little "classicsed-out", but all appreciate the leisure time in the afternoons and the freedom to explore their environs (small, provincial towns) in small groups.

Stelios, our driver 
A four hour road trip from Delphi to Nafplio offered plenty of time for a midday day siesta.  Kids woke up for a snack and view of the Corinth Canal.  At Nafplio students saw the bus pull up next to a dilapidated, abandoned hotel covered with graffiti.  Not our hotel, whew!  Our hotel, Pension Marianna, was the antithesis of this -- a charming, complex of rooms owned by four sweet brothers, (we have met Takis and Pannos, and Petros, has an orange grove we hope to go to) which was passed down to them from their grandfather.  Students excitedly checked out each other's rooms, different in layout and design.  The views from the rooms were more outstanding than those of the rooms themselves.  The pension is built in a Venetian fort with a commanding view of the harbor.  Ricks Steves has stayed at our pension and described it in a segment on Nafplio, which he calls the most beautiful city in Greece.  You check out this video on the Marianna website.
Smaro, our tour guide

Takis, one of the four brothers

The Lion's Gate at Mycenae

A view of Nafplio

Students Alex, Tara, Rice, and Sarah at Mycenae

Students Zach, Joshua, and Matthew at Epidaurus' theater

Students overlooking a stadium at Epidaurus

Tom at an entrance to a bee-hive, burial tomb

Julia and Kate

Tom, Michael, and John at Mycenae

Burial Tomb at Mycenae

No comments: