So the ferry boat's wifi is up and working now and several students bought access. The views leaving Greece were spectacular - a beautiful goodbye to a country we enjoyed so much! We just passed by an area of the Mediterranean that came up listed on our gps as Ithaca... Which launched a few of our students into discussions of Odysseus' journey in The Odyssey.
it is nearly 10:30pm here now and the students are turning in to bed - or at least the few who are still awake.... Although the pool was closed for the season on the ship, the kids found good old fashioned ways to connect and wandered out to the decks to appreciate the beauty of the islands and the sea.
notice to all parents following the blog: there is no phone reception or wifi on our ferry boat tonight!!
All travelers are here, safe, and having fun! But you may not hear from them for the next 12ish hours...
When we wake up - we will be in Italy!!
Today we spent the morning and lunch time in Olympia, Greece. After breakfast, we visited a local producer of olive oils. We participated in an olive oil brief introduction and tasting session. Students used toothpicks and small prices of bread to taste the wide array of olive oils produced throughout Greece!
We spent the latter half of the morning until 2pm exploring the original Olympic stadium and the ancient Olympic Village. After learning about the history of the area and quite a bit more Greek Mythology, we were able to walk throughout the site, run on the original Olympic track, and marvel at the ruins of the temple of Zeus.
After our tour of the Olympic Village and Stadium, we toured the museum (where the students found ore wifi ;-) and we ate lunch at a delightful little outdoor Greek restaurant before loading the bus to travel on to Patras. This is our last day in Greece, and we will spend tonight on a ferry boat on international waters. So Goodbye Greece!! It's been fun, but Italy here we come!!!
From Athens, to Corinth, to Epidaurus, to Mycenae, to Olympia..... Today was a full day of travel through lush landscapes, iconic landmarks, and short stops and visits to an ancient theater, palace, tomb, and modern Grecian pottery shop!
our first stop was at Epidaurus - the most complete example of an Ancient Greek amphitheater that still exists... It was amazing to walk up and down the stairs, relax in the seats, and listen to the acoustics that the Greeks had designed so many centuries ago!
Our next stop was in Mycenae... We visited the Acropolis of Mycenae - the palace and stronghold of King Agamemnon. This site dates back to the 14th century BC!!! The surrounding landscapes were unreal. At one point, Ellie turned to me and exclaimed that there was so much incredible farm land in every direction. I smiled and thought - that was a very thoughtful "Wyoming" -like observation to make! We had quite the lesson grounded both in history and mythology by a clever local guide where we learned that Morgan has quite a bit of background in Mythology... :-) When we finished touring and learning, we had an opportunity to enjoy the best fresh squeezed orange juice imaginable! We then ventured on to Agamemnon's father's tomb where we faced a swarm of bees head on to enter the dark, swampy-smelling cave/tomb. We then ate lunch at a rather posh Greek restaurant in Mycenae and said goodbye to our local guide, Theodore - who Garrett, Jack, & Jer seemed especially attached to... :-)
After leaving Mycenae, we ventured forwardtoward Olympia, stopping along the way to visit a lovely artisan shop full of handmade pottery and statues where we also observed a brief Greek pottery demonstration! We are still in the bus, closing in onOlympia where we will stay for the night, and we are surrounded by beautiful landscapes out of every window!! When we arrive, we will enjoy another dinner together and settle in for the night!
today we began our day with breakfast and an introductory tour of the city or Athens. After stopping at important buildings, a former leader's mansion, and the Olympic stadium, we visited the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Museum Acropolis....
After the museum visit, we broke off into small groups and explored various parts in the city. Some students went shopping, others went to the pier or the beach, but all were back on time! Half of our group enjoyed the "Greek Evening" tonight, complete with a traditional Greek meal, music and dancing - and the other half spent time with one of their chaperones to either take in the beaches with a seaside dinner or go watch the sunset from the Rocks beneath the Parthenon and eat lamb souvlaki while listening to live Greek music and "smashing plates." ☺️
All in all, today was an exciting day for all, and we are turning in to bed quite thoroughly exhausted!
Tonight was a stress free night... We met the tour director, Artin, at the airport and took a bus into the city center to our hotel. As we drove into the city, the cityscape spread out before us, glistening and ivory-colored. Athens truly is a beautiful city! We checked into our hotel and had some rest time before a buffet dinner at the hotel... Complete with delicious Greek olives, salads, stuffed peppers, and local meats.
After dinner, travelers had two options - return to their hotel rooms to rest up for tomorrow, or to enter further into the city to explore at nighttime with Brent, Tamatha, and me... 5 BHS travelers chose sleep as it was difficult to sleep on the plane, but the other 12 ventured into the city to see the Parthenon, plaka, and a few famous squares all lit up for the night. While out, we found shops, gelato, desserts, delicious coffee, and several landmarks, artifacts, and pleasant scenes... We returned to the hotel by 10:15 and called it a night.
Wake up calls are at 6:45am tomorrow morning, and we will hit the ground running to explore the beautiful city of Athens!
its been nearly 24 hours since we left Billings, but we have arrived safely in Athens! All travelers are accounted for, and most are healthy. :-) our overnight flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam left several of our travelers a bit ill because we had to stall above Amsterdam for an extra twenty minutes waiting to be cleared to land.
On Sunday, March 27th, I will be traveling with 2 other chaperons and 17 adventurous and inquisitive high school students on an educational adventure of a lifetime! We will also be traveling with a smaller cohort of 13 travelers from Kaycee and a group of 11 travelers from southern California! Our first stop will be Athens! then on to Epidaurus, Mycenae, Olympia, Patras, Pompeii, and Rome! We will visit iconic monuments, wander the streets a bit, and listen to presentations non-stop teaching us details about the culture, history, and geography of Greece & Italy as we travel! We may also eat our weight in gelato. ;-)
While I hope this will be a fun and exciting experience for students, I also hope that they learn a TON about history, culture, and open their minds to new foods, people, places, and experiences as we travel. I have always been (and will always remain) an advocate for travel and developing global competencies, and this is just one more opportunity to bring the world to my students, and ultimately, expand their thinking.
Feel free to check back often with this blog - as students take pictures of what they see, I generally try to take pictures of them to capture the moment as they visit incredible places and experience new things. Nightly as we travel, I will try to update our blog with details about the day with pictures to tell the story!
Alright friends, let's pack our bags and prepare ourselves, it's going to be an amazing time!