My big Greek adventure
For two weeks in June, nine of us set out on a trip to Greece expecting to learn about the country and its history, but along the way we also learned about ourselves.
We began our trip with a visit to the Acropolis, or “city on high.” Walking up to the Parthenon was quite a hike, and we all stood breathless at the top as Professor Ballengee told us all about it. The Acropolis was built in a way that was meant to make Athens’ visitors gape. Imagine it like this: in order to visit the White House and its surrounding monuments, you had to first walk around a giant mound of earth, and up copious amounts of stairs before you could reach what was above.
Over the next two weeks our excursions ranged all over the country. We traveled from Tolo to Olympia and from Olympia to Delphi with plenty of ruins, shopping, and ridiculous adventures in between.
While staying in Tolo we rode in our golden chariot (driven by the amazing Sakis) to the ancient cities of Corinth and Acrocorinth. Corinth, we learned, had once been a thriving city full of baths, shops and important people.
While visiting Corinth, our professor had us do an exercise: we closed our eyes and imagined that all the fallen walls around us stood once more, and that the city was again full of Corinthians living their everyday lives. It was awe-inspiring to feel such a connection with history. To stand where thousands had stood, never thinking that one day a group of awkward college kids would be learning about where they had washed themselves and eaten.
We then set out for Acrocorinth. Cool, right? No big deal, just onto the next historical site where a thousand prostitutes used to live. But wait, did you know that Acrocorinth is ON A MOUNTAIN? Yeah, it is, and we climbed that mountain, some of us more slowly than others, but we all made it. The view was breathtaking, and after a quick rest and some pictures for proof, we were able to really take in the magnitude of the great city that had once graced the mountain. We stood at the highest point, where the Temple to Athena had been before the elements had gotten to it.
Back at our Tolo hotel, we swam in the Mediterranean Sea and participated in a Greek dance festival. We later decided that Tolo was our favorite, a cute little beach town that at the time was virtually deserted—it felt like it was ours entirely. We learned just as much about Greece on our down time as we did visiting the sites. We interacted with locals, used our knowledge of the Greek language and got to know one another.
Little things went wrong throughout the trip, but we always had a positive attitude and frequently used John Lennon’s “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” along with other cliché life quotes (cough YOLO) to get us through.
Mountains, beaches and islands, oh my! We certainly had quite the adventure.
Probably the most important lesson that we learned on the trip was global awareness—that the world does not revolve around us, and that is something that I will keep with me forever.