Hey, students in Irving!
Here’s an update about the Fall Romers. This past week we had two big midterms, but we were finished by Thursday afternoon when we kicked off the Greece Trip with the G(r)eek Olympics. We made togas out of sheets, and each team had a different color. We started the festivities with a run through the vineyard carrying the Olympic torch then engaged in several competitions – you’ll have to wait for your Rome semester to find out what they are, though! “Cash for Gold” – the team with gold togas – was the victor.
We left campus at 6 a.m. on Friday to take a long bus ride to the east coast of Italy. Our overnight ferry to Greece, the Superfast XI, was luxurious – with bedrooms, restaurants and several decks from which to look at the Adriatic Sea. After resting and hanging out during the day, a bunch of us crowded the “discoteca” and had a dance party that night.
On Saturday we landed in Greece. After a Greek breakfast near the port, we went to Dodona, one of the oldest cities in Greece. The mountains were breathtaking, and the rustling of the oak trees was very peaceful. After some interesting lectures from the professors, eight of the students performed a scene from “Antigone” in one of the oldest amphitheatres in the world.
Then we went to Meteora, which means “suspended rocks.” We encountered several giant sandstone pillars with monasteries built directly on top of them. Until fairly recently, there were no stairs to go up to the monasteries, so the monks would pull visitors up the sheer cliff sides in baskets. With roads now we took charter buses directly to the largest monasteries.
On Sunday we went to Mount Parnassus in Delphi where the Pythia, the Delphic oracle, used to reside. The view from the top of the mountain to the olive groves and sea below is absolutely spectacular. It has been my favorite site in Greece thus far because there is so much natural beauty and historical significance.
We have not had any problems as tourists during our travels in Greece so far. In fact, the shop owners in Delphi gave us huge discounts on items in their stores because they wanted our business.
One incident did remind us of the economic troubles in Greece, though. A Greek guard at one of the historical sites in Delphi did not let us sit on rocks where students have sat in the past. He made us move to a different area to listen to the professors’ lectures. Dr. Peter Hatlie explained that in these difficult economic times, people have to be careful to keep their jobs, so the man was being stingy with us so that he could not be blamed for any problems at the site.
Over the next seven days, we will be traveling to several cities in Greece, including Athens and Mycenae. After that we’ll return to Rome for a couple of weeks of classes before heading out on our own for Ten Day. The semester is flying by. Be sure to send mail to your friends in Rome!