Monday, November 23, 2015

Field Trip to Greece

By E.L. Age 15
Since my family has been studying ancient cultures and history this year, my mom planned a trip to Greece so we could see the cities we learned about. We took RyanAir from Frankfurt Hahn to Thessaloniki and then from Thessaloniki to Athens.

In Athens, we first saw Hadrian’s Library and walked the Plaka. The Temple of Zeus is enormous even with only 15 columns standing of the original 104 columns. Right beside the Temple is Hadrian’s Arch. We hiked up to the Acropolis to see the monuments. The tour groups arrived at the same time, but left before we did. Afterwards, we wandered over to the Ancient Agora. Many ruins are in this area. We made time to see the changing of the guards at the Parliament in the evening. It was a spectacular sight for everyone to see.We loved seeing Agamemnon’s mask at the Archaeological museum.The new Acropolis Museum is stunning, with a clear floor to see ruins underneath, and a replica of the ancient Parthenon with many of the original reliefs and sculptures on the top floor. Around the corner from the Acropolis Museum, we ate the best food of our whole trip at an adorable family-owned restaurant. He hugged and kissed us all when we left! It is recommended by Rick Steves.
After two days in Athens, we took our rented on a road trip. The first stop on our drive was Mycenae. In Mycenae, we hiked around the famous hilltop ruins of the ancient city where we saw tombs, houses, and a beautiful view of the valley surrounding the sights. We were able to see the tomb of Agamemnon, the mythological king. There is also a small museum with artifacts from the hilltop ruins.
Next on our road trip, we ventured to Kalamata to spend time at the beaches. The beaches were rocky and the weather was warm. We did not really do much there except play in the pool, at the beach, and get pretty pictures for my mom’s blog.
The following day we drove to Olympia. We had a lot of fun seeing the sight of the first Olympics and training grounds of athletes. It was very large and hot but it was definitely worth the walk to see all the ruins. This is where contestants trained. My sister and dad ran the stadia, which was the original event in the ancient Olympics. We saw the workshop of Pheidias, who was a Greek sculptor, painter, and architect. His statue of Zeus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. My mom was ecstatic, and my brother liked the seashells in the cement. There is a small museum with many famous statues.
 After returning to Kalamata for the night, we left the next day for  Napflio. This city is right by the sea and is very picturesque to walk around. We drove up to the fortress that overlooks the bay, and then drove down to buy Italian gelato. We found the best worry bead shop in Greece and everyone in my family picked one out. Be warned: they can get expensive.
Continuing our road trip, we traveled to Epidavros. The best preserved ancient theater is located here. The acoustics really are amazing. My mom performed two monologues from Sophocles and Euripides in front of a group of students. After they all left, my siblings and I sang a song. There is also a temple to Asclepius and a small museum.
After touring Epidavros as the last city on our on road trip, we flew back to Thessaloniki. We had two full days at the end of our trip before flying back to Germany to explore, so we rented a car. We toured the Byzantine and Archeological museums. At the Byzantine museum, we enjoyed seeing all the jewelry and pottery. The preserved mosaics and coins were very interesting to look at and read about. We walked along the boardwalk to see the statues of Alexander the Great and Aristotle, and took a boat ride around the bay on a ship called the Argo.We got the best Italian-style pizza and before we went to our hotel, and stopped at a French dessert café. There were so many churches to find and explore. The Temple and Catacombs of St. John the Baptist had a natural spring we drank from in the catacombs. We listened to a Vespers service at the Agia Sofia.
This was a whirlwind tour that only lasted a week because we had obligations to get back to here in Germany. My favorite part was spending my 15th birthday in Athens and getting to see the Acropolis. I hope to go back someday to tour the islands and see Delphi.