My Peloponnesian Excursion

Posted on October 31st, 2010 by

To anyone out there who is searching for a study abroad program, I highly suggest you pick a program that includes class field trips in the surrounding areas of the city where the actual program is located. My study abroad school has offered so many trips enabling me to see so many historical sights that I would not otherwise had a chance to see let alone had interesting lectures on them included.

This past week I traveled throughout the Peloponnese with CYA; the trip was very rewarding yet was tiring since we were in a different hotel each night. My bus [Bus D aka bus awesome] headed to Delphi our first day. We stopped in the mountain village of Arachova on the way. There I had my first taste of rural Greek life. The village was so quiet and picturesque. Athens is nice and filled with ancient monuments, but if I were ever to move to Greece it would have to be to a small town like Arachova. Having grown up in the small suburbian town of Jordan I know small towns are where it’s at.

Temple of Apoll
The belly button of the world is an outie.

Next stop was Delphi and then we spent the night in the village town five minutes away. Ancient Delphi was beautiful. There are many treasuries that were built by various countries to show off their wealth and power. Delphi was considered the center of the Ancient Greek world and was often called the ομφαλός [omphalos or navel/belly button] of the world. The museum there was pretty cool also. There were a bunch of cute kitties outside of it.

I was wearing the wrong shoes.

The next day we headed to the origin of the olympics –> Olympia. I had the opportunity to sprint on the actual ground that ancient athletes long ago ran their races on. Every ancient site has guards everywhere to make sure the visitors do not misbehave. I often got yelled at and was almost chases down because I kept climbing on wall and things I shouldn’t [I needed to get the best angles for the pictures I was taking].

Got whistled at for climbing on a pillar to take this picture.

The temple of Zeus was quite impressive [see left]; it was built with massive column drums which all toppled over to one side. There were two museums in Olympia concerning athletics. They contained a lot of cool stuff-for example the supposed helmet of Miltiades [from the battle of Marathon].

I thought this statue was kind of creepy with its ivory and jewel encrusted eyes.  There are many cool flowers in Greece. Here is an unknown specimen I found in the sanctuary of Olympia.

On day three we journeyed to the Palace of Nestor, Methone, and explored Pylos, where we spent the night. Methone was really cool there was this huge Venetian fortification that we spent a good hour exploring. My favorite part of this day was seeing Ancient Pylos and the island of Sphacteria. I am translating the section of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian war that describes the battle between the Athenians and Spartans. Seeing the island and bay really made all those hours spent translating the past few months worth it and made the text come alive for me.

Fig

Figs are the weirdest looking fruit [?]. They’re like small, flat, and dis-coloured pumpkins. They did not taste so good either; I definitely prefer them inside fig newton.

I hate to break to you kids, but Sparta is BORING. There is nothing there except for this statue. And a museum of the Olive. Yeah, a whole museum dedicated to the history of olives and it’s by-products. It was pretty cool actually.

Lions Gate
Tomb of Atreus

We spent Friday and Saturday night in the pretty little town of Nauplion. On Saturday we went to Mycenae. Famous Lions Gate and the tomb of Atreus-what more need I say?

I’m not usually adventurous when it comes to food [I mean, I’ve eaten the same sandwich at Subway since I was 5], but in one of the tavernas I tried rooster, goat, & bull. They were good-I recommend.

Sunday arrived and my Peloponnese trip was coming to a close. On the way home my bus stopped in Epidaurus where there is a huge amphitheatre. The acoustics are so amazing that you can drop a nickel in the center of the stage and it can be heard hitting the stone clearly in all 12,300 seats. I sang Amazing Grace to demonstrate the acoustics at the request of my professor; amazing experience–I wish I could sing in there everyday. Corinth was the last stop, but there really wasn’t much there except a mountain top fortification.

If I had to choose one thing that I got out of this trip and will carry home with me, it would be that I have acquired a love for the mountains. There are no mountains in Minnesota sadly; I think I will have to move near some one day since they are so majestic and just speak to the wonder of God’s creation.

 

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