Early in the morning on September 30, the Fall 2016 Romers headed off to their 10 day trip to Greece. Students were joined by Dr. Hatlie (Western Civilization professor), Dr. Mirus (Philosophy professor), Dr. Glicksman (Theology professor), Father Garrett Ahlers (chaplain for the trip), and the Student Life staff. Dr. Moran (Literature professor) also joined the group for a few days. Blessed with nearly perfect weather, the Fall 2016 class explored major cities and sites in Greece, including Meteora, Delphi, Athens, Mycenae, Nafplion, and Olympia, and they even took a day excursion to two picturesque Greek islands! Each semester of the Rome program, the Greece trip proves itself to be a pivotal part of students’ experience abroad, as it solidifies their knowledge of the classical Greek culture studied so closely freshman year and in these first couple of months of the Rome program.
Fall 2016 Itinerary:
September 30: The first day of the Greece trip began with an early wake-up call before heading off to Bari, a port city and home of the Basilica of St. Nicholas. The class then boarded the Superfast Ferry for an overnight trip to Greece!
October 1: The class landed in the port city of Igoumenitsa very early in the morning. From there, after their first sampling of a real Greek breakfast with yogurt, the group headed to the archaeological sight of Dodona. After the site visit, the students ate lunch in the quaint town of Metsovo. Then, after lunch, the students visited the Grand Meteoron Monastery, one of 24 monasteries built on top of rocky crags in order to avoid political strife caused by the Turks in the 14th century.
October 2: Sunday began with a stunning drive through the mountains to Delphi with a stop at the hot gates of Thermopylae on the way. The group visited the Archaeological Site of Delphi, where students heard from Drs. Hatlie and Mirus. A small group of students also performed a scene from Aeschylus’ Eumenides. Following a self-guided tour of the Archaeological Museum, the students checked into their hotels and then attended Sunday Mass with Father Garrett.
October 3: Monday morning some students got up before dawn to hike Mt. Parnassos and see the sunrise. Then, it was off to Athens! Along the way, the class stopped at the Monastery of Hosios Loukas, famous for its Byzantine art and architecture, unique hand-painted icons, and delicious Greek honey. The students were led on tours of the beautiful monastery by Dr. Hatlie, David Flynn, and Ivanna Bond. When the class reached Athens, they visited the Pnyx to learn about politics in Ancient Greece from Dr. Hatlie, and the death of Socrates from Dr. Mirus. Finally, the students visited the Areopagus to listen to Dr. Glicksman speak about St. Paul’s visit to Athens. Throughout these visits, students recited speeches and performed another scene from Eumenides.
October 4: The second day in Athens began with a quiet morning in the Agora, including a visit to the Agora Museum. The class then moved on to the Acropolis to see and hear about the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, and the Theater of Dionysius. After lunch, students had a free afternoon and evening; some explored the bustling Plaka, others joined Mike Pitstick for a hike up Mt. Lykabettos, the highest hill in Athens, and others visited the Acropolis Museum!
October 5: After a morning visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, one of the most renowned Archaeological museums in the world, the Fall 2016 class headed to the seaside town of Nafplion, with a stop at the hilltop site of Mycenae along the way. In Mycenae, students heard from Dr. Hatlie and Ryan Reedy about tholos tombs and Heinrich Schliemann. Once the class reached Nafplion, everyone was free to explore the town! Some students joined Father Garrett for mass at a small local Catholic Church that had once been a mosque, while others took this last opportunity for a swim in the Mediterranean. And, of course, many students enjoyed a gyro or two!
October 6: In the middle of the Greece trip, students had a break from academic work for a full-day excursion to two remarkable Grecian islands: Hydra and Spetses. The class was free to explore the different islands, even taking a dip in the perfectly clear water! It was a much needed relaxing day on an otherwise extremely busy trip.
October 7: The next day, the class was off again – this time to Olympia! On the way, they visited the Palamidi Fortress and the Archaeological Site of Epidauros, where they experienced the incredible acoustics of the best-preserved theater from the ancient world. Some students even had the chance to sing or recite poetry. After a great lunch and short drive, the group reached Olympia. That same night, students, staff, and faculty had a wonderful dinner, which finished with an opportunity to learn traditional Greek dancing!
October 8: On this final day of the Greece trip, the class visited the Archaeological Museum of Olympia and saw the striking pediments from the Temple of Zeus and the beautiful statue of Hermes with Baby Dionysus. Then everyone moved to the ancient archaeological site and heard about the Temple of Zeus, which housed the chryselephantine statue of Zeus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), the Temple of Hera, and the history of the Olympic games. The visit ended with an opportunity to run a race in the original Olympic Stadium, which was won by Nic Kwan for the men and Claire Gagliano for the women. After lunch, the class was on its way to the port city of Patras, stopping briefly at the Church of St. Andrew, to see the incredible relics housed there. Finally, everyone boarded the Superfast Ferry for the overnight trip back to Italy.
October 9: At long last, the Fall 2016 class arrived safely back in Italy! It was a long bus ride back to Due Santi, but everyone was grateful for the opportunity to catch up on missed sleep and homework! Upon arrival, the class was greeted by the families back on campus, and Father Garrett celebrated Sunday Mass just before dinner – the first Italian meal in 10 days! Although tired, everyone was thankful for such a smooth trip and happy to be home.