With the grapes harvested and several tests turned in, the students were ready for the longest and, for many, the best trips of the semester: the Greece Trip and Fall Break.
Before the Greece Trip, the students participated in a glorious tradition of competition and toga wearing that is the G(r)eek Olympics. The students competed as teams in a series of competitions that require “mental, physical, and emotional courage”. The students had to cleverly present their team names to the judges, win races, catch eggs, and create a ‘sculpture’ from shaving cream.
In Greece, the students visited some of the greatest sites of the Ancient world. The trip began in Delphi, the site of the Oracle of Apollo. At the site, several students performed scenes and speeches from their classes, such as the Oracle’s pronouncements that there was no man wiser than Socrates or the moment when Tiresias told Oedipus he was the murderer the Oracle described. The students were stunned by both the temples and the panoramic overlook, which looks out over the mountains, the olive tree covered valley, and bay beneath the town. Many of the students even hiked to the top of Mount Parnassos to chase that incredible view. In Athens, the students visited all the great sites of the city: the Parthenon, the Areopagus, the Agora, the Prison of Socrates, the Pynx hill, and National Archaeological Museum.
After Athens, the students visited the city of Nafplion, where the streets are paved with marble. This seaside town, beautiful in its own right, was the base from visiting the beautiful sites of Mycenae and Epidauros, as well as a day sailing to the Greek islands of Hydra and Spestes. In Mycenae, the citadel of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the students experienced both singing in the cavernous tholos tomb of Clytemnestra and climbing to the panoramic heights of the city. In the theatre of Epidauros, many students delivered poems and speeches, experiencing the perfect acoustics which carry the speaker’s voice all the way to the top row of seats and reverberate back in the speaker’s chest. In Hydra and Spestes, the students had a full day of swimming, exploring, and relaxing on the boat.
The last city of the Greece Trip was Olympia, the site for the original Olympic Games. On the archaeological site, the students were able to visit the museum and explore the ruins of the many temples there. The most prestigious event of the original games was the foot race, so the students had a foot race themselves on the Olympic field. Though it was a close race, Nathan Kustner and Anna Brunk emerged as champions! On the last night in Olympia, Greek dancers taught the students some Greek dance moves and started a dance party to celebrate the conclusion of a lovely and successful Greece Trip.
After returning to Due Santi, our students had to prepare for their Fall Break. Many students travelled on the traditional route through Eastern Europe, visiting cities like Krakow, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg. Students also travelled to cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam, Dublin, and many more. Twenty-two students dedicated their Fall Break to service in Albania. During their mission trips, groups of students cared for the poor, the orphaned children, and the mentally disabled in Elbasan, Saranda, Rreshen, and Bacau. One student missionary described the experience as humbling, one that inspired a deep gratitude for her ability to serve others. Many students, even those who went to Albania, concluded their trips in Munich, gathering at the famous Hofbrauhaus to swap travel stories and revel in being together as a class again.
Now that the major trips of the semester are over, the Fall Rome class of 2019 have a third of their semester left to complete. They are preparing for the major academic work of the semester, the silent retreats on Lake Albano, and the last trip of the semester, the Northern Italy Trip.