For three weeks we visited Greece to study the dimensions of the Greek Intellectual Revolution: democracy, rhetoric, drama, and art as mediated through sport, religion with a careful look at gender roles.
Thanks to a wonderful group of students: Kristina, Hunter, Hannah, Bryan, Rachel, Sam, Jadie, Spencer, Abby, Roni, Andrew, Katie, Melissa, Kainna, Liz, Paige, Mikayla, David, Madison, Emily, Alexander, and Amy. And, for the second year, our TA, Alyssa.
You want to know what this class is like? Follow along below and we'll take you through one.
The trip begins. A long overnight flight and a layover in Amsterdam.
And we land in Athens and have our traditional opening night dinner with the people from the Athens Center who provide logistical support (more on them later).
Of course we go to the Acropolis, and you can see our group photo above. Joining us for many of our visits is Dr. Michael Wedde, an archeologist with over 30 years experience in Greece. His knowledge helps us understand what we're seeing.
On "democracy day" we visited the site of the ancient assembly - but it was snowing so bad I didn't take any pictures. Also that day we toured the Greek parliament and heard about the modern Greek democracy.
The Theater of Dionysus is where the famous plays of antiquity were performed.
While there students performed part of a play, I discussed comedy, and TA Alyssa lectured on tragedy.
Athens can be a bit "compact". Here Jadie (in the middle) reacts to an aggressive taxi. But after a while you come to appreciate how it all works, and everyone watches out for everyone else.
We spend some time in the classroom to explore issues.
Of course we have to eat. This is what a Greek salad should look like.
Pork slouvaki and potatoes.
Breakfast is provided in each hotel. (This, in Athens, was the best one.)
But now it's time to get on our bus and hit the road. (Our very skilled driver.)
We first stayed at Nafplion, which was our 'base camp' for several days.
Our hotel, a block from the harbor.
At the theater of Epidaurus with its amazing acoustics. (With dog.)
At the extensive Roman ruins of Corinth. Also with dog. Temple at left is 2,600 years old.
The Acrocorinth is a fortified hill some 1500 ft in height.
Views from the top are amazing.
Mycenae is over 3000 years old.
An ancient tomb is a remarkable construction.
Back in Nafplion we visit the medieval forts.
... and the old town.
... and their archeological museum. (Mycenaean suit of armor.)
But of course we have to eat. Taking time to enjoy food and conversation is one cultural custom that is great to adopt.
Or just enjoy the waterfront.
The Eastern Orthodox church is an important part of Greek identity both now and historically.
Part of the procession for the Epiphany celebration in Nafplio and an example of civic religion.
Dimitsana, a village that preserves the traditions of the 19th century.
Greece is not a tropical country. We can get days in the 50s and we can get snowed on - especially at higher elevations like here at Dimitsana. You have to be prepared to be outside at a site for an hour or more in the cold.
Olympia has a very nice museum with striking art.
... and you can visit the actual Olympic track.
Time on the bus is often good for catching up on sleep.
We some amazing art along the way also (detail of the Hermes of Praxiteles in the Olympia museum, ca. 340 BCE).
Along the way we become a community (and celebrate birthdays).
The Greek villages are fun to explore (this is Galaxidi)
Before we visit Delphi, let's look at our hotel.
Rooms are generally small, bathrooms also small, but everywhere we stay is clean and safe.
We use lobbies for classes and gathering.
And some hotels come with balconies and views - the best is here at Delphi.
Along the way we are having classes to discuss what we've seen, gain more background, and look at ancient texts.
And you have some work to do also - including journals and reports. Or you can do some acting. Here students present in the museum at Delphi.
But on to Delphi. This is where the oracle spoke and all of Greece came to consult.
Yes, there are a lot of dogs who queue up for pets. (We're walking through the site of Delphi.)
On the way back to Athens we stop at the band new and comprehensive museum in Thebes.
Returning to Athens and our hotel seems different than first encountering it. We're not strangers now, we're pros.
A visit to the National Archeological Museum can almost be overwhelming. It's amazing how much has been saved from antiquity - and we know it is only a small fraction of what once existed.
These statues are over 4,000 years old.
We have time to explore the Plaka area and do some shopping.
The class: It's all the excitement of a real adventure without (almost all) of the danger. You aren't alone-here's your team. Me, Olympia (logistics coordinator from the Athens Center), Michael (archeologist), Alyssa (future archeologist, and TA for the second time). For the next trip it may not be all the same pepople (I'll be there) but it will be the same level of excellent support.
How many classes have reunion dinners months after they formally end? That's how much study abroad can mean.
The trip is for you the students, not for me. But I have a great time sharing my passion for this amazing country. Do you have questions? Look around this website and don't hesitate to email me or to arrange time to talk.