Skip to content

The wonder of Greece; a student's perspective

As the plane took off for the last time and after being awake for 35 hours, we were on the last leg of our journey. We were going home. It was one roller coaster of a trip as we visited many places and saw many important and iconic pieces of history.
Saying goodbye on our last night in Greece to our tour guide, Yiannis. Pictured (from left) Michael Procyshen, Dina Lazurko, Kostas Karachalios, Yiannis, and Kosta Stamatinos.

As the plane took off for the last time and after being awake for 35 hours, we were on the last leg of our journey. We were going home. It was one roller coaster of a trip as we visited many places and saw many important and iconic pieces of history.

On March 30th, I had the opportunity to embark on a trip to Greece with my school, the Yorkton Regional High School. The 31 students and five chaperones were immersed in a new culture, rich with ancient ruins, beautiful island scenery, exotic food, and many other exciting experiences.

First stop-Athens, Greece. The city was a wild place with tonnes of people who were always moving. We stayed overnight and then went on a bus tour which stopped at historical places, such as the Epidaurus Theatre, Mycenae, and the Temple of Apollo. The ancient Epidaurus Theatre was breathtaking-it is an almost acoustically perfect theatre that remains in excellent condition since being built in the 4th Century B.C. It can seat 14,000 spectators. It was astonishing to see for ourselves just how immaculate the acoustics were.

Some of the students would talk in a normal speaking voice at the center of the theatre and we could hear them perfectly in the top row. It was a highlight of the trip.

After our short time in and around Athens we boarded a ship for a three-day cruise of some of the Greek islands. We made stops on the islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Santorini, and Crete. Each of the islands had their own flavor. Mykonos was smaller and more of a tourist influenced shopping island, while Patmos was a more sacred, religious place. The island of Santorini was built up a steep hill and the view from the top was incredible. Crete was mainly a port island with boats and fishermen everywhere. The islands were a very different experience altogether from what we had seen in Athens.

Athens was a huge and busy metropolis, while the islands were quaint and welcoming. On the islands, the winding cobblestone pathways between shops made it easy to get lost, but we had time to explore which made it all the more exciting.

When the cruise stopped in Kusadasi, Turkey, we boarded a bus that took us to Ephesus, the well-preserved and most extensive remains of a classical Roman city and one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. We also saw the house of the Virgin Mary.

After a few more stops, we went to Delphi to see the site of the ancient Oracle of Delphi. The Oracle was situated near the foot of Mount Parnassos with a towering cliff on one side and a deep ravine on the other. We ventured our way up the path and enjoyed the wonderful weather and the view. We heard stories about how people would travel hundreds of miles just to see the Oracle and be graced with wisdom.

It was a neat experience to see how people travel in Greece compared to how we travel in Canada. Ferry boats, donkey rides and mopeds are very common ways of travelling. In the cities, people drive very fast and the roads are extremely narrow. It was amazing to see our bus driver manoeuvre through the busy streets.

After getting back to Athens from our cruise excursion we took a two-hour ferry ride to the island of Aegina. Personally, it was my favorite place on the trip. We were there for two days and the pace really seemed to change once we arrived.

We got to the hotel and had some much needed down time. Our hotel overlooked the beautiful Aegean Sea, and most students took the opportunity to swim in the ocean. A lot of them said it was one of their favorite parts of the trip. Jessica Pawliw, a grade 12 student, said, "Swimming in the sea was a real treat. So much fun." Even just relaxing in our rooms was enjoyable. We all agreed that the view from our room balconies was incredible and the island was extremely beautiful. It was quiet, laid-back and a great time to enjoy the weather.

After our time in Aegina we had one more sight-seeing day in Athens. During this last day we visited the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and a couple other popular tourist destinations. From the Acropolis there was an amazing look at the city of Athens, with buildings as far as the eye could see. The view from the top was unreal. The word "acropolis" actually means the highest point of a city.

Later that evening we went to a hall filled with people, food, and song. A traditional Greek band and dancers graced the stage and it was a great way to spend our last night in Greece.

We met some interesting people during our time there, such as the very talkative and animated Yiannis and the factual and descriptive Athena. Yiannis went beyond our expectations as a tour guide and gave us a snapshot of his life in Greece. Athena shared facts and told us about a lot of Greek mythology relating to the ruins, statues and other places we saw.

The experience changed a lot of our perspectives on the world and other cultures. It opened my eyes to see how different people live and the food, language, traditions, and religions they practice and celebrate. The trip was a great experience for all of us, with each student learning and growing in their own way because of it.