Last Day

Today was the last day of Team Greece’s incredible GPS trip; enjoyable in its own right but marked somewhat by a vague sadness.

The Greece team rose relatively early and ate breakfast at our hotel before spending the day exploring Athens, with special attention payed to the Acropolis. We started our day by walking to the Acropolis Museum, and enjoying a guided tour of some of the artifacts recovered from the Acropolis and the surrounding area. For many students the tour was a refreshing return to Freshman Humanities; the artifacts and statues we saw reflected many of the artistic concepts and historical realities we learned about. After touring the museum, the group hiked up the the Acropolis itself. Students got to explore some of the raised city center, in addition to taking photos and admiring the incredible view of the city.

After descending from the Acropolis, the entire group enjoyed a lunch at a restaurant in the Old Town, and then had the afternoon free to shop and explore around the hotel. Everyone met back for dinner at the hotel in the evening, and went to bed early for an extremely early flight tomorrow.

Back to Samos!

Today was another great day for the Greece GPS team.

This morning, we ate breakfast at our hotel on Lipsi before boarding the same ferry that had taken us to the island. We all enjoyed the unexpected opportunity to say goodbye to some of the students we had made friends with before; a number of the students stopped by the ferry on their way to school.

After boarding the ferry, the group settled in for another five-hour ride to Samos. We again used the time to help the experts of the Archipelagos Institute survey local marine life and pollution; recording data about dolphin and marine bird sightings in addition to trash and boat frequency.  The highlight of the trip was two dolphin sightings; those on the upper deck got to watch Common Dolphins playfully follow and jump around the ship.

Once the ferry arrived in Samos, we met our bus and traveled back to the Archipelagos Institute’s main base. There, we had lunch, reviewed the results of our beach cleanup, and listened to a series of informative presentations regarding microplastics.

After leaving the Archipelagos Institute, the group enjoyed free time in Samos and a dinner at the hotel, enjoying a delicious meal and the opportunity to swim and go shopping in town.



Team Greece Finally Gets To Greece!

After a lovely, albeit unplanned, weekend in Paris, Team Greece spent most of Sunday in transit to Athens. The team actually split into two different groups; one group of 5 students and two chaperones flew out at midday, while the other left in the late afternoon. The two groups enjoyed different schedules.

The smaller element of Team Greece rose relatively early and had a (mostly) smooth journey to Athens via Charles de Gaulle airport. After arriving in Athens around 5:00 P.M. Athens time, they enjoyed incredible views of the Greek capital during the drive from the airport to the team’s hotel. Once arriving at the hotel, students had the opportunity to enjoy dinner at the hotel restaurant, enjoying Greek-style salads and “patitsio,” a traditional Greek dish vaguely reminiscent of lasagna. After dinner, the group enjoyed a walk through the city immediately surrounding the hotel, encountering such attractions as a number of monuments to historical Greeks and (somewhat ironically) the United States Embassy.

The rest of Team Greece enjoyed a sleep-in (except for the few brave souls who elected to run with Mr. Behling). After a quick breakfast at the hotel, they got the chance to say “Au revoir!”

The First Day (Two Days? Day and a Half? Nobody Knows How Long We’ve Really Been Awake.)

The 2018 Spring Greece GPS trip was the first to kick off this year, with students boarding the bus to leave Culver at 1:00 P.M. Travel from there generally went smoothly; the group arrived at O’Hare with plenty of time to pass security, eat a square meal, and board as scheduled. We left O’Hare around 6:00 P.M. on an Air France aircraft and landed at Charles de Gaulle around 8:00 A.M. local time. The original intention had been to then continue on to Greece as planned. However, as announced Thursday via e-mail, the Air France strike changed our plans. Our trip leaders and Seminars International were able to put together a fantastic program for us in Paris on a very short notice. We settled into our rooms, ate lunch at the hotel, and then went for a walking tour of the city. Our guide was able to show us a number of city landmarks as we walked; highlights included “skinny pancakes” (crepes), the École Militaire (the Paris military academy whose alumni include Napoleon Bonaparte and Charles de Gaulle) and of course the famous Eiffel Tower, where students had the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the City of Lights. The day ended with an adventurous Metro ride back to the hotel, a fantastic dinner at the hotel, and a prompt move towards bed, thoroughly exhausted.