Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall 2011 far

So far we've taken the Fall class on two trips, and they've survived 10 Day on their own.  And so far they haven't given us any major problems and they have been really fun to travel with.  Our first trip was to Campania where we visited Monte Casino, Pompeii, Paestum, and the Amalfi Coast.  The second was the Greece trip.  Right now we are gearing up for Northern Italy (we leave in less than 36 hours!)  And as I was running around frantically trying to get everything done that has to get done in order to ship out 109 students, not to mention packing my own stuff, I realized that I should probably recount for you those first two trips of the semester.

This semester we mixed things up on the Campania trip which was great.  We stayed in Paestum at a really nice hotel instead of at our usual place outside Naples.  And we took a day long cruise up the coast with stops in Amalfi and Positano which was a huge hit with both staff and students.

This semester's Greece trip started off a bit rocky with screwed up bus lists and missing passports, but after the first day things fell into place.  Dr.Hatlie changed up the itinerary a bit.  We left out of Ancona, Italy and landed at Igoumenista, Greece.  Our first stops where the archaeological site of Dodona and the Greek Orthodox Monasteries of Meteora.  The monasteries were amazing.  They are located on top of huge sandstone pillars and used to only be reached by baskets pulled up by ropes.  Due to an ankle injury suffered playing soccer barefoot just before the trip, Ryan could not climb up to the monasteries but I did and I loved them.  The view was incredible.  Our bus driver was very eager to point out that a scene from the Roger Moore James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" was filmed at Meteora.  After visiting the monasteries we stopped for a photo op and to let our kids rock climb.  Needless to say I was a nervous wreck envisioning them falling hundreds of feet to the rocks below.  And I was not alone, Joey couldn't even look at the students he was so worried.  In the end we got a great photo and everyone made it back on the buses in one piece.

After Meteora it was on to the usual stops; Delphi, Athens, Nafplion, and Olympia.  The day we left Athens for Nafplion there were some major strikes planned.  The sites and museums that we were scheduled to visit were all closed, so while the Greeks were rioting in Syntagma Square ours students got a whole free day at the beach.  Which was pretty sweet for them, and us.

The rest of the Greece trip was uneventful.  We ended in Olympia, where Ryan was unfortunately unable to defend his title as Men's Foot Race Champion due to his aforementioned ankle injury (but at least he did not throw up from over exertion this time.)  I always enjoy the Greece trip and cannot wait to go back next semester.  Gyros, saganaki, and loukoumades await!

(I will have to post pictures from the trips later.  Right now I need to do laundry for Northern Italy!)