Excursions Outside Athens

Submitted by Alexandra Hall on the 2023 spring semester program in Athens, Greece…

Visiting the ruins of Delphi

During my study abroad program, we have trips to various historical landmarks or towns with all of the study abroad students. This week we had a trip to Delphi, Greece. The bus was a two-hour ride, but we had views of mountains, lakes, and various small towns along the ride. Upon arriving, I noticed the beautiful mountains and nature of Delphi. The ruins of Delphi sit on the side of a mountain and were considered the center of the world for the ancient Greeks because it was the meeting point of two Eagles released by Zeus. The ruins of Delphi are a religious sanctuary area dedicated to the Greek god Apollo, but over the centuries, earthquakes and other natural disasters took most of the temple down. Overall, the trip to Delphi was a great experience, from it being a perfect sunny day to the unique ruins that lay across the side of a mountain. (Submitted on February 22, 2023)

This week, my friends and I found an activity online called Donkey Trekking. We were intrigued by the title, so after some research, we booked the activity. Fortunately, the activity wasn’t too far from my dorm, so we took a taxi to a place called Donkey Land. Pulling up, multiple dogs approached us, which worried me a bit. I got out of the taxi and realized how sweet the dogs were, and the coordinator, whose name was Dimitris, let us in. He welcomed us to the multiple donkeys, cats, ducks, and dogs that roamed Donkey Land. I found out that all of the dogs were strays that appeared in their location, so Dimitris and his wife decided to take care of them. We later got assigned a donkey for the walk, which we got to brush and pet. We walked through the land which contained many different types of trees/plants, from almond to walnut, pistachio, and thyme. After the walk, we were provided with homemade lunch. The wife made us her special Tzatziki, Greek salad, lentil salad, steamed broccoli, spinach pies, and eggplant. It was one of the best and most healthy meals I’ve had since being in Athens. Donkey trekking was an amazing experience, but what made it so special was the conversations we had with the locals and the Greek cuisine that we ate. (Submitted on March 16, 2023)

Lemurs at the Attica Zoological Park

This week we visited a town called Nafplion, Greece. The town is in the Western region of Greece, and about a two-hour drive from Athens. It was the perfect day to go to the coastal town, however, it was a bit windy up at the fortress of Palamidi where we were dropped off at. Palamidi fortress is located at the highest point of Nafplion, and the view is beautiful. Next, we drove down to the coast where many of the local shops are, including jewelry, gelato, and clothing stores. I purchased a pair of earrings from a cute jewelry store. The ladies working there were very sweet and we began talking about how we liked Greece, and that I was from the USA. I mentioned how warm it was, but 70 degrees and sunny is still cold to the Greeks, which is a big difference between Americans and Greeks. They are used to the hot summers and are usually seen wearing a thicker jacket for the season rather than the weather. Overall, the trip to Nafplion, Greece was unlike any other Greek town I have been to. (Submitted on March 28, 2023)

This week, my friends and I decided to go to the Attica Zoological Park after classes. I’d say it was the best zoo I have ever been to because of the wide range of animals. Walking in, we saw peacocks roaming around the zoo. There were elephants, and giraffes playing by hitting each other, and by far the best part was the lemurs. The lemurs were in an open area with surprisingly no supervision because they are trustworthy. They jumped up on our backs and arms. It was also interesting that they followed each other in a huge pack, rather than spread around the area. The goats were also in an open area where we could pet them as well. There were multiple baby goats that looked only a couple of weeks old. Overall, the zoo in Athens, Greece is a trip I definitely recommend taking, mainly because of the lemurs. (Submitted on April 7, 2023)