Posted by: Joseph J. Skarzenski | August 7, 2009

And we’re OFF (Thursday write-up)

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This morning we grabbed our luggage and departed from Athens. We met at approximately 9:00 AM for our week-long excursion by private bus. Before we knew it we were out of the city and in the country-side of Greece. Our destination for the day was Meteora.

On the way to the amazing monasteries, we stopped briefly in Thermopylae. We got off the bus to see the memorial of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans who fought in the Greco-Persian War. After taking a photo in front of the memorial, we were given some free time to roam the area. Students were awed by the fact they were standing on the ground where one of history’s greatest battles took place. Some of us went up to where an old fortified wall once stood to get a better view of the “Hot Gates” and small canyon where the 300 Spartans made their last stand.

The unplanned visit to Thermopylae was a fantastic way to start off the trip. The best part was that the day was only going to get better. We were back on the road in time. When we were about half way to Meteora, we stopped for lunch at a Greek “diner.” Students reminisced their lunches at “Peresteria Taverna” as they looked at the food at the cafeteria-style restaurant. Following lunch we returned to our bus to continue our day’s journey to Meteora.

We began our ascension to the amazing monasteries of Meteora in the late afternoon. Once we reached nearly the top of the mountain, we got off for some free time to roam the area. Students took continuous pictures with each other, enjoying the beautiful scenery that complimented the photos. Boarding the bus one final time for the day, we drove down the mountain to check-in to our hotel that was located right next to the mountain!

The rest of the night was free time for students. After getting settled, many went to the hotel’s pool to cool down and relax from a busy day of traveling. We all met at 8:30 PM for a fantastic dinner in the hotel. Tomorrow morning we will be returning to Meteora to visit one of the monasteries and then continue our journey to Constantinople.

To see photos from today’s visit to the Leonidas memorial and Meteora, please click the link below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39885149@N06/sets/72157621850588167/show/

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