Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Our Hotels
We stayed in two hotels the Palace and Lakonia Hotels. Both were nice and were comfortable. In our opinion the palace hotel had the best food and won us over as the best hotel from the two, one of the reasons we thought this is because the rooms had more space and the beds were comfortable. The design of  the palace hotel was only for either two people per room or four people per room. Although the rooms are bigger and the beds are better than the other hotel, the blanket was very thin and we almost froze to death at night if we didn’t close the window. The hotel also included a pool, and it was a very pretty place, though this pool was too cold and was unswimmable it felt like an ice bath. We were the only ones to test out the pool, but Alessandro and Ianis jumped in and came out immediately. After a long day of exploring Greece, coming back to the hotels dinner was very nice, and there was a wide selection of different food. Another thing that was great about this hotel was the ability of room serves. One night I ordered food with my roommates Alessandro and Ianis, and we watched a movie with my projector.
The hotel we stayed in Sparta was the Lakonia Hotel. One thing we loved about this hotel was its location. It was conveniently located in the heart of the town. After dinner in sparta, walking around in the city was fun, Alessandro wanted a Spartan helmet so bad, so we wandered around with him around the shopping area, but he didn’t find it. There were many things to eat and do, such as eating ice cream at the many ice cream shops and coffee shops. Although the placement of the hotel was nice the rooms were just too small. Another thing was that the rooms were not all the same size, Jay and I had the smallest room and the worst bathroom. We could barely open the room door when the luggage was wide opened. The bathroom was also very small, and I could barely sit on the toilet because the space was too small for my legs to stay in the usual position. The absolute best thing from the spartan hotel was its comfortable beads in our opinion they had the softest sheets and the most dreamy mattress. As a whole, both hotels were very nice, and we enjoyed staying there.

By: Sergio and Jay


While visiting Greece I saw many amazing and beautiful things. The history of Greece is incredible! When we traveled city to city and visited different temples and museums we also encounter a few furry friends. In Greece there are cats and dogs almost everywhere!

 In Corinth when we were preparing to get on the bus we encountered a litter of puppies. almost everybody fell in love with these little bundles of joy. Not only did we get to handle the puppies but there were a few kind kittens that would meow loudly to get our attention.

Sometimes if you were gentle enough the cats would let you pick them up.

All the animals we encountered in Greece were pretty friendly ad not very shy toward humans. Cats would walk right up to you and nudge your leg or dogs would come close enough for you to pet them. Some areas in Greece It is almost like a town effort to try to take care of the cats and dogs although they might not have a real true owner.

This dog my have been the favorite for a few. She got the most attention from our group then most of the animals. She was so gentle and kind. A couple of boys even bought her bacon. We tried naming her but never really agreed upon a name.

In Mystras there was this donkey. It was kind of random and we didn't expect it, but on a hill there was a donkey tied to a tree. He might have belonged to the nuns that worked in the church but I am not 100% sure.
I loved the adventure I had traveling in Greece and I don't think it will be one I'll ever forget. Meeting these odd furry creatures made it even more interesting.


Sunday, 26 February


1)Arrive at Athens International Airport
2) Tour of Athens with the guide

3) Palace Hotel Glyfada 

Monday, 27 February 

1) Departure to Acropolis from hotel Glyfada 
2) Lunch at Plaka
3) Cape Sounion
4) Go back to the hotel

Tuesday, 28 February 

1)Depart from hotel Glyfada
 2) Visit Corinthian Channel
 3) Visit the theatre at Epidaurus
 4) And Mycenae 
 5) Stay at Laconia Hotel in Sparta

Wednesday, 1 March 

1)Visit to Mistras Lunch in Mistras
2)Return to Athens/Palace Hotel Glyfada from hotel Laconia

Thursday, 2 March 

1)Go to Delphi 
2) Tour of Delphi—ancient site & museum
 3) Return to Glyfada

Friday, 3 March 

1) Go to Acropolis Museum 
2) Leave directly to the airport


The acropolis of Athens 


Pláka is the old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture.

Greek Food        By Megan and Zoe

Food is an important element for us to experience different cultures between countries. This time, by trying Greek food, we can understand how different can our cultures be. Some of the food taste really good but some of them are bit weird. The following food is the top famous food of Greece⬇ that were served for us in the trip.
(Pictures were taken by us during the trip)

(1) Moussaka
The food in this picture which looks like the pasta is called“Moussaka”. It’s made of cheese, tomato sauce, and pork. When you cut the food, you’ll see there are many layers inside. Hot and thick cheese mixing with the ketchup create a wonderful flavor for your tongue. When the sauce goes into the meat, it gives you a feeling of heaven.

(2)Fava Beans
The food in this picture is called “Fava Beans”. This is made by roast beans with some vegetables. We didn’t actually try this one but we heard some comments for others. They said the taste of beans is really weird. Most of people do not like it.

Souvlaki is the Greek way to say roast meat. From the following picture, you can see this is roast pork with well cooked potatoes. The shiny and soft potatoes with roast pork which is tender and well cooked make a perfect match.
This picture is also a course of roast meat,         
It’s a whole piece of pork with some fries. In
In contrast to the first picture, this one looks much simpler. The fries looks delicious but the meat Is not as tender as we expected.    

The first one is call Semolina Greek Cake,
it is a very famous dessert in Greece.
It tastes like honey cake,
and everyone gave it a very high evaluation.


The second one is regular yogurt,
Greek people are very into yogurt with honey.
They eat this almost every day.

The third one is ice cream,
which tastes similar to gelato in Italy.
Also, this is our favorite one in all of them.

This is dinner during our free time, we went to a restaurant call Everest. The burger here is really good.( Much better than McDonalds, lol)

Monday, March 6, 2017

One of the pearls of history: Delphi

One of the pearls of history: Delphi
By Isabella and Maria

Delphi is located near the Gulf of Corinth and was home to the famous oracle of Apollo and to the Panhellenic Pythian Games. The site was first settled in the 1500-1100 BCE and took a religious significance from around 800 BCE. Its original name was Pytho (the snake that Apollo killed) and Apollo's temple is believed to be built on the spot where this happened. The oracle of Apollo at Delphi was famed throughout the Greek world and even beyond. The oracle - Pythia -would answer questions put to her by visitors wishing to be guided in their future actions.
Delphi was also considered the center of the world in Greek mythology, since when Zeus released two eagles, one to the east and another to the west, Delphi was the point at which they met after encircling the world.

The first temple in the area was built in the 7th century BCE and was a replacement for buildings of worship which had stood there before. The Doric temple of Apollo was destroyed three times by natural disasters and in the end was replaced with a similar temple in 330 BCE. Other important constructions at the site were the theatre, the temples to Athena, a tholos with 13 Doric columns, the stadium and around 20 treasuries.
Most information is from: http://www.ancient.eu/delphi/

We thought that the remains were amazing and breathtaking. It is a beautiful place to visit and there you can really feel the history in the air. It is nice to walk around and look at the magical views surrounding you and to understand that this is really what people before us lived by. Their religions, their architecture, understanding of life and views in the world were completely different and these are things that we should all take a moment to think about.

Delphi museum:
We also visited the Archeological Museum of Delphi. We learned about the history of the Delphic sanctuary. The museum has sculptures, statues and other smaller objects. Some of the art that we remembered the most were these:
The Mycenaean figurines
They were clay statues that represented the believers since they had their hands pointed up as if they prayed. We found the figurines interesting because they showed how people tried to be closer to the gods.
The Large Sphinx of Naxos
The statue showed a Sphinx sitting on an ionic column. It had beautiful wings, a body of an animal and a human face. We thought that this statue was very cool, since it showed an animal with a human face and wings, and we don't see that in everyday life.
Twins of Argos
The twins of Argos are two identical kouros statues. They are simply dressed, looking forward with no movement and only one foot stepped forward. The two statues are bigger than normal people. We learned that they come from a legend. They were made by Argives to honor Cleobis and Biton. Cleobis and Biton helped their mother by dragging her in a wagon to the temple. Later on the mother prayed to Hera to give her sons the best that men can receive. After they feasted because Hera heard the mother's prayers and after the feast the two brothers fell asleep forever. We found the statues very, very similar to each other and symmetrical. But we also thought that they looked a little fake, since they have no facial expressions or movement.  
The Charioteer
We learned that the Charioteer is the most important statue of the museum of Delphi. The statue is made in a technique that leaves the inside empty. It is made of wax and then poured over with bronze. There aren't a lot of pieces left of this statue, but we can see that it was done very well, since there are a lot of details. The statue showed a person on a chariot, riding a horse and a boy was holding the outer horses' reigns. We also learned that the statue was preserved thanks to an earthquake. We found this statue the prettiest. We liked that it is made out of bronze but empty on the inside. The detail were small but very nice. One if the details was a little bow on the back of the head of the chariot rider, it is a small detail, but these details make up a beautiful masterpiece.

Nicole & Maria
Academic Travel

Cape Sounion
What an Adventure!

Cape Sounion is a wonderful temple situated in front of the island "Negro Ponte" which means black bridge. People that lived in Negro Ponte called it like this because it was very difficult to cross the sea. This temple surrounded by the glimmer of the sea is an antique temple dedicated to Poseidon, the God of the Sea in capital Greek mythology. We learned from Wikipedia.org that it is 69km from Athens."The temple is made of marble and it is similar to the temple in the Agora, in Athens, which is the square of the city where the citizens met.

When we were told about Cape Sounion we were excited to visit it but when we really were there it was an amazing emotion to see the beauty of the place, the sea, and the remains of an incredible temple.  The temple was so incredible because it was humongous. We wanted to explore and to learn about it, so we listened while the guide was talking and when she finished we walked around looking at the view and the temple. A famous romantic poet wrote his name "Byron" in the columns of the temple, he even wrote a poem about it in his collection of "the Isles of Greece”, the guide told us that but then we searched for more information on Wikipedia.org.

Cape Sounion is a place that has been mentioned in greek myths and litherature.
Infact, the myth says that Aegeus, King of Athens ended his life by leaping off the Sounion cliffs and that is why the sea is called Aegean Sea, we got this information from Wikipedia.org.
 Cape Sounion was also mentioned in the Odyssey by Homer: Menelaus, King of Sparta, died at his post while coming round Holy Cape Sounion.

Personally we think that this is a memorable experience that will remain in our hearts and our minds forever.  We loved the brightness of the marble and the incredible view, everything was perfect! The wind was blowing and a fresh breeze was everywhere; it refreshed us from the bus ride.

The opa dinner

The opa dinner
by Alessandra & Lucia

Food. Dance. two things that go really well together. We feel like with music and fun a dish will always taste better than it usually does. Although greek dance is ancient is still popular today, it’s a really important part of Greek culture, and for visitors is enjoyable and fun to watch. 
In Plaka we attended an interactive Greek dance show while eating traditional food. The restaurant was big and there were many tables, the food was great and the dancers were all so good!! Except for us, there was a group of Senior from Virginia that evening. We had so much fun with my friends getting involved in the dance, laughing and having a good time. 

We all sat in four big tables while they were playing and singing Greek music. Evenly if we couldn't understand a word, it was an enjoyable melody to hear. After a few minutes, the singer invited us to join her dancing on the stage. At the start, everyone hesitated to stand up, but in the end, most people of our group was on the stage trying to dance. It could seem a simple dance, but you have to be coordinated and concentrated unless you do it often. We can say that most of us weren't talented in Greek dance. 

There are many types of dances, but the two main dances are the Hasapiko and the Kalamatianos.  
The Hasapiko is a dance which starts slowly and speeds up words the end, this dance comes from roots of Constantinople. It was originated in the middle age as a battle mime. Before given this name it was called "butcher's dance” because it was originally performed with swords that the butchers made. 
The Kalamatianos is the most popular dance and it’s performed at many events worldwide. It consists in a circle of people holding hands. It’s a really joyful dance and easy to learn. The steps are really easy, the hard part comes with coordination. We tried to do Kalamatianos several times, but we never really succeed.

 While musicians and dancer performed, the waitress served us three meals. As a starter we had for each person four appetizers, then meat with potatoes and as dessert baklavà. Being honest, one of the appetizers wasn't very good, but at least the dessert was delicious! 

While we were eating, different types of dance and people arrived and left the stage. There have been only men, only women or both together. In another dance, the women were alone dancing with candles in their hands. Otherwise, the two that impressed us the most were the one in which belly dancers used fire and the one in which a man used a glass of wine. He put the glass in the inside rim of a rounded tray and he started to dance. He threw it in the air and make it circled quickly. How did he does that, is a mystery...  He should have broken many glasses before succeeding. The belly dancers were great too. It seemed as if they had no bones in the hips. It would take us years only to learn how to make a single movement. 

*From Ale’s prospective* 
In one of the last dances, I stood up to dance. We took each others' hand and started to dance across the restaurant moving our legs back and forth every two steps. Until this, everything was normal. Then we made a circle and the guy started to call random people to dance with each other. At a certain point, he called me and no one else. He told me to open my arm and close my eyes. I was quite calm cause I fought I had to let my self go and someone would have take me. But for real, he took me on his shoulder and whirled me in a circle! Thank god I didn't feel bad, or it would have been even more embarrassing. I wasn't red when he put me down, but most probably a shade of burgundy. Even though I didn't expect it and I had a small heart attack at the start, it had been very funny. 

That night had been the nicest of the entire trip, we all had fun together and we learned (or at least tried) Greeks dances. We evenly discovered that greeks break plates on the stage during these typical performances. Is a very uncommon custom, but we have to admit that is nice and liberating to do. The last thing that we learned that evening and probably liked the most, is the word opa.  We can say that is like olé in Spanish. People use it to express joy and it can mean: let's go or come on. When we learned it we all started to repeat it and got addicted to it.


Plaka, the old town of Greece

Plaka, the old town of Greece

By Daniel and Josh


As we learned from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaka, Plaka is a historical neighborhood in Athens. The name Plaka is the most recent one, but this beautiful area went by the names Alikokou, Kontito, and Kandili until after the "Greek War of Independence." Plaka is very close to the Acropolis and is sometimes referred to as the "Neighborhood of the Gods." The area resembles a labyrinth and is full of neoclassical architecture.  Plaka is on the northeast side of Acropolis. Adrianou Street is the largest and central street in Plaka and divides it into two areas: Ano Plaka and Kato Plaka. This neighborhood has always been inhabited since antiquity. In 1884 a fire burned down a large part of the region, this gave the opportunity for the archaeologists to conduct excavations in several areas of Plaka.

Our experience was very pleasant. We didn't expect Plaka to be so small, we thought it was going to be dirty and not very interesting, but now we realize that Plaka, for how small it is, has an enormous range of activities and fun stuff to take part in. You can walk to the Acropolis if you want a swim in Ancient Greek culture, or just sit down in the town square of Plaka and relax, drinking a regular Greek coffee, or simply walk around the welcoming souvenir shops and buy lots of marvelous and exciting things. And let's not forget about the delicious restaurants there are, always happy to welcome you to eat a Mousaka or some Greek salad. This trip changed our minds completely about this city. The people are very friendly too; they can't wait for a tourist to look around and enjoy it.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ancient civilization: Mycenae

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ancient civilization: Mycenae
by David Weng & Peter Zhang
The Lion Gate
The Entrance of Mycenae
During the third day of our academic trip, we went to the city Mycenae. When we arrived Mycenae, I thought it just a place of lots of tombs. In fact, it was an unbelievable city on the mountain. Because the long trip we took by bus, everybody were very tired, and half of people from our group didn’t go to the top of Mycenae. But the view on the top of Mycenae is incredible if you stand on the top watching the wild mountains around Mycenae, trees, flowers and grass. You will deeply feel the the feeling of the ancient kings. Watching the natural mountains around, and walking from the back side of the city to go back to the foot of the mountain is the one of the best way to feel the charm of Mycenae.

According to Wikipedia, Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 kilometers southwest of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 kilometers to the south; Corinth, 48 kilometers to the north. From the hill on which the palace was located, one can see across the Argolid to the Saronic Gulf. In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae. At its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares.

Travelling in Greece

Travelling in Greece
       ----By Queenie & Elsie
From Feb.26 to Mar.3, We went to Athens and Sparta which are in Greece for the Academic Travel because we learned the ancient history about Greece this year. It was a nice trip and we learned lots of new knowledge. We really had an enjoyable time during the travel. We are writing a blog for the travel during the academic travel which was an important part of our trip, such as bus and airplane. 
On the first day of the travel, we took the bus all together from school to the Milan airport at 7:30. On the bus, we played cards with Peter and David in the first floor at first. However we felt very sleepy suddenly because we got up at 6 o’clock. Therefore we both fell asleep on the bus immediately. Some other people were singing upstairs in the bus and had fun. When we woke up, we were at the airport already. We took our suitcases into the airport and waited for the check in. I (Queenie) went to the other side of the airport to pack my suitcase up with a green tape because I didn’t want my suitcase get damaged when it was delivered. The teacher passed our passports to us after check in. Everyone was chatting while Group 1 went to get boarding pass and check luggages first. Not very much time, we got our boarding passes and going to the security check. The teacher let us go by free and back to the boarding gate at a specific time. We looked for some restaurant for our lunch. We bought some sandwiches for lunch and waited at the gate. Soonly, it was already the time. We took on a bus and went on the plane. The first plane was from Milan to Zurich. It was only about an hour. We just slept on the plane and didn’t do anything. 
Then, we arrived at Zurich airport and waited for the transfer flight. During the waiting time, we bought some ice-cream and relaxed for a while. But not very much time, we sat on the plane again! I (Elsie) read some books and listened to the music, and we fell asleep again on the plane, Queenie did the same thing. The airline stewardess gave us a small box of salad and cake for snakes. The food was fine. We quickly ate it and kept on sleeping! When we arrived at Athens airport, we were so excited. It was my (Elsie) first time to Athens and I wished I would have a excellent experience. For me (Queenie) it was different, I hoped I could find anything different this time from my last Greece trip.  
From Monday to Thursday, we traveled to many places in Athens and Sparta by bus. We spent a lot of time on the bus to visit many historical places. It was a super boring time in the bus though.The bus was just like our home and every times we returned on the bus, we started to sleep. We also went to Sparta by a long time riding. Blah! We were just sat on the bus for whole afternoon.
On the Friday morning, we packed our things and readied to leave back to TASIS. Everyone got on the bus on time and we went to the center down for an hour free time first. At about 12:00, we arrived at the Athens airport. We did exactly the same thing we did when we came here. The time passed by, the boarding time was coming, we walked on the plane slowly, we didn’t want leave beautiful Greece, we enjoyed the holiday and brought away happy memories of Greece. We went to Zurich first and flew to Milan, which was the same route when we came here. We played card games all the time on the plane and it was so fun. When we arrived at the Milan airport, it was already 6:00pm. We felt very tired all the day and relaxed a lot on the bus. We arrived at TASIS at 8:00pm. Finally, we were back to the school. The trip was really amazing, also it was beneficial to students. We had a really good time and we hope that we can go to Greece again in the future.