The Peloponese!

Wow! These last few weeks have been crazy! Between traveling and studying, there hasn’t been too much time for much else, including writing about everything!

Two weeks ago, the CYA program took all 86 of the students on a week-long trip around the Peloponnese, or the large southern peninsula that protrudes into the Mediterranean. The stops along the way included Mycenae, Epidaurus, Sparta, Mystras, Lerna, Olympia and Delphi. The whole experience was, in word, incredible. I don’t think I could ever do the trip justice by summarizing it into a readable blog-post, but I will try to give a few highlights.

The first full day of the trip we visited Mycenae, where historians believe Homer’s Agamemnon ruled. It was incredible to see the old throne room, aka the megaron, the lion’s gate, large tholos tombs, the lion’s gate, and the grave circles where the legendary gold death masks were found.

The next day, at the ancient site of Epidaurus, we saw the temple of Asclepius, where the sick would go to be healed by sleeping overnight at the temple. Also at Epidaurus, we were able to run on one of the first Olympic tracks, and see the giant amphitheater, which had nearly perfect acoustics at its center.

the famous statue of Hermes at the museum of Olympia
the famous statue of Hermes at the museum of Olympia

Over the course of the next few days we traveled to Sparta, Mystras (the settlement built into the mountain overlooking Sparta), Olympia, and Delphi. The museums at these last two stops were especially incredible. Anne Stewart, my myth and religion professor, showed us around the museums and gave us the back story on the most important pieces in the museum. I can’t get over how incredible it is to actually get to see in person these world-famous pieces. There is something so humbling for me about having an artifact I have read about and seen in textbooks for years, just inches away from my fingertips!

Where pilgrims came to consult the oracle
Where pilgrims came to consult the oracle

Delphi was probably my favorite stop on the trip because of the breathtaking and dramatic scenery, controversial history, and wealth of archeological artifacts. The settlement used to be a religious center built high up on a mountain where pilgrims would come from all over Greece in order to consult the oracle (a mysterious old woman thought to have knowledge of the future) for advise. There has been great debate, however, about the exact role of the oracle and how she carried out her job. Controversy aside, it was incredible just getting to walk around the (hilly!) but beautiful site, which included the ancient temple of Apollo.

 

After a long week of traveling, I was actually excited to get back to Athens. Pangrati (my neighborhood of Athens) really is starting to feel like home!

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