A Travellerspoint blog

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Greece!

Testing my skills with group travel.

When Mike announced last year that his next EF tour was going to be Greece, I admit I was jealous. I wanted to see those whitewashed hillside houses, the sea and all of the amazing ancient sites. I just wasn't sure traveling with a bunch of middle-schoolers was my cup of tea. I've never been known for my patience will small children. Could I be the adult? Eventually, I realized it was a chance I couldn't pass up so I plunked down a load of money to start my next adventure.

So now I'm sitting at the airport waiting for my flight. It's kinda strange. Since I signed up for the tour late, I wasn't able to get on the same flights as the rest of the group. So, I'm traveling alone...in a group. I'm supposed to get to Athens the same time as the group. Fingers crossed!

Stay tuned. I hope to add photos of some amazing places in the next 12 days!

Posted by Jengt 07:50 Archived in USA Tagged greece group_travel am_i_crazy? Comments (0)

My Helenistic Adventure

A whirlwind trip around Greece with middle school students

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I knew going in that there would be little time for myself during this trip. There are 2 main priorities for this type of education tour for kids : 1. Teach them something. 2. Tire them out. I'm pretty sure we succeeded with #1 and I know we succeeded with #2 for the adults - but maybe not all of the kids.

I've had people ask me if I'd do this again. The easy answer is that I probably would. However, as a paying adult, probably not to somewhere I've already been (Mike's group is going to England & Scotland next year). But possibly to somewhere that would be difficult for me to travel to by myself. I've gotta say, traveling with a bus full of kids and adults is definitely different from what I'm used to. It's not bad - just different.

What was the best part of our trip? Seeing these ancient sites through the eyes of 12-14 year old boys & girls. The students had just learned about a lot of the places we were seeing in school this year. I got to watch them experience the awe and excitement of standing next to the Parthenon and walking along the pathways where ancient Olympians had walked. That experience alone was worth the early wake-up calls and frustrating kid moments.

Since I didn't have time to post anything during the trip, I'm going to just post some of my favorite pictures from the trip so you can get a glimpse into the amazing sights we saw during our 12 day trip to Greece. I didn't get to see everything on my Greece bucket list but we certainly got to most.

I hope you enjoy this photographic blog. The pictures just don't do it justice. I highly suggest you find a way to get there and see it for yourself!

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Temple of Olympian Zeus

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The Parthenon

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The Erechtheum

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Parthenon

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Statues from the Erechtheum in the Acropolis Museum/i]

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[i]The Roman Agora with the Acropolis in the background

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Detail from the Hephaesteion in the Agora

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Overlooking Athens from Mount Lycabettus

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Statue of Athena in the National Archaeological Museum

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Socrates with Apollo behind - At the Academy of Athens

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Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion

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Nighttime view of the Acropolis from our hotel roof

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The Greek theater at Epidaurus. The acoustics are still amazing.

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Mycenae - the Palace of Agamemnon

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The countryside from atop Agamemnon's Palace

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Olympia - the home of the ancient Olympic games

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Entrance to the Olympic Stadium

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Olympia

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Temple of Apollo at Delphi

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The Athenian Treasury at Delphi

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Ancient writing at Delphi

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Mykonos

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Mykonos

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Sunset on Mykonos

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Samos

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Traditional dances on Samos

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Remains of the castle on Samos

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Monastery of St. John on Patmos

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Frescoes along the entrance to the church in the Monastery of St. John

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At the Minoan palace at Knossos

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Frescoes on the walls in the Queen's Chambers in the Minoan palace

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Knossos

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Santorini

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Santorini

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Santorini

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Santorini

Posted by Jengt 12:53 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Argentinian Autumn (Spring) Break

Finally, something warm!

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I've had Buenos Aries on my mind as a destination for a long time. We finally found a good price for flight and hotel when we were looking this winter. After booking the trip, I went to the library and checked out a bunch of guidebooks. Then life happened and our trip snuck up on both Mike and I. This was the least prepared I've been for a trip. But, I figured between the two of us, we'd be fine.

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Obelisk

It's strange, you don't realize how far away Argentina is until you fly there. Ten hours from Atlanta. Ugh! I kept saying it'll be ok since it was an overnight flight. I'd get some sleep and wake up in Buenos Aries. I forgot Mike's baby curse. Needless to say, I got very little sleep. That didn't stop us from the regular Mike Demana First Day Death March (TM). After checking in, we hit the streets.

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The warm, sunny weather was a welcome change from the clouds and snow we left in Columbus. The cobalt blue sky was just the antidote to lift my spirits. We headed towards the Plaza de Mayo where the Casa Rosado is. This is the building where Evita made her famous speech from the balcony. Also on the plaza, we happened upon a festival with native dancers.

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Native Dancers

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Casa Rosada

From here, we headed to the waterfront. How do you pass up wandering along the water on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?

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All in all, it was a wonderful start to, what I'm hoping, is a great week!

Posted by Jengt 18:28 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Market Day

San Telmo's Sunday Market

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Sunday in Buenos Aires was another warm and sunny day. Our plan for the day was to check out the Sunday market in the San Telmo neighborhood. All of the guidebooks and our friends who have been here recommended we check it out. How could we say no? We hopped on the subway to save our feet a little wear & tear.

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I was expecting the market to be a park filled with a handful of booths with handcrafts. The market was that and so much more! If you are looking for ANYTHING, it's for sale here. I saw fine china, furs, an old diving helmet (and the boots to go with it), jewelry and antique firearms. Quite literally, everything you could think of. The market stretched for blocks and blocks. As we walked along the street, there were some lovely colonial buildings with charming balconies.

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While we were in the area, there were a few museums we wanted to see. Unfortunately, our luck wasn't with us. The first, we couldn't find. Another wasn't open. We did manage to check out the National Historical Museum. It's small, but with some interesting items. We did pass a couple of beautiful churches as we wandered.

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The uneven street was starting to take its toll on us so we headed back to the hotel for a brief siesta. Just what the doctor ordered!

Dinner was at a neighborhood pizzeria a few blocks from the hotel. Loaded with cheese and pepperoni, a great pizza! By the time we left, the place was packed with locals and there was a line to get seated. I would highly recommend El Cuartito if you're ever in BA!

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I'm not sure what tomorrow holds, I'm sure it will be another great day!

Posted by Jengt 15:57 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Timeless Beauty

Art is in the eye of the beholder.

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It may sound strange, but one of the sites in Buenos Aires I was most interested to see was the cemetery in Recoleta. I'd heard about the ornately carved crypts and mausoleums for the wealthy of Buenos Aires.

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On Monday, we decided to get a little later start so we could take the subway and miss rush hour. Even with the aid of the subway, we had a good walk to reach the cemetery from the subway station. It was another warm, sunny day and I was enjoying the great weather.

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I noticed a few tour buses as we approached the entrance. I was hoping there wouldn't be throngs of people everywhere. Luckily, most were only there to see Evita's tomb so we wouldn't be stumbling over each other.

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We picked up a map for 40 pesos (about $2.50) to see where all the famous people are buried and set off away from the groups. I was enthralled by the detailed carvings and intricate metalwork around each corner. Simple, elegant places of rest were next to extravagant statues with weeping angels at their feet. I was snapping photos trying to capture some of the details that caught my eye. There were beautiful stained glass windows with rich hues of color.

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We wandered the streets of the cemetery for a couple of hours, finding a special detail or carving around each corner. I was saddened to see some of the crypts in disrepair with broken glass and trash on the floor.

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Towards the end of our circuit we passed the row where Evita and Juan Perron are. It was easy to find, just look for the long line of people taking selfies. *sigh*

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After a couple of hours wandering around, we decided it was time to take a lunch break. We had noticed a brewpub across the street so decided to try it out. We had a tasty lunch and rested our feet for a little while before checking out the rest of the Recoleta area.

After lunch, we set off to a nearby parks to see the Floralis Generica - a massive silver flower sculpture. When it was originally built, its petals would open and close with the sun. However, with all things, the gears broke leaving the flower permanently open.

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From here, we started the walk back to the subway and our hotel. We had plans to have dinner with a friend we had met a while back on a travel website. Florencia and Pablo were gracious hosts. We met at a brewpub in Palermo for drinks and then had dinner at a traditional Argentine restaurant. We shared a huge platter of various sausages and meats. It was all wonderful! I'm still having a hard time adjusting to dinner at 9pm.

After a leisurely dinner and great conversation, we eventually called it an evening with plans to get together later in the week before we leave. All in all, today was a day to remember. Fascinating architecture in the morning and an enjoyable dinner with new friends to end the day.

Posted by Jengt 19:32 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

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