To all the boys who came on the tour, a sincere thanks for helping to make it such an enjoyable and fruitful journey. We teachers all agreed that you were a great group of young men. I am sure you gained a wealth of knowledge about classics and ancient history which is simply impossible to attain in the classroom. I’m confident you also had unforgettable experiences and forged deep relationships with each other which will last for years.
To all the family and friends who’ve made the trip possible and supported us along the way, we have really appreciated your help. It wouldn’t have been possible without you.
We have had an amazing time leading the tour; we’ll go home with great memories of our own.
Once again, I have shown my ineptitude with technology. After being kicked out of airport Wi-Fi twice, I demonstrated that I do not understand the difference between ‘Save Draft’ and ‘Publish’. So sorry for the late post guys, but here it is:
After an exhausting day in the gorge, we were looking forward to a chill last day before we left Greece. We woke up late, sat on our front porches and grabbed a quick drink. After breakfast, we hopped on our bus to Suda Bay. We reached the cemetery, where we took a look at some graves and paid our respects to the dead. After half an hour in the cemetery, we were picked up by our coach and driven to Chania. We visited the national archaeological museum of Chania, and saw some ancient things for a short while, like some impressive mosaics and grave steles. Later, we visited the maritime museum, where we saw some more cool things. The museum contained artefacts from ancient Bronze Age times to world war 2. Finally, we went and checked out a replica of an ancient Minoan ship, which was much less impressive than most of us envisioned. Finally, we went back to the hotel, where we had a fun team quiz. We were split into five teams, and we battled it out for the top. After Team One won the quiz by a one point lead after 10 gruelling rounds, we went to bed in preparation for the big day traveling home tomorrow.
What a GORGEous day in the Samarian gorge of Southern Crete. After a big night we were all pretty destroyed just like Brazil. Although we just got up at 5:45 we didn’t lose the world cup. (Germany 7 – Brazil 1). We headed to a lovely buffet breakfast in which no-one woke up early enough to be able to take full advantage and GORGE ourselves on the spread. We were shoved onto the bus which was claimed to be a 1.5 hour trip but somehow managed to turn into 3.
With all that aside we ROCKed up at the top of the soon to be 16 km walk of the majestic Samarian Gorge. Marcus stacked up on a few early morning coca-colas to get him going. Because that’s the sort of drink that gives long lasting energy”’. Anyway back to the day, we declined a steep 2km very rapidly , showing us as well who was going to be the leaders and laggers of the day. With Mr Chambers at the back keen to swim every time water showed up and Mr Pyne bouncing off rocks convincingly with his sturdy shoes and setting a good pace. With small stops every few km’s and a nice lunch break in the middle of the 5 hour walk, it was truly a serene area. Green trees and humoungous mountains surrounding us. It was at times hard to take in the gravity of how beautiful the area we were in actually was as we continually had to look at where our next step would be. For Ed and I, it was one of our favourate locations as it gaves us and the boys some personal space and ability to take in and remember where we have been, as there was a lot of thinking time.
With an interesting grand finale of the trip, Tim Latif was chased to the exit by some goats which obviously did not see a future friend in him. Walking out of the gorge and leaving it behind we entered a small town where we waited in the 700 degrees sand/ pebbles/ rock/ and had our daily dose of gyros. Before the ferry back to the bus. We are currently writing this on the ferry with some tired and sore boys on the beautiful waters although it isn’t as Samarian GORGEous. With only one day left the new boys are still going hard.
Last night was our first night experiencing the great atmosphere of Rethymon, as we adolescently ambled through its streets, and came upon many of its luxuries. These luxuries included feet nibbling fish, and a variety of traditional deserts. Our morale was brought even higher through the anniversary of Nick Adgemis’ birth, and we all aimed to make his 16th as memorable as possible.
The wake up this morning was an early one, and everybody rose to a large variety of foods presented at the hotel buffet. Having indulged in different cuisines, we left the hotel at 8am and caught a long bus ride (in which most people caught up on lost hours of sleep) to Faistus, the site of a Minoan palace, which harbored a labyrinth. Our guide, Stella showed us around the palace whilst, she and the teachers, bestowed their knowledge upon us. We wrapped it up and got on the bus for the one and a half hour trip to Knossos.
We arrived in Knossos for lunch and loaded up for the big site ahead. We walked around the site with our trusty guide, Stella. After a period of approximately an hour of observing the grand palace, and its world famous frescoes (wall paintings), we got back on the bus and proceeded to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, where we were able to observe the treasures, which used to be at Knossos. There was a lot to be learnt at this museum, especially in the line of archaeology, where Sir Arthur Evans work was on full display. Some questioned and others supported his techniques. As our energy levels began to wane, our tour of the museum finished and we were all on the bus back to our hotel.
Today was one of the longer days of the trip, but now it is time to lick our wounds and prepare for what promises to be a great (and long) day tomorrow, the Samarian Gorge where we’ll walk 16-18kms every metre of which will be made worth it when we get to swim at the end.
We’ve had a big day of travel and we’ve arrived safely in Crete for the final leg of our journey.
Unfortunately, we’re having some issues with the internet, so the boys can’t post all their great photos.
Everyone’s well and happy with only a few days left.
Thanks for all the comments, we’ll do out best to keep the posts coming. See you back in Sydney.
Another late morning, not too long before we return home, we headed off today to Nafplio to see the site of a Venetian fortress, known as the Palamidi fortress, which has changed hands between the Venetians and the Ottomans many times. There were amazing views from the top of the fortress of the harbor of Argolic Gulf. The fortress was built in 1686 though its modern form was completed around 1714. There were many dark tunnels and long hallways to be explored along with tedious flights of stairs. We counted over 900 steps on our way back down from the Palamidi fortress to the small town where we had relaxed for over two hours. During this time, we explored the town and enjoyed traditional beautiful Greek food such as the gyros for lunch. Some of the boys headed to the beach, while the rest split up around the town, checking out the various shops and enjoying drinks and desserts. We then returned to the hotel by bus and planned to go out to travel around the island and coast.
After travelling for about half an hour in a large boat, we stopped at a small island. A few explored the monastery sprawled on the top of it but most went for a swim, specifically to a roughly 6m high rock where we all jumped off with dives and front flips. We then returned to the boat, which we jumped of many times into the clear water. Having returned to the island, we had more hours of leisure time before we enjoyed a delicious dinner.
Today to continue our amazing tour of Greece with our guide Katarina, we visited the ancient sites of Mycenae (with the royal beehive tomb) and Epidavros. Mycenae was the capital city of a league of Greek states in the Peloponnese (south-west Greece or “the hand of Greece”), which was the main civilization in Greece that ruled from 1800BC-1125BC (which reached its peak in around 1400BC). Theories about the fall of the Mycenaean people are varied, ranging from a great earthquake to a sudden change of climate but the most accurate theory points to an invasion by the Dorian people from the north. The famed Lions Gate of Mycenae was truly impressive even though the ornamental lions heads of the gate were nicked when first excavated by Heinrich Schliemann who found the Acropolis (((the site of Mycenae is only the Acropolis home to the royal family, varied tombs (the most impressive being the royal Beehive tomb) and of course, temples to the goddess Gaia (meaning mother earth) with which these people were a monotheistic society))). We all went off to take a look at the site in our own time. We came across a small tunnel that led down 40 meters into the earth. It was pitch black and so some of us struggled to find our way down, but luckily no one was hurt. We aren’t too sure what it was used for but at the bottom there is a 2-foot drop, which didn’t lead to anything. After wandering around the Acropolis for 45 minutes and seeing the foundation ruins of these once awe inspiring buildings we left to go to the Mycenae museum which is honestly the “biggest” museum we’ve ever been in. The exhibits in the museum were all quality replicas as the real finds are being held in the National Archaeological museum in Athens. From Mycenae, we drove 40 minutes to the famed healing sanctuary of the god of healing, Asklepios where many came far and wide to cure themselves of a variety of afflictions. We arrived at Epidavros to a nice packed lunch of sandwiches and juice (though many could have eaten plenty more), before setting off to see Nick and Jake do their presentation before having Katarina tell us lots and lots and lots and lots of information about the historical sight. We went into the museum and looked at the artifacts. There were mainly statues and bits of old monuments and infrastructure. When we finished there we headed on over to the theatre and listened to the acoustics it had. We said goodbye to our guide and wandered off to the exit. We got lost and a bee stung Nick Agimus, but we found the exit in time and everyone caught up. However the shop clerk at a drinks stall cursed to Mr. Fisher and so Mr. Chambers was not too pleased with that. But despite all this we made it back to the hotel half an hour before Mr. Pyne predicted us to and so we all had a longer swim. Soon it was dinnertime and everyone ate, the calamari went rather rapidly, then the boys, myself included, went off to see the play. Our bus was late so Mr. Chambers gave us some background info on the story of the play and we waited. We got on the bus when it showed up and we had to get George and Ken, our Greek experts, to translate to the bus driver what we wanted and other stats. Then we were away… for 10 minutes before we had to stop and buy a ticket to Epidavros from the centre square of Tolon. Once that had been semi worked out we got on the same bus and continued our journey. It was a 40-minute drive. We got there and hurried to get good seats before the hordes of people showed up. Our seats were good and soon the play started. It had an odd and slow beginning but then it picked up with song as the background story. Luckily for us there were subtitles for the play so we knew what was going on. We saw the story of Helen of Troy in Egypt as Menelaus, her husband, washed up on their shores. She was set to marry the king’s son but did not wish to. When she met with Menelaus, they hatched a plan to escape and live happily back in Greece. The play came to an end and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We hopped back on the bus and what greeted us was a solid half hour of working out who had to pay whom for the tickets for the show and bus. It was rather tedious and confusing, but at the same time interesting and provoked much thought. Anyway things all turned out well, we got back at midnight and everyone was either asleep or watching the game. We learned quite a bit and everyone is craving the rest day we get tomorrow to explore the city and probably buy some things.
Today on our marvelous tour in Greece, we visited the Ancient site of Olympia, birthplace of the first Olympic games, which commenced over 1200 years ago. The games were held to celebrate the achievements of the human body and to honor of the Greek God Zeus. With our tour guide Mario, we discovered some of the unique secrets hidden inside this fabulous and history rich ancient city, which was submerged in water for more than 600 years. The site contained one of the Seven Ancient Wonders, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, which stood inside the temple of Zeus at more than 60 feet tall. As stated before the Olympic games were held here with fewer events compared to the modern Olympic games.
The games at Olympia are the most prestigious games in history and are still popular in today’s society, having a significant impact on the population when held every four years. Although there were fewer events in Ancient times it was still equally popular and entertaining. Unlike other games of the time, any Greek Poleis even some Roman settlements could participate. Mario, an experienced archaeologist and tour guide (almost 50 years) provided us with insightful detail into this Ancient site, helping us to understand broaden our understanding of the Ancient site of Olympia. The site also contained many other former grand and extravagant buildings such as the Temple of Zeus, Temple of Mother Gaia and the Temple of Hera. Mario explained the concepts of architecture used by the ancient Greeks to provide structural balance and the appearance of perfection of the temples. The temples were all built to different sizes but used the same formula; the side face equals the front face, times two, plus one. The sizes of the temple were determined by the importance of the deities.
After a few hours in ferocious heat, exhausted we were. Mario led us into an air-conditioned museum, a great relief for everyone. This museum contained many artifacts and pieces of archaeological evidence found from the site to be studied. Significant artifacts included casts of the Statue of Zeus, Hermes as well as warfare artifacts such as the Miltiades helmet and many others. We concluded our tour with Mario and embarked on a new journey, the bus ride to Tolon.
The journey lasted around three hours, and when we arrived in Tolon, everyone awoke to the sound of waves on the sea–shore, stunning views of the bay and the smell of sea salt. Within minutes of our arrival everyone jumped into their boardies and raided the sea–volleyball court after being inspired by the spirit and athleticism of the Ancient Olympics. We competed in a ferocious volleyball match and even Mr. Pyne participated.
After our swim, we raced to our rooms and quickly showered, and got changed for dinner. We scoffed our food in time to watch the France vs Germany match we were all excited about.
The enigmatic figure drew a deep breath, carefully selecting his words. He could feel the innumerable pairs of eyes on him, judging him, weighing up his worth. After a pause that seemed to last for eternity, he knew what to say. G’day mate. The words reverberated around the stadium. And it was that moment that I knew I, Richardo Zhangalopoulis, would forever be remembered for my brave words.
This an account of what happened at Delphi today. It was a wonderful place, and we checked out a sweet theater where I tested the acoustics by yelling our customary Australia greeting – “G’day mate”. In the morning, we all rose nice and early to check out of the hotel. After a short bus trip, we arrived at the museum, where we marveled at some sweet statues and friezes. We learned how the Greeks implemented some aspects of Egyptian sculpture in their kouros and kore statues.
They also adopted the concept of the sphinx, but modified it so that it reflected their own culture. We then checked out some friezes that depicted: the battle between the Olympian gods and the giants; and the battle from the Trojan war.
Then our guide showed us some Ancient Greek music sheets, which were much more complicated than they seemed.
Perhaps the highlight of the day was the Omphalos, the supposed ‘bellybutton/centre of the world’.
It was a stone placed on the area where the two eagles of Zeus met, held up by this column.
Our guide then showed us a cool bronze statue of an ancient charioteer, which was made by the same sculptor who made the amazing Zeus/Poseidon statue we saw the other day in the Athens museum.
Then we went outside to see the actual site of Delphi, which Fin will now discuss.
Thank you Richard for reminding me how you beat me in English. I suppose that by now the faithful readers of the blog are beginning to tire of Delphi so I will keep this short and enthusiastic.
Delphi is the second most vertical place that we have tramped about. The truth is, as with most ancient sites, there wasn’t much left. Like these ancient sites, there isn’t much left of this blog post either. We visited the rubble formerly known as the Temple of Apollo. The main thing we got out of the tour of the site was knowledge concerning the topography of the site, and maybe those with a dash of imagination could imagine how it once was.
The rest of the day involved a drowsy bus trip with a stop to eat some Souvlaki and as always, a swim.
At the close of this blog, I pose to the readers a riddle, one which we have learned from one of the many stories recounted by Mr Chambers that concerns Delphi. And for bonus points, which Greek answered it correctly.
What has four legs in the morning, two at midday and three in the evening??????????????
A big day of travel for the boys on the 3rd day in Greece, along with some sightseeing at the National Archaeological museum in Athens a quick stop off to the site of the battle of Marathon and to top it off a warm welcome to the mountains of Delphi and it’s beautiful streets.
With an early morning start tension in the group was high as well as the usual morning race to have the first use of the toilet and shower. After a filling breakfast it was only natural that the trip to the National Archaeological musuem was met with overwhelming enthusiasm (It also helped that the museum was not 3000 degrees and was indoors.) After a brief walk to the museum we embarked upon a stroll through halls filled with all sorts of beautiful greek history, including statues, pottery, weapons etc. dating back to the very first Greek settlers. As well as the desperate search for seats in each room.
What was good is the boys got some time to themselves to split up and look for bits in the museum relating to history that they enjoyed for themselves. We also had a look at the famous death mask of of King Agamemnon (general at Troy). After 2 hours at the museum we headed down to the cafeteria where we discovered a small tortoise they no one worked out how it ate/drunk/survived.
After a refreshing lunch we headed back to the hotel (semi-lost with Mr Chambers) we departed on the 1 hour bus trip to the site fo the battle of marathon, in which it took less then 5 minutes for the boys to fall to sleep. We arrived for a quick stop at the historic site of the battle of Marathon in which the Athenians won (Vs Persians).
After a quick chat we got back on and headed to the serene hillside town of Delphi with a smalls top at a country shop where we ingested some of the most unhealthy food ever seen. (a list of foods which I and Finn have never seen before). After this 3 hour drive we got the Delphi and checked into the homely hotel Acropole. With a nice dinner above us where Tim Latiff refused to eat his quiche which caused a debate between us year 11’s which is yet to end at 11 pm tonight. The night ending with a good walk around the town with a pass of the football in the town square and everyone hoping to get some good sleep for the big night at the historic sites of Delphi tomorrow.
With an early start to the day we embarked on a journey that we would never forget. We caught the metro to Sintagma and walked to the steps of the Acropolis. We started at the Propylae and gazed at the surrounding city.
We all spent a good hour investigating the sites of the Athenian Acropolis, with special interest to the Erechtheum, Temple of Nike and of course the Parthenon herself.
Following this, we explored the ancient Athenian Agora, Temple of Hephastus and the Pnyx, discovering the fundamentals of democracy as well as seeing the cultural, social, religious and economical epicenter of the ancient world.
We then headed to the Acropolis museum after a short lunch break. Through this visit we investigated the various original artifacts, the various methods they use to clean the artifacts as well as the ancient and more modern history associated such as the controversial debate on the returning of original artifacts from Britain after they were stolen by Lord Elgin in the 18th century.
Finally, the group travelled to the Plaka where we split into small groups and visited the various stores and markets seeing some unusual antique stores. After an hour of visiting this large array of stores we once again headed to the metro where we made our journey home.
After mourning the loss of the Greek national team against Costa Rica in what some might consider the best game of the world cup so far, we gathered ourselves and bade good bye to Sorrento. We arrived at the airport and bought lunch. Ryan bought a Big Mac and did not finish it.
We then caught a plane to Athens airport and made our way to the Hotel Stanley. After settling into our rooms we ate dinner on level 9 and Mr Chambers gave us a short explanation of Athenian history.
We then raced up to the top floor where we all jumped into the pool with a beautiful view of the Parthenon.
In conclusion today was mainly a day of travel and rest.
Hello again from Sorrento. Today concluded our historical sightseeing in Italy. We started the day with a small visit to the seaside fishing town of ‘Positano’, where we enjoyed incredibly beautiful scenic views.
From there we continued along the incredibly thin roads of the Amalfi Coastline with some particularly skillful driving on the part of our bus driver. We then proceeded to stop at the main village along the Amalfi coast where we were given an hour and a half to explore the village, it’s beaches, shops and rather small basilica.
After our somewhat short stop we continued along the coastline south to the Bay of Salerno, where we arrived at our last historical site in Italy – Paestum. After a brief lunch break, we explored the Greek and Roman ruins which are just north of the modern day city. Angelo (our guide) did a great job of bringing passion and life to the content which we were learning.
After having a guided tour of the miniature museum at the site, we proceeded to observe the original ruins, and in particular, the three temples which that are well preserved. Two of the temples are dedicated to the Greek goddess Hera (Roman god Juno) and the other being dedicated to the goddess Athena.
We concluded the day with a nice but occasionally playful swim at the nearby beach.
The day began at the civilized hour of 7am when we were shoved onto a bus and whisked away to the daunting Mt Vesuvio. After getting all worked up on the long climb to the crater ahead of us we plunged into the mists and ascended the mountain.
We were introduced to our guide Julian who to Mr Chambers delight spoke fluent Latin.
We entered the palace and instantly we were surrounded in 20 types of marble.
The garden however are the main feature of the palace because they stretch out into the horizon on a slight slope and it is because of this slope that allows a large continuous flow of water across 120ha through five fountains each depicting a story of shiny white marble. We rode through the Caserta gardens on bikes that broke down repeatedly along the way. I think next tour needs at least half a 6-8 hours there just to hear chamber rant on about the mythology behind each statue.
Following the water back down the slope to the palace we left to go to an amphitheater in Pozzuoli which is one of, if not the best preserved ancient Roman ring in the world. We could explore the cages and the arena underneath the ring and try to imagine what it would have been like 2000 years ago. Callum Tim and I re-enacted a scene from Gladiator which I inevitably won and we left for the lava fields Solfatara.
After shedding a brief tear for the retirement of last years guide Bruno we walked across the moon-like landscape toward gas vents coming out of the earth. On the way we threw large rocks at the ground and felt just how close we were to a chamber of extremely hot gases. After having a look at boiling mud pools we then took the long trip back to the hotel.
It’s incredibly late here in Sorrento, so we will make this brief. This has been (from the whispers of the boys) the most enjoyable day of the tour so far. We started out early with the usual thirty boys raiding the thinly supplied breakfast buffet. By 7:30 any evidence of the presence of food had vanished, and we prepared for a grandè walk on the island of Capri. Before the fun could start we voyaged across the Mediterranean ferrying to the island. Jaws dropped at the views of the island once we arrived. Clear skies and the Sun perched high the above the peaks of Capri promised a good day filled with sunburn. We scaled the mountain luckily not by foot but by a cable car. Again high on the balconies of Italian villas the cameras were flashing from every boy. The boys clearly distracted by the beautiful island and American tourists slowed our progress but eventually we started to trek up to the Villa Jovis. Not naming any names but map difficulties were encountered but eventually we persevered through the steep steps and sweat to make it to the 334m peak which felt like every boys Everest. The Emperor Tiberius’s love of luxury became clear as we walked through ruins of the once indulgent villa, a remarkably massive estate of the Ancient Roman Emperor.
Enthusiastic about the downhill trip Tim Latif sparked into song resonating around the island and made the Newington presence known on the island
After the boys split for a earned lunch break the journey continued and we moved to the harbour for a hour boat trip. Circling the island we finally stopped and the long awaited swim lit every eye. Everyone quickly on cue flung themselves into the water enjoying the deep blue water. Boys started to flip from the boat and Mr Chambers took this opportunity to try and do the same but fell and had a rather uncomfortable landing followed by a loud slap. The boys made sure Sir did not forget that.
After the long swim the staff let us venture by ourselves to look around for themselves. We saw many uncomfortable boys not use to the hard pebble beaches walking awkwardly on barefeet. Although was no Bondi the water was great and the Italians packed the beach adding to the local experience. Others took the opportunity to converse with the locals or again got caught up with the American tourists. Tom Lance managed to spend money to buy matching hats and others sunburnt retreated to shade and ate gelato.
By the end of the day lots of sad faces were seen when we had to leave Capri, many were considering a permanent move to the island. All the boys clearly loving the island and not ready to leave talked of future trips back there but the ferry would not wait any longer so we boarded and left. This spelled end of a great a day filled with Sun, swimming, food and history but mostly importantly American Tourists.
Its been a really long day and instead of giving you a longwinded essay of what we did today, we’ve decided to save ourselves (and you) the trouble and just give you the highlights. By way of a brief overview, we visited the excavated ruins of Herculaneum with our tour guide Mario and proceeded onto the Archaeological museum located in Naples which exhibited preserved items from the remains of both Pompeii and Herculaneum. But here are the best things:
– (Super) Mario the infamous tour guide that showed us around the ancient ruins of Herculaneum, he was slow off the mark but loved by all
– Kenn and Finn (2 self-proclaimed alpha males) getting cornered by numerous Italian women + a confused Italian gentleman
– Everyone exhausted but happy in front of the archaeological museum located in Naples
– A part of the archaeological museum that everyone found interesting to say the least . . . .
– Mr Chambers and the latin boys flaunting their supposed translation skills
– Mr Chambers content after parading his latin prowess
– The boys engaging in a discussion about Hercules in the archaeological museum in Naples
– Observing the some 300 skeletons found in the boat sheds where people hid during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, it was a rare treat to see these skeletons on public display
– Walking through the semi-preserved homes of Herculaneum that were buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD
With a relatively early breakfast at 7:30AM, we packed and were ready to go, with Tom Lance and I making our presentation about Pompeii in the foyer of the hotel before we departed for the station, having a quick stop to buy water and fruit. Having caught the train, we arrived at the Pompeii station(‘Pompei Scavi’) at approximately 9:30AM.
After a short walk, we arrived to the site of Pompeii and were introduced to our guide Vincenzo, who gave a short introduction before we left for the amphitheater.
After we left the amphitheater, we walked among the streets, discussing how they were preserved so well and the techniques of archaeology in the past. We worked our way to the Garden of Fugitives, which displayed a number of preserved plaster casts of human remains.
Vincenzo led us through various side streets, discussing various facets of Roman life as well as interesting facts, and showed us a vast unexcavated and unexplored area, which composed nearly 40% of Pompeii.
Over the course of the next hour, we walked among various houses, exploring multiple rooms such as the atrium and fascinated in the well-preserved frescoes. We also navigated through specific parts of the town, viewing places such as religious altars and monuments.
At approximately midday, we entered a theatre, which is showed in the heading photo.
We then walked down the main street where we observed fountains and the features of a typical street.
We later entered into the forum, where the whole site was centered around and various collections of artifacts were situated.
At 1PM, we left for lunch and having finished our meals, we visited the lupanar(brothel) where there were interesting pictures decorating the wall and the bakery where we observed ancient Roman baking techniques.
After we viewed these, we walked among a few more houses before we left Pompeii. Then we travelled by train to Oplontis, the luxury villa of Poppaea, Nero’s wife, where we walked among the colorful frescoes and viewed the ancient pool.
Footsore and weary, we returned to the hotel where we all had a swim before going out to dinner and exploring Sorrento at night.
Pompeii, unlike any other historical site(besides Herculaneum, which is featured tomorrow), allows the casual observer to relate and empathise with their ancient lifestyle. We walked the cobblestone streets which the ancient Romans walked, admired the same monuments, appreciated the same architecture… and fascinated in the same erotic artwork.
In fact, when we closed our eyes, it almost felt like nothing changed at all.
Having an intense dose of ancient history over the first two days, we mixed the pot this morning by traveling to Monte Cassino. After a two-hour drive along the Italian countryside we arrived at the 6th century Benedictine Monastery / WW2 battleground / Casino. The site is situated on the top of a 1700ft. peak at an almost vertical gradient.
After reveling in the traditional dances of the Italian monks (pictured below), we were gifted with quick tour of the monastery, after which we were granted a half hour silent tour of the Museum situated at the heart of the construction.
The tour of the museum provided two main benefits to us students. The first, was that we were able to appreciate the works in an environment that was so different from previous experiences, as it lacked the over-crowded atmosphere that was so typical of the Roman sites. The second benefit was the wonderful views that it offered (see below) – which consequently lead to our exploration of the Polish WW2 cemetery – containing the deceased allied Polish soldiers during the battles along the Gustav line.
After examining the sites, one aspect that we found particularly interesting was the dates at which the soldiers perished. Having a decent understanding of the main battles fought in this region, it was interesting to link the dates with those on the tomb stones of the soldiers. Seeing the hundreds of soldiers tombs marked with the dates of the significant battles solidified the gravity of the aftermath of war.
Our stomachs gave in on the way to Sorrento. At the bus driver’s recommendation we made a stop at the local deli where we cleared out the prosciutto and consumed a total of 52 sandwiches between the lot of us.
We are exhausted, so we are wrapping this up without doing it justice and going to bed. Sorry everyone. Other interesting points of the day include:
Learning that the bus driver was the cousin of the centre back for Italy was his cousin – (the guy that got bitten by Suarez)
Today after an early start, we set out into Rome again.
We went to the forum in hopes of going to Palantine hill. Unfortunately we did not have enough time, as we were to meet the tour guide at the wedding cake palace.
After meeting up with the guide we went to the ruins of the theatre of Pompeii, were Julius Caesar was killed. This has now become a sanctuary for stray cats.
We then continued on to the Pantheon. This is where performed our speech. Inside we saw the tombs of the Italian kings, Vittorio Emanuele II and his son Umberto I.
After this we continued to the Piazza Novona. Here, we stopped for lunch and saw a statue dedicated to the four main rivers of the Ancient World (Nile, Danube, ). This was also the site of an arena which hosted athletic events. After a brief stop at a gelato store, we continued by bus to the Vatican city. While waiting for the bus, Kenn successfully haggled ‘RayBans’ for half-price (10 euros, which could have been 5).
We reached the Vatican, and soon we where skipping the 100 metre queue and going into the main gate. After passing through the security check, we learnt about the early christianity and its art in Rome. Soon enough, we were at the Sistine chapel, where Mr Chambers once again got caught taking photos.
After dinner, a few of us went to Porta Maggiore, where we saw a tomb dedicated to a baker and his family. This is a unique monument, as it is very rare to find a freedman, who had become so wealthy that he would be able to afford to have his tomb built just outside the city gates.
Today at around 2pm we arrived in Rome after a very long travelling period. We hit the ground running and immediately left for the hotel, where after a couple of minutes to freshen up, we left for the colosseum and the forum. When we arrived there was a quick lecture given to the boys by professors W. Naayen and J. Hare.
We saw many interesting sights in the Colosseum and the forum while also learning about the interesting history of the colosseum. This included one quote fom our great local guide Carlotta that will stay with us for the rest of the trip: “Rome is like a lasagne.”
By the time we got to dinner we were a bad combination of hungry and exhausted however after a big meal, everyone is going to bed light hearted and hopefully fresh for another big day for tomorrow.
Welcome to the classics tour blog. During the tour this will be a great way for parents, friends and relatives to check in on what we’re doing.
Boys will be making posts here during the tour; they will be sharing what they have learned and experienced. Different boys will post each day, their post will coincide with a short presentation they will give to the group about a historical site we are visiting. Boys can click this link to check when they’re presenting and posting.
We also need a handful of boys to act as administrators for this blog. They will be responsible for helping to administer the content, helping other boys make their posts, and writing a few additional posts. If this appeals to you please see Mr Fisher after the meeting.