Category Archives: Crete

Final Countdown

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:

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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.

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A GORGEous day

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.

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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.

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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.

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(PS sorry for bad puns)

Cheers,

Ed penrose, Rafi newell

Is this not but a Minotaur, a false creation proceeding from the heat oppressed brain.

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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.

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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.

Exploring Nafplio and the Islands

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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.

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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.

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Nick and Jake

Strollin’ through Tolon

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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.

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