Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last day.... Coliseum!!

Our last day in Rome, Italy!! We started our last day by going to the Coliseum! This was by far my favorite thing to see on the trip. Just to be inside this building where the gladiators fought was an awesome feeling! After we saw the Coliseum we ate some lunch then split up to do our scavenger hunt! We had 4 hours to go around Rome to see all the historical sights. We went and saw the Forum Romanum, Capitoline Hill, Piazza Venezia, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant'Angelo, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Colonna, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. It was a great day! Just to walk the streets at your own pace and just shop! We had a lot of fun! I am so blessed to be able to go on this once in a lifetime trip. Being my age and seeing all of these historical sights is an amazing feeling! Thank you Mom, Dad, Mrs. Wells and Discovery Student Adventures.

Sarah York
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The last day in Rome

Tomorrow we head back to the United States. While we are sad to be leaving Italy, it is time to see family and friends again. The students are enjoying their last night together and will post about today's activities while they are waiting on their flights. They have been awesome bloggers and great travelers. I think they were the perfect group to travel to Greece and Italy, and I will have fond memories of them. I have known Jon for a long time and will always remember his love of meeting people and his willingness to help out the group whenever needed. He will go far in this life, and I look forward to helping him on his future medical missions. Austin has grown tremendously while on this trip. Every day I watched him take on more leadership responsibilities and will always remember his confidence when he gave his presentation before the sea turtle volunteers in Greece. I have also enjoyed his wit and great sense of humor. Bethany, what a traveler she is! She has such a sense of awe when she visits new sites. I found her to be the one I turned to whenever I experienced something that was too beautiful for words. She not only understands beauty, she feels it. Sarah was the only traveler I had never had in class. What a joy it has been to get to know her. She is full of practical information and about as dependable a kid as I have ever known. She loves learning about new places; I predict that more travel lies in her future. She could go anywhere and find her way around. Niki is my travel companion. I will miss her tremendously next year but am grateful that I have had the opportunity to travel to five countries with her. She and I share many memories, and I feel that she is going to make a huge impact on this world. Our traveling days may have come to an end, but our paths have become too entwined for us to go separate ways. She will always remain an integral part of my life. Thanks guys for a great trip. Karen Wells

The Vatican

Visiting the Vatican wasn't on my bucket list, but it should have been! How amazing the whole experience has been. Visiting the Sistene Chapel literally took my breath away. Because our guide had gone over the details of the artwork before we entered the building, I was able to pick out images that I would not have been able to before his talk. Just the sheer magnitude of the artwork and the skill involved was pretty amazing. One interesting fact I learned was that the Japanese had paid to have the paintings cleaned in the past couple of years. As part of their agreement, they have the copyright to the images. Thus, they are the only ones who can take pictures of the ceiling until 2015. We also visited Saint Peter's Basilica when Peter is buried. Twenty thousand people a day visit this site. While the area was filled with beautiful statues, we had to hurry through because of the magnitude of the crowd. We also visited a priest in Saint Ann's Church. Saint Ann was the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. The priest's talk was very informative and helped clear up some questions I had about the Catholic religion. We finished with a visit from a former Swiss Guard and witnessed the changing of the guard. Karen Wells

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Vatican

A country within a city!! It was so beautiful! First we waited in line for 45min to get into the Vatican. Then we got a guided tour of the museum...so much to see in such a little time. Some of our favorite things were the sistine chapel, all the super old statues, and st. Peters basilica! The Sistine chapel was soo amazing! All the art work was soo beautiful...and learning what it all meant was even better! Once our tour was done we headed over to St. Peters square! We went inside the basilica...all the detail to everything in side was so amazing, it was hard to grasp everything. Soon after that we went and talked to a Roman catholic priest and it was very educational. Once done with that we went back to St. Peter's square and talked to a Swiss guard! It was a little hard to understand him since he had a Swiss accent but it was overall really good. We had dinner at this little restaurant and ate really yummy food! We went back to the hotel after that and walked around some. Now it's night time



Megan Tappan and Alexis Cordova

A Day in the Vatican

Today we went to the Vatican. It was simply amazing. It was much different than what I expected. In a day's time, we didn't even scratch the surface. There were famous statues, paintings, and artifacts. Like in Athens, I couldn't wrap my head around what I was seeing. The details of the artwork were unbelievable. There just aren't painters like that anymore. There were all sorts of optical illusions and all the ceilings were covered in art. When we went to the Sistine Chapel I didn't know what to think. We weren't allowed to talk or take pictures because we were in a holy place. To look up and see what Michelangelo depicted as creation and sin coming into the world was unbelievable. He truly was a gifted man. He would stay up for days at a time painting; this is what caused his eyes to bleed. He also stood painting with his head lifted up for so long that he couldn't put it down and had to have a chiropractor fix it. As I stared in silence, I couldn't help but wonder if it was because nobody was allowed to talk or if everybody was in awe. I think it may have been a little of both. Niki Pulliam


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Day 13

Today we had a jam-packed day. We woke up pretty early and boarded the bus. We arrived at the Vatican after a short bus ride. We were a little early, so we found us a spot in line. We waited for about an hour before we made it in. We had to pass through security and me and Ms. Wells got our bags taken away. It turned out to be a good thing when we didn't haven to carry them around. We entered the Vatican after that. We saw many amazing sights including St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Pope's gardens, and more. We also saw many sculptures that had been well preserved; they also had the only sculpture that had the original eye paintings on it. The Pope's gardens were amazing, but they lacked only one thing. The pope :/. We walked through the Sistine Chapel where there were many great sights and a lot of shushes from guards. We also talked to a "retired" Swiss Guard about his service along with other things. We had a good time, and I can't wait till tomorrow.

Austin


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Day 13 The Vatican!!

Today we got up really early to go stand in line to see the Vatican. We have been in 3 countries in the past 2 weeks. The Vatican was an amazing place! So many paintings and famous sculptures. It was such an overwhelming feeling to be in there. After we saw the Vatican we went and talked to a Roman Catholic Priest. He explained the Vatican and the Roman Catholic religion to us. After we left the church, we went to Saint Peter's Basilica where we saw a statute of St. Peter and the Swiss guards. Then we actually got to talk to a former Swiss guard. He showed us the changing of the Swiss guards. This was a really cool thing to see; that was my favorite part of today. The Sistine Chapel was really awesome. This building is older than America itself. It was absolutely amazing. I can't even believe I saw that today!
Sarah York


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Day 13

Well, today we to the Vatican. It was so much too absorb in such a short time. I saw some of the most incredible paintings and sculptures ever!! The Sistine Chapel was breathtaking. I still can't believe how beautiful it was. We also saw Saint Peter's Basilica which was equally amazing. We got to see Saint Peter all dressed up which is special because tomorrow is his day!! We also talked to a priest and a Swiss Guard which was very educational. Overall, a wow day!!! Jon Farrar

A Whole New World

Today we traveled to a different country that resides within another country. The Vatican. We waited in line outside its city walls excited to get in. I had never realized that the Vatican was indeed its own country and how important it was to the world. It was so odd being there knowing that the pope was actually on the city's grounds and also some of the worlds most famous and life changing people had been there to visit just I had today. As we walked through the museum filled with extravagant paintings and statues, I was struggling to take it all in. So much beauty to see and hundreds of years of history in art that surrounded us was almost overwhelming. I was also getting extremely anxious as we got closer and closer to the entrance of the Sistine Chapel. The signs near the entrance were telling those fixing to go in to remain silent while in the chapel and to refrain from using our cameras. When we were in under the awe-inspiring scenes painted on the arched ceilings and standing by all the painted murals on the walls, I got chills. The amazing beauty and the shocking realization that I was in the Sistine Chapel was so powerful. We looked around and our tour guide said that the building was older than the discovery of America. And I was in it. I could have stayed in there for days just observing in silence the intricate details that years of hard work strived to perfect. After we left the Vatican city, we visited Saint Peter's Basilica. There too were grand paintings, statues, and architectural structures. We also talked to a Roman Catholic priest and a former Swiss Guard member. Today was a wonderful and once in a lifetime experience. Overall, my first impression of Roma left me speechless.

Bethany Roberson

Monday, June 27, 2011

I conquered Mt Etna!! ( Day 9 & 10)

Today we got the chance to go to the local pottery shop and try our hand out at painting pottery. Later that day we took our bike ride around Mt Etna. On day 10 we got up bright and early to start out hike on Mt Etna. We hiked 4 hours, we reached 2900 meters. This is not all the way at the top because Mt Etna was looking active, so for safety reasons that was as high as we could go. Being on top of that volcano was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. We got so high up we were in the snow, where we had a snowball fight. How many people can say they had a snowball fight on an active volcano in Italy?!? Being up that high were you can see everything opens up a new perspective on your life, the world and your heart. I experienced this and became very emotional, but I am very glad to be standing at the top of that volcano and feel this. For a very hard climb, being sunburnt and sore the next day it was worth it in the end to see that view from the very top.
Sarah York

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Pompei

Check one off my bucket list. When I was a little girl, I had a book about Pompei. I thought it was the most amazing book, and today I got to walk through the streets of Pompei! It was a huge city with all kinds of shops and bakeries, and to actually be able to run my hands along the ancient walls and see the chariot tracks in the road gave me chills. As a young girl, I never dreamed I would someday experience Pompei with a group of my students. One of the reasons it was amazing was because we had a tremendous guide who gave us great insight into the history of Pompei. For example, I did not know that the gladiators who fought in the city's stadium were actually prisoners who remained locked up in individual cells surrounding the city's main theatre area. These men were only able to come out when they needed to practice for their upcoming events. How frightening it must have been for them to feel the earthquakes that shook the city in the days immediately preceding the explosion and to see the ash and smell the gases that escaped from the mountain. They had no place to go. This tour was one of my favorites so far.
Karen Wells

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R & R to Ashes

Day 11 was an easier day. Some time was spent on the bus traveling, but then we got our day going. We got up and had breakfast. Then, we hit the road once again. Our first destination was to the pottery shop that we visited a few days ago to pick up our finished pottery. After that we visited a nearby farm that produced marmalade. We had lunch there and then traveled to Palermo, Italy to board yet another ferry. We had several hours of free time; we spent them walking around, exploring, and talking on the boat. When we arrived in Naples this morning, we unboarded - or however you say it - the ferry. We went to a water park this morning as well! They had slides, a pool, and more. The water was pretty frigid ( Sarah's description ) though. Afterwards, we headed off to Pompei, the city that was completely buried under 24 feet of flaming hot ash. The structures were built about 2,000 years ago and were beginning to be excavated in the 17th or 18th century. The structures that the Romans were able to construct at that time is amazing. The fact that they have been so well preserved is astonishing to me. It is definitely a sight to see. They had restaurants, cross walks, plumbing and more. It is obvious that they were a dominant civilization. Now we are on our way to Rome. Only a few days left and so much more to explore!

- Austin

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Day 11 & 12 Marmalade & Pompei!!!

On day 11 we got to see the plates we got to decorate, then we headed to see how marmalade was made. All the fruit was grown on site and used to make marmalade and for cooking. That night we got on another overnight ferry, and we woke up in Naples. On day 12 we started the day off by going to a water park and dancing by the pool. We left the park and had lunch, spaghetti! We then got to see Pompei, we learned that the city of Pompei was built a thousand years ago. When Mt. Vesuvius erupted it covered the city with 24 feet of ash. It was buried for thousands of years and no one knew about it. People were frozen in whatever daily activities they were doing from the intense heat. It reached approximately 500 degrees. Not only people where frozen but animals, bread, cheese, and pottery; were frozen in what ever condition they were in when the volcano erupted. It was the most amazing sight to see this city that existed thousands of year ago, then covered in ash and then found again. Now we are headed to the city of Roma!!!

Sarah York


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Days 11 and 12

Day 11 was mainly a travel day but we got to tour a Marmalade factory and even though we was sunburnt we had fun!! We also saw an Italian wedding, had an interesting dinner, and then boarded the ferry! Day 12 we got to experience an Italian water park which was awesome!! It was like a water party. There was dancing and fun everywhere! After we had amaaaazing spaghetti, we toured Pompei. Pompei is amazing something so tragic that is so beautiful it's hard to wrap your head around it. Gosh this trip has flown by; it's truly amazing though!!


-Jon Farrar

Italy Frozen In Time

Yesterday we left the Kikajon lodge and went to a marmalade factory. Italy is very big on agriturismo, which is a mix between agriculture and tourism. This is what the marmalade factory was. Tourist could come and room there and have recreational activities; however, all their farm was there also such as cherry trees, orange trees, and so on. After touring the farm, we had lunch from the actual farm. Then we went to Palermo to have dinner and board our overnight ferry to Naples. The restaurant we ate at was established in 1834. It was neat to have Italian food in such an old restaurant. On the ferry we got a special tour of the boat. We got to see many things behind the scenes like the navigation room, where the captian has dinner, and we met some of the cooks. As good as yesterday was, today was just incredible. When we got off our ferry, we went to a water park! The water was so cold at first, but how could we complain when we were in Italy?! Then the staff came out and started singing and dancing beside the wave pool. Along with some other people there, the staff drug Dr. Lacey, Alexis, Megan, Bethany, and me out there to dance along with them. It was so much fun. After all that we were hungry. We went to lunch where we had spaghetti! It was the best spaghetti I have ever tasted and it filled me up. I should've known better than to eat so much because then came out our second course. Chicken and fries. It was so good, but so much. And of course they brought us delicious ice cream for dessert. Then we went to Pompei. It was so different than what I expected. Pompei was covered in ash from a volcano in 79 a.d. Because of this the ancient city of Pompei was literally frozen in time. The remains were incredible. The city was so well remained that as I walked on the originals cobblestone road, I could see where the chariots made grooves in the road. There were bakeries, theaters, and courthouses. As I sat in the spot a council man may sat in the amphitheater and my feet touched the original marble, I was amazed. Pictures on the walls and signs above houses were still there. The town of Pompei that I walked down was bigger than my hometown. This was a huge city. It was so sad to see that it was destroyed, but so interesting to see it preserved.

Niki Pulliam

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Fire and Ice

Mt. Etna - what magic lies on top of its dome. Fire boils deep in the cone and ice forms a winter scene inside the craters. It is a setting full of contrast - an ever changing landscape that draws out emotions from deep inside that erupt with a power much like that of the volcano. Many of the students have relayed facts about the volcano itself; others have talked about the emotional release a person feels when he is above the clouds. I was very intrigued with the plants and examined the ones that struggled to survive on the lava beds. The plant with the red flower is the first to peek its head out (usually eight to ten years after an eruption) with the yellow plant following close behind. Trees usually appear after 100 years. Although there was a mild eruption this May, most of the lava flow we traversed is from the 2002 eruption. Thus, the landscape is still very barren with a smattering of flowering plants - almost like walking on the moon. After our guide led us down into a volcanic crater, he took me aside and showed me a plant that was surviving even though it was feeling the direct blast from an active steam vent. Amazing! Equally amazing is the journey we took down the mountain. Not necessarily the journey of hiking down, but the journey of friendship. Midland parents, you would have been proud of your students. Like true Mustangs they formed a bond that was amazing to behold. It became a journey of making sure that everyone finished the hike. When altitude sickness or aching joints made the journey tough for some, others fell into place to offer an arm for support or to pick up a backpack. Looking out for self became less important than the group's best interest. The power of the mountain led some to openingly share emotions and fears they had kept hidden. The topic of conversation quickly turned to the opportunity that had been given to them by their parents. They felt undeserving of the sacrifices others had made that allowed them to travel to Greece and Italy. I assured them that working multiple jobs, taking out loans, and putting your children first are part of being a parent and providing experiences for your child. We talked about "paying it forward" to their children and grandchildren. Giving future generations the opportunity they had been given - the opportunity to experience the world. When you see the souvenirs made from volcanic rock, remember it's much more than a reminder of where they been and what they have accomplished; it's a symbol of who they have become and where they are going. May the power of the mountain live within them always, Karen Wells
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Mt. Etna....we conquered it!!!

On day 9 &10 we conquered Mt. Etna!!! On day 9 we had to mountain bike up the side of the volcano. It was so difficult but the view at the end was worth it. We were supposed to mountain bike for 5k but we only were able to complete 1 which ended up taking 2 hours! The view at the end was amazing! On day 10 we were suppose to hike up to the top and down, but because of Mt. Etna's activity a jeep had to take us up to about 2900k and we hiked down. Being at the top of the volcano was amazing! We felt like we were on top of the world, well we were because we were above the clouds!!! The hike down was amazing and had some great views...especially when the guide showed us the Craters. We even went inside one!! Even though it was scary when we went off the road, in the end it was all worth it! How many people can say they hiked an active volcano! Megan and I were buddies the whole way down...we sang songs and ran down some parts of the volcano! Not to brag or anything.....but yes we were the first ones down!!!! Today we got out plates that we made on day 8! And now we are on our way to catch the ferry back to main land Italy!!!
-Megan Tappan and Alexis Cordova.

The Extreme Challenge: Mount Etna

I've survived Mount Etna! I knew that it was going to be physically challenging, but I had no idea it was going to be anything like it was once I got up there. The first part of the challenge was the bike ride. We started at a certain point of a bike trail. After about ten minutes, I was already getting tired and feeling the burn in my legs. But I kept going knowing that I should not give up. We went up and saw a lava flow or what was left of it, which was tons and tons of black rock that wound all the way up the mountain. It was an amazing sight to see with its cryptic feel and dark existence. After we got to a point to where we couldn't go any further, we turned our bikes around and coasted down the slope we had climbed. The rest of the evening we rested, preparing our bodies for the challenge that was to come the next day. The following morning we left and a bus took us to the top of the volcano. On the way up, the altitude started getting to me. It made me weak and somewhat nauseas. At the peak I was shaky, both with sickness and the overwhelming fact that I was on an active volcano in Italy. But I knew that I had to go on. I had to overcome the obstacle, I had to face the challenge, and I had to experience the vulnerability that the volcano gave me. I knew I had made the right choice when I saw the deep craters that lay on the side if the mountain and when I saw the surrounding ocean and towns from miles and miles away. It was absolutely breathtaking and so amazing. It will be something that I will tell people about for the rest of my life.

Bethany Roberson

Days 9 and 10 Mt. Etna

This trip is hard to explain, never could I have dreamed about what all we would see and do. Mt Etna is an active volcano and on day 9 we biked through lava flats up hills and around the mountain. Biking around the mountain was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I had to keep telling myself to keep going it was worth it in the end. I was proud I only pushed my bike once! The view was incredible you could see so much! It wasn't until day 10 though that I truly appreciated Etna. Standing above the clouds at 2900 meters was such a mix of emotions. You feel so free and the moment will take your breathe away. I couldn't stop thinking about my family and all they have done for me especially Gran, Pops and Moma, they help me climb the mountains in my everyday life and if it wasn't for them I couldn't have reached the top of this mountain. We had a snowball fight on a volcano :) who does that!?!?! On the way down we had a group heart to heart and our little family got even closer. When this dream is over and we get back to reality, it's going to be weird without them!! I will never forget yellin with Niki on top of the volcano and so many other things!! This is truly a dream trip!!

-Jon Farrar

We Rode The Bull!

The past two days were spent mostly on Mt. Etna. Friday we visited a pottery shop and painted our own plate. It looked so easy when the professional did it, but it wasn't easy for me at all. You had a flat surface that you spun the plate on, and you kept your brush steady to paint smoothly. I immediately thought it would be simple, but it wasn't; I had a tough time keeping my brush steady. Mine wasn't the best plate, but I am proud of it. After painting our plates, we ate lunch at our lodge near Mt. Etna. After that we went mountain biking on the amazing volcano. We chose our bikes, and then blasted off. It was definitely a challenge, but I made it to where we stopped. On the way we were able to see previous lava flows from 2002. They covered quite a large area. We also had many great views of the surrounding cities and the sea. The trip back was nearly all downhill. It was very fun. The amazing views and the wind through my hair were definitely worth the effort I put into biking up, let alone the sense of accomplishment it gave me. Dr. Lacey and I stuck together on the trip down. We both enjoyed every second of it. When we all reached the bottom, we grabbed a drink to refresh ourselves. I think we all deserved a nice, cold coca cola. Yesterday was the big day. We got up and pumped for the day ahead. We loaded the bus that the guides provided, handmade our way to 2,900 meters (approximately 8,700 feet) on the volcano. We saw tons of snow by the time we reached our destination. It was a lot harder to breathe when I stepped off the bus, but it didn't seem too bad. I was in awe by how close we were to the top and the views of much of the island. We could see that we were above the clouds that were to our left. We then took pictures before we began our descent. After that we began our journey for the day. Not long after we started, we came across one of the large patches of snow that we had seen on the climb up. We took group pictures, and then we had a quick - but intense - snowball fight. That was fun! Having a snowball fight at 2,900 meters on a volcano! I was surprised because it was not that cold, but there was snow. It is still a mystery to me. The trip down the volcano was extraordinary. We talked and took our time. I know that we grew much closer as a group and learned much about one another. The descent took about four hours. We were able to go inside one of the craters that had previously erupted. We saw and felt the steam that was rising between a few of the rocks in the crater. It was hot - our guide said about 100*. After viewing the crater, we once again began descending. We later stopped for lunch on a previous lava flow and saw a large black boulder looking object. It was black, matching the rest of the lava. Our guide said that it was a boom, or an explosion that resulted in this object. We found relatively flat surfaces and ate our lunch. That is where Ms. Wells ripped her pants. Good thing she had several layers on. After lunch, we continued down the volcano. Once we reached the bottom we were proud of our accomplishment! We rode the bull! We then had the chance to visit souvenir shops. After that we all returned to the lodge, cleaned up, and slept. Being on this volcano gives you a new perspective of the world. I was amazed at what God has created. It is simply amazing. These two days have been my favorites so far, and I can't wait till Rome now!
Austin

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A Perspective From Mt. Etna

The past two days we have had an adventure that most never have accomplished. We mountain biked and hiked Mt. Etna. The first day we arrived to our lovely lodge, Kikajon. Our room had two big beds, a bunk bed, and a private garden. After we got settled in and had lunch, we went to mountain bike Etna. The task was more difficult than I think any of us thought it would be. The next day we got up, sack lunches in hand, and headed out to Etna. Instead of climbing up Etna, they changed plans. We got on a truck and rode to the top, only to hike all 2,900 meters down. This was so wonderful because the altitude got to some of us, and it would also be extremely difficult to both climb and hike on the volcano. The sights were unbelievable. At the top of the volcano, Jon and I screamed to the top of our lungs. We felt as if we were on top of the world. We could see miles of Italy's landscape, including cities and the ocean. We played in the snow as we watched the volcano smoke. Then we began our four hour hike down. As beautiful as the sights were, my favorite thing I saw was six different people coming together to take care of one another on our journey. We went to our own pace and talked about many things. Our travel manager told us that from the mountain our perspective has an open view, therefore opening our hearts. That is exactly what we did on Mt. Etna.

Niki Pulliam


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The Truth about White River Rafting!

There are rumors circulating that Jon had to save me from the Lao River. It's sad that he holds such a grudge from the day I beat him in arm wrestling at the Olympic stadium. So sad... They forgot to mention that I kept a couple of them from falling out of the boat. What Jon doesn't know is that I was testing his swimming abilities, so keep that in mind when you see his pictures. I had to make it look believable! It really was an amazing day. Skimming over the rapids and through the canyons was a wonderful experience. The clear water and the fern covered canyon walls was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen. Now it's off to make pottery and learn more about the city of Caltagirone.
Karen Wells

I, Jon Farrar, did save Ms Wells she was not testing me but scared to death as she almost floated down the three foot deep river and couldn't stand up!!! P.S. You got hacked!! :p

You are exaggerating, Jon! Karen Wells

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A day of excitement

We white water rafted on the Lao river today. At the moment, all I could say was wow. We all had so much fun. The water seemed ice cold on my feet at first, but it let up after I got used to the feeling. There were tons of rapids, and I came close to falling out once. Eventually we came upon a huge waterfall, and we all gathered together beneath it for a picture. It rained gallons of water upon us. It felt great and refreshing. When we rafted further toward the end, we were able to swim in the river. We all jumped in from the raft; it was very cold! It felt as If at any moment I would turn into a block of ice. Despite the sheer cold of the water, we all had a quick swim.
Afterwards, we changed and boarded our bus. We eventually ate lunch, and then ferried our way to the island of Sicily. Tomorrow we bike around the huge volcano, Mt. Etna. I'm excited!

- Austin
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Day 8!!

By far one of my favorite days! We got to go white water rafting!!! That was an amazing experience! I would love to be able to do it again! My boat never got stuck, unlike the other boat! We only came close to flipping on the very last rapid. That just shows how great we work as a team. We also got to float in the river beside the boat and over some small rapids! Even though we were all in wet suits and looked weird, it was the finest day!! I loved every minute of it!
Sarah York


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Day 8

Well today we got up early again but like everything on this trip it is so worth it! We had a short bus ride after breakfast then we arrived at the base building for white water rafting. In the wet suit I felt like a mix of a superhero and the little fat kid at camp lol! It was so much fun the river was so cold but what we saw was indescribable. The boat I was on worked so well together, Sarah and myself was in such perfect sink that we coulda passed for a rowing team lol!! My favorite part though was when they let us get out and float!! I'll never forget having to grab Ms Wells who thought she was drowning in waist deep water her arms and legs kicking everywhere as I pulled her out by her lifejacket... PRICELESS!!! Hehehe!! I really enjoy our group we are a small family and I enjoy traveling with them! That's all till later!


- Jon Farrar

White water rafting

We white water rafted the Lao River. After putting on our dry suits and a quick rafting lesson, we headed out. I was amazed at the beauty of the river. It was in a canyon and there were waterfalls, bridges, and caves. I just sat there in awe and thanked God for his beautiful creations. It was also a lot of fun. My favorite part was when we jumped out of the rafts into the freezing water. We floated down stream for a little ways and as Mrs. Wells was floating she yelled for Jon not to let her go down river. He caught her and told her to stand up. She yelled " I can't, I can't!" in between laughing. He was in about three feet of water pulling her up by her life jacket. It was one of the funniest things I've seen. After rafting we headed to Sicily. We had a long bus ride that we sang our favorite songs on. We finally made it to our destination later that night and had dinner with the volcanologist. He told us about Mt. Etna and how we may get to see some amazing sights.

Niki Pulliam


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Rafting the Beautiful Lao River
























































































Thursday, June 23, 2011

While we are on Mount Etna we will not have Internet service for a couple of days but will post when we get access.

Italy? Or Paradise?

As we all woke up early on the ferry boat, we weren't very tired because we were all very excited for Italy. The beautiful surroundings, the amazing culture of the people, and the famous pizzas and pastas. We got off the boat, loaded onto our new bus, and traveled to Alberlobello to see the magnificent Trulli houses. They were most known for their unique structure and the way the roofs are cone shaped. Also the entire structure was made of entirely limestone. After we toured the Trulli neighborhood, we shopped and went for lunch. To start the Italy part of the trip, we had delicious pizza. We then began our journey into the country side to the cheese factory. The land was beautiful and the evening was peaceful as we ate with the sight of the lush mountains all around us. This experience has been a dream.

Bethany Roberson



Yesterday we got off the fairy! Then we went to see the trullie...cone houses and we had lunch! For lunch we had amazing pizza...italian style! It was the best food ever! Then we experienced an Italian concert. It was soooooo much fun! Today we went wild white water rafting and it was indescribable! We stood under a water fall and took lots of pretty pictures. Now we are off to eat lunch!! Hopefully it is going to be delicious!!

Chow,
Megan Tappan and Alexis Cordova

Day 7

I'm having a lot of fun, it's unbelievable. We've done so many fun things and have seen so many magnificent sights. It's not even half over yet. The attitude and spirit of our group is completely amazing; they allow me to have a great time at every site and enjoy each activity we do. Today we left the ferry, and we were finally in Italy. The first sights were incredible. The sea, the landscape, and so much more. We found out we were going to white water raft tomorrow; I think that everyone is very excited. We saw the most ancient part of Bari, Italy today. This are was full of houses made of stone called Trulli. A unique feature of them is that they have roofs that are coned shaped and made of limestone. Another unique feature is that they were created without the use of cement. People are unable to imitate these structures today without using cement. We also visited a cheese factory and had the chance to help make some. The owners showed us how, and we even got to eat it afterwards. I was great - in my opinion. I am having a great time, and I can't wait until tomorrow!

- Austin

Day 7

Well we woke up on the ferry but after a short time we were in Italy!!! The beaches and mountains are amazing! We went to the city with all of the cone houses. It was really neat then we had pizza that was better than West Main!! We also learned how to make cheese!! Our hotel was like staying at the Jersey Shore. I looooved it lol!! Well that's all for now.

-Jon F

Ferry time!

We met another group of students who were also traveling on the same ferry as we were. They are on a twenty-four day trip across Italy and Greece. As we left, we wished them well and headed for our next adventure to see the cone-shaped house known as Trulli. There are approximately 2000 in the region. Since people can no longer build Trulli nor destroy them, that number should remain constant. Lunch was in one of the trulli that had been turned into a restaurant. We had an amazing pizza - one for each of us. I am sure it wasn't high in calories since all the Italians I have met are in great shape. Lol The food has been awesome! Earlier in Athens we tried to convince our travel manager that watermelon has to be eaten with salt. She wasn't buying it! She tried it, but it must be an acquired taste. After our lunch we headed across the Italian countryside to our next adventure - white water rafting on the Laos River. The houses that hug the mountains in a haphazard manner are beautiful. What a view! After we reached our hotel we headed to explore the area and was lucky enough to find a gathering of soccer players from around the region. Each team had a girl representing them in a beauty pageant. The soccer teams were all hollering and clapping. We joined right in even though we had no idea what was really going on. It was a fun, exciting night. Tomorrow we head to the river!
Karen Wells

We are Excellente!

The national park surrounding the Laos River is absolutely beautiful. We rafted over class three and four rapids, worked our way through canyons with beautiful ferns growing out of the granite and volcanic rock, and received an "excellente" rating from our guide. The students worked together well and would raft the river all day. If only we could. We are now headed to Silicy by ferry. The layout of the land has changed since we are now traveling by freeway, but the people remain the same - warm and generous. Traveling by bus with a driver who plays his favorite music (Celine Deon, Madonna, and Queen) is great. Currently, we are listening to "We Will Rock You." There is no better way to travel through Italy! Karen Wells
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPadp



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Day 7!!!

After a long over night ferry ride, we finally arrived in Italy!! Our first stop was to see the Trulli houses, which are round cone shaped houses. After our long walk we stopped to eat some pizza! We ate margarita pizza, which is a pizza with cheese and basil. Then we went to make some cheese! We Watched as he boiled the goat and sheep milk to 29 degrees. After it was at the right temperature he added an enzyme, which comes from the goats stomach. When adding the enzyme it makes the cheese curdle. We all got to put on the gloves and pack the curds in to round containers, this is how they get there shape, we pressed it flat to get all the liquid out. After it set we ate it! Boy was it good! We then traveled to our next adventure, but first we shopped and got to hang out with the little soccer players.
Sarah York

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Loving Every Minute

Today I was given the opportunity to work with the sea turtle protection program called Archelon. We got to work with the volunteers there as we were split into groups and given specific sectors to do morning surveys. The morning surveys included walking the entire sector of the beach, searching for marked nests by the volunteers who worked the night survey, finding the eggs deep in the sand, relocating the nests if needed, and marking and barracading the nests to prevent the eggs from being destroyed by predators. My experience was very exciting because the beach that I was assigned to had many nests. It was thrilling to see and count all the eggs in the nests we found. I was also very happy when I was allowed to hold an egg. After the morning surveys, we got to go to the beach and swim. The water was very cold but refreshing after our busy, laborous morning. I had an adventure filled day and looked much forward to our adventures to come in Italy after the over-night ferry ride.

Days in Greece



Day 1: We learned greek dances! This is a picture of Bethany and me as we arrived at the hotel. The elevators are so tiny!




Day 2: We saw many things including The Temple of Zues, The Acropolis, and Mars Hill. The picture is of me pointing to Mars Hill where Apostle Paul preached his message.







Day 3: We went to Olympia and we ran the original track. This is a picture of me stretching before the race.



Day 4: We went for an orientation where we walked through the ecosystems surrounding the Archelon project.





Day 5: Austin and I helped relocated one of the Loggerhead Turtle nests.

Day 6

Our group got up extra early today. Most around 4:30 A.M. Our plans were to help with the Archelon sea turtle project. After having a quick breakfast, we headed out to the main building - which used to be an old train station. This is where my group would start our journey. Our mission for the day was to scope the shore of the beach for signs of a turtle creating a nest. The tracks were pretty obvious to spot said the official volunteers. We walked the shoreline for about 45 minutes until we seen the first turtle tracks. After we found the eggs, we had to relocate them because they were less than eighteen meters from the ocean. If they are less than that distance from the water, there is a greater chance for water to reach the nest. If water reaches the nest, the soil is moistened and more compacted. This creates a harsh environment for the newly laid eggs. When the soil compacts, oxygen is reduced. The moisture from the water also reduces the temperature of the egg's environment, and turtle egg's gender are greatly influenced by the temperature of their environment. If it is colder, hatchlings are more possible to be males, and the warmer the more possible of being females. When we finished relocating the eggs,we continued down the coastline. We also found an abandoned nest where no eggs had been laid. After searching, we met up with the other groups and later returned to the volunteers camp. After that we got to do what we've all been waiting for. We swam in the ocean! It was cold at first, but it felt great afterwards. After swimming we had lunch and are now aboard the ferry bound for Italy. Jassas "pronounced yassas" Greece and Ciao Italy.

- Austin

Day 6!!

What a long day! Today we got to work with the sea turtles! We all got up at 4 this morning to start the day. We all walked the beaches to find a turtle nest. My group found a swim, which is when the female turtle crawles on to the sand and tries to find a place to nest, but doesn't like the spot so swims back to the sea. My group did not find a nest this morning. However, the other groups did find a couple of nests so we were able to see a nest and relocate the eggs. We also learned that more females are born in hot sand, and boys are born in cold sand.
We all got to swim in the ocean today, and then went on the ferrie to Italy. In the morning we will be in Italy!
Sarah York

Day 6

We was up bright and early at 4 in the morning! You have to rise early to save sea turtles!! I really enjoyed walking the beach looking for nest with Andy, Emily, Ms. Wells, and Megan. We found one dug up the nest and took all the data it was so fun! I hope one day to come back and help more with the project!! My Greek Moma would prolly like that! Also swimming in the sea was soooooo fun!!!! I'm sad we left Greece the people and place were so beautiful. But I'm excited to start our Italian adventure tomorrow!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pictures!

Greek Turtles

We learned last night that we would be doing a new project along with the days events. We would be partnered with a new twin, and at the end of the day we would present a tablo. A tablo is a still picture with no movement or sound. We would use our bodies to portray a picture that had some relation to the history of Greece. My partner was Meagan After we had breakfast , we loaded the bus. We headed to a local turtle protection center; the name of the agency is Archelon. We then took a walk through one of Greece's coastal forests and ocean. We identified many different plant and bird species. We were able to walk on the beach. The sight of the waves crashing upon the sandy beach was very amazing. After this we completed our taskts that we brought with us and had lunch. We met many of the volunteers and how they came to volunteering here and many different places. After lunch we headed back to our hotel. We were granted with a break and then we traveled to a museum which contained anceint technologies of Greece. I saw some very interesting objects and inventions that they were able to create 300 B.C. They even invented a steam powered object. These terrific inventions were either lost or destroyed from invasions. Many of them would not be re-discovered until 1500 years later. I can't help but think how history would most likely be extremely different from today because they had a 1500 year advancement in technology. What would the world be like today? I don't know but I think it's worth thinking about. We will be volunteering for Archelon tomorrow, to help out with turtle nestings, and we must leave the hotel at 5:20 A.M. and be at breakfast at 5:00 A.M. I can't wait!

- Austin

Day 5!!!

Today we woke up and headed to work with the sea turtles. We had a nature walk where we had to follow a map and do activites at each check point. We also go to meet some of the volunteers that work with the sea turtles. We came back to the hotel and got to hand wash our clothes in the bathtub!! There was 5 of us girls in one bathroom washing clothes; it was a great experience. Then we went to the Technology Museum, that was a very cool thing! I learned so much stuff about the ancient greek, my head hurt afterwards. What another great day! Tomorrow we will get on the ferry and head to ITALY!

Sarah York

Inspiration Around Every Corner

Today was a day of learning. We woke up early and went to begin our work with the Archelon project here in Greece. The program was very inspiring in the ways that it works to protect and save sea turtles and also very inspiring to meet the volunteers working from different parts of the world. Hearing the volunteers talk about where all they've traveled at such a young age made me feel like that's what I should be doing. I want to be somewhere helping better the world and exploring it at the same time. Also today we went to the museum of technology and science. A man explained to us each exhibit with such passion and drive, and it was very interesting to see how much he cared about the museum that he had worked so hard for. The only problem was that he was speaking in Greek very, very quickly. He had a translator but even the translator was having difficulty following him, because he was just spitting out all of the knowledge he knew by heart as fast as he could about the sciences and technologies discovered by the ancient Greek. We went back to our beautiful hotel and had a delicious yet very filling meal by the pool, laughed and have fun. Tomorrow we work more with Archelon, swim in the sea, and sail off towards Italy.

Bethany Roberson

day 5

Well another awesome day in greece I love it here! We went on a hike along the beach its insane how blue the water is and how cool the brease was!! I cant't wait till we get to go back out tomorrow and see the sea turtles! We also went to a museum today, the man went made everything himself it was amazing! Got an early morning so thats all for the night

-Jon F

Day 5

Today we went around the beach where we will go and protect sea turtle nests tomorrow. The water was so blue and clear. We learned about the coastal forest and the importance it has. The private beach we were on was one of the only private protected beaches left and a construction company from France just bought it. It's sad to see something so beautiful and needed for creatures like sea turtles probably be destroyed. We also went to a museum about greek technology. The man who owns it has spent 36 years working on amazing models that show what the greeks had and how they built what they did. He based all of his work off ancient greek documents. The passion and brains this man has for his work is unbelievable.

Niki Pulliam

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yes, I will remember all the history that I have seen, but there are other moments in Greece that will remain with me forever: Watching two young girls play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" in the Athens flea market, Niki and I talking to the young Greek man who almost cried when he spoke of the latest demonstrations and what the future holds for his county. He believes (as do many Greeks) that a new civilization will spring up from Greece, much like civilization began in Greece many years ago; Bethany as she views the beauty of a place and thinks about what travel awaits her in the future; Jon talking and talking and talking to the people of Greece (it is a wonderful sight to behold); Sarah looking at the Acropolis with such a calm, gentle face as she fulfilled one of the items on her bucket list; and Austin taking in every bit of information given to him so that he can relay his experience to you in a blog. It has been a wonderful, exciting couple of days.

Karen Wells

The Wonder Continues

To add to our list of amazing site-seeing, we went to Olympia. It was so exciting being there when many, many years ago, the very first Olympics were held. Women were not allowed, winners were made very famous by being veiwed as semi-gods, and cheaters were spit upon. We seen the ruins of the temple that once held one of the world's seven wonders of the ancient world, the gold, ruby, and diamond encrusted statue of Zeus. We stood near the alter at which the torch that begins the Olympics every time still today. I have been enjoying this so much. It's been so fascinating seeing all of the rich history of the ruins and trying to imagine how the people of that time were able to create such wonders. After Olympia we traveled to our lovely hotel. It seemed as though it was the epitome of Europe and just what you would imagine. European features that includes a balcony overlooking the beautiful scenery of the Greek mountains and the villas in the lush landscape. I look forward to every moment that remains on this adventure.

Bethany Roberson

Life in a Little Family-owned Greek Hotel

Hospitality and family love abound here! We are at hotel Kaiafas Lake in the beautiful region of Kaiafa, Olympia. The Ionian Sea is very close and the air is cool and crisp - much like an early October morning in Arkansas. The hotel is owned by a very lovely Greek family who have tremendous respect for each other. Yesterday afternoon Grandma and I had a brief "conversation" and I got to take a photo with her. She understood exactly what I was saying when I told here we were both gorgeous in the picture. Her laughter and slight push of the hand reminded me of how I would respond in much the same way. I am finding that the ability to carry on conversations without knowing the language is very important! Grandma sat at the pool yesterday and relished the sight of our students laughing and enjoying the company of each other. I imagine this is much the way it must have been in America when generations of family members lived in the same household. When it was time to eat, Grandma's son and daughter-in-law seated her and served her the evening meal. Lovely. I wish I could post the pictures I have of the family, but the computer will not accommodate a flashdrive. Late yesterday afternoon I watched from my balcony as Grandma weeded the garden. This afternoon I will help her. I believe she will understand the love I have for flowers just as much as I understand her love of gardening when I look at the roses that grow near the front of the hotel. Karen Wells

DAY 4!

Today we got to go to Olympia! Being able to walk through there was amazing, to think this is where all the sports begain. We even got to run the track where the Greek man ran years ago, although we did not run naked like they did. It was a very fun day, but today we get to work with the SEA TURTLES!
Sarah York

Day 4!

Today we went to Olympia! The birthplace of sports!!! Walking through the ruins one could only picture how it looked before. My favorite spot was walking down the tunnel, it gave me chills and made me think back to basketball where running out in front of the crowd was always so exciting. We ran a race and I won it was almost like I could hear the cheers lol I know they were in my head but to think that many great athlets had done this same thing in front of the huge crowds gave me chills! To hear about the great honor and all the things that happened for the winners made you relize how big of a deal this was to people back then. After Olympia we got back on our bus and came to our next hotel. It's like a movie the pool is AMAZING that's were we spent the most of the afternoon!!! After that we had a conference about the sea turtles and then ate some more! I'm getting worried that my clothes wont fit!!! We are having so much fun I don't think its fair we have to leave in 10 days!!! Well thats all for now love you mom sissy nathan (happy fathers day!) and gran! Oh! And a little shout out to Matt "Mom" Hays I listed you as my hero today in the group talk!!!

-Jon F

Day 4 - Olympia

I'm having the time of my life already. I'm so glad that I have been able to attend this trip. I've made new friends along the way. Today we woke up early and packed our bags quickly. We had an early breakfast as well. Immediately after reakfast we boarded the bus and made our way to Olympia, which was two and a half hours away. Last night we were assigned a "twin" at dinner. We would interview our twin and learn the basics about them, deeper if we liked. My twin was Alexis. We were also required to discuuss some things we had talked about that related to a specific key components of Discovery Students. Ours was science. On our bus ride we interviewed each other and also played several group games to pass the time. We also made a quick stop at the Corinth Canal, which is an important feature that serves to make an easier route for ships. The canal barred a narrow path between two major Greek islands. If it were not there, there would only be on island not two. This canal makes it much easier for ships with goods because if the canal were not present, ships would have to travel a vast distance around a large island. THis also reduced the amount of fuel the ships consumed. After our quick stop, we continued our journey to Olympia. When we arrived at our destination, I could tell we were all relieved. We began a guided tour of what once was the site of the Olympic games. There were many reminents of historical structures which once served as training facilities, accommodations, places of events and more. When we were through with the tour, we were able to enter the stadium that previously held the games. This stadium was unique compared to others because it had no seats. The viewers sat upon the grassy hillsides that surrounded the stadium. The participants began at a marble line and raced to the end and back. Sometimes as much as 24 times. I don't see how they were capable of that. The winner received fame and free food for the rest of his life. We also were given the opportunity to run the track. I came in second, but at least I was able to run a track that had once held the Olympic games. After that we headed to lunch, and later we traveled to our hotel. This one is very nice. We were all excited when we spotted that there was a pool. That was also the first thing that we did after we unloaded our bags. Afterwards, we shared our interviews and our related information to science. We then wrapped the night up with dinner. This trip has already been a blast and there is a whole llot more to come.

- Austin

What you might not know about the Olympics

Today I got to do something very little have done. We went from Athens to Olympia where the first Olympic games were held. We winded down a shabby road and ended up in a place where one of the seven wonders of the world used to reside. It was a sacred place that people could only visit once every four years to see the Olympic games. There were thirteen games played throughout five days and only one winner. Something I did not know was that the men in the games had to be completely naked to participate because of the heat, pride, and aerodynamics. Once a winner's mother came disguised as a man to see her son play. When he won and as she was shouting a breast fell out. They were going to throw her off the mountain to kill her but she pleaded that she came only to see her son win so they did not kill her. However, they made a law that every spectator had to come naked so that no women could enter. Another interesting fact is that the torch was not lit until 1936 for when Hiltler helped fund the games. That is until Jesse Owens won. World War II started soon after. After we walked through many ruins of what was their training facilities, we reached where they held the games themselves. There was a wall of winners and a wall of shame on each side reaching the gate. The wall of shame is where statues of cheaters were put and people would spit on them as they entered the stadium. The track was not actually a track, it was a straight path. Depending on the game is how far they would run. The longest was running it 24 times - which is an extremely long distance. My group and I actually got to race on this track. I can't believe that I got to run on the spot where sports began.

Niki Pulliam

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tidbits - Karen Wells


People Jon talks to...
...the guy outside the pastry shop







...the people from Connecticut who lived close to where he once lived










...the people at the Temple of Zeus

























The outdoor Greek wedding we stumbled upon



























Our travel manager, Loretta








Vegetation in Athens





















Teachers Katrina Lacey and Karen Wells











posted by Karen Wells

Blessed

It's almost 11:30 (don't worry - the students are already in bed, well at least in their rooms!). I find that the best time for me to reflect on the day's activities is after all the students have blogged and the day's activities are sinking in. It is then that I can reflect on what the day has meant to me. I thought that nothing could match the experience in South Africa, but this trip is holding the same magic for me. I am with an awesome group of students who are literally soaking up every word spoken by tour guides, lecturers, and the local people. They are in love with the whole experience. I have heard them speak numerous times about the experiences they are having and how they realize the sacrifices that others have made to allow them to have these experiences. Did you know that seeing the Acropolis was on the bucket list of one of our students? Did you know that one of our students was filled with such joy when she looked at the view of the city that you might have cried if you had seen her expression? Did you know that one of our students is beginning to see the endless opportunities that arise when you travel? Did you know that one of our students has changed the way countless Greeks view America's youth? Did you know that visiting Mars Hill where the Apostle Paul spoke meant the world to one of our students? That is what I got to experience today. The students have told you about the Acropolis, the temple of Zeus, the shopping, the meals, and countless other activities, but to experience it all through their eyes has been the biggest blessing to me. Tonight I am feeling blessed. Karen Wells

Seeing What Apostle Paul Saw

Today we had a lecture, after breakfast, about the greek mythology gods. It was very interesting to hear about their downfalls and strengths . The people made up their gods and they changed as society changed. It also helped when learning about all the historic landmarks. First we went to the gardens and then to the Temple of Zues. I tried to comprehend how much thought, time, and skill it took to build that amazing building, but I know that I never could. It was sad to only see 16 columns standing out of the 104 that were originally there. Then we went to see the Acropolis which has 5,000 years of history. Our tour guide told us about how it was built by people for the god Athena. They got 1 piece of silver each day for their labor. The amazing thing is the distance they had to walk and climb with marble to build the Acropolis, not to mention the skill it took to carve and structure it. I just don't see how it was done. What I didn't realize was that Mars hill is right beside the Acropolis. This is where Apostle Paul preached his famous message about Christianity. To grow up hearing about this story and then to stand in the spot that Apostle Paul stood in was the greatest feeling I have ever had. He picked that spot for a reason. I could see the whole city of Athens, all the way to the sea. But up in the corner, very close by, was the Acropolis. I tried to picture Apostle Paul preaching about God making "the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands" and then pointing to the Acropolis. I can understand now how powerful that message would come across to the people of Athens. To stand in the spot so important that it was recorded in the bible was unbelievable. Apostle Paul stood up for his beliefs in front of a crowd that did not see life the way he knew was right - we should be more like him. I will never forget how humble I felt in that moment.

Niki Pulliam

Day Three

Today I woke up, and I felt a lot better today than yesterday. Sleep will do a person some good that's for sure. We began the day with full force. The group met at eight thirty for breakfast. Quickly after breakfast, we had a lecture on the characteristics of the Greek gods. I learned so much about the Greek culture and how they created them in their image. Immediately after the lecture, we set out to the Gardens of Athens. We all saw extremely beautiful sights on the way there, and we have pictures to show as well. We had lunch at an amazing restaurant that has been my favorite so far. We also visited the Temple of Zeus. The temple originally had 104 large pillars that were each 60 feet tall. The sides had two rows of columns and the shorter ends had 3 rows. Today, only 16 of the 104 columns are left standing. One also fell due to being struck by lightning. Another sight we were able to see was the magnificent Parthenon. The parthenon's pillars were each 30 feet tall and the Parthenon was furnished with a large statue of the greek god Athena. This statue was lined in gold which weighted in at 1 ton. Now that's a ton of gold. Pun intended. We also were able to climb Mars Hill where the apostle Paul preached a sermon which led to the conversion of the first christians. It is amazing to have the opportunity to experience these wonderful structures today while knowing what events they previously held. I can't wait to explore tomorrow's and the rest of this trip's adventure!

- Austin

Athens...WOW

As I sit down to write this, I'm asking myself, "How do I put this amazing day into words?" We woke up this morning, got ready, and went to breakfast. After having a cup of coffee, I felt much better and ready to start the day's activities. We then went to a lecture about Greek mythology that was pleasantly informative. We learned that the Greek gods apply to people today. Their characteristics are characteristics that we can use to compare ourselves and to figure out which Greek god we are most like. After the lecture we traveled through the streets, and to the tram stop. We took the tram to a certain point of the city and then went for lunch. Lunch was so delicious. I am enjoying this Greek food, even though I'm already feeling so fat. And it's only the second day! At lunch we met a lovely tour guide Greek woman who was full of knowledge and facts about the magnificant ruins. She led us through a beautiful garden and to our first stop: the Temple of Zeus. Though only sixteen columns out of one hundred and four columns still stood, the beauty of the structure was still so breathtaking. We all took a million and a half pictures before we began another long walk up the Acropolis to the Parthenon or the Temple of Athena. My heart started to flutter as i gazed around at my surroundings. The powerful ruins, the gleaming roof tops of the city around the Parthenon, and historical Mars Hill down below. It was a scene from a postcard. Beautiful. We then went through the streets of old town and shopped for souvenirs. Today was a great day. I am extremely grateful for this. I'm having the best time of my life, and it's only day two.

-Bethany Roberson

DAY 2!!



Today we got the exciting opportunity to go and see the Acropolis!! That was the most amazing thing! We also saw Mars Hill where apostle Paul spoke! That was really cool; we climbed the original steps! They were very slippier, which was difficult but worth it. Before the Acropolis we got to see the Temple of Olympian Zeus! It was originally built with 104 columns, but only 16 colums are left. After all the climing we went shopping! In the old markets, we all bought a lot of souvenirs. Then dinner, we had cheese salad, stuffed tomatoes with potatoes, and lamb with potatoes. It was all very good after a long day of walking. We then got to go to the bakery; boy, did it smell good in there! Today was a very awesome day learning about all of the gods and goddesses; such as: Aphrodite, Ares, Athena, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hermes, Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Zeus. Some of us have found we are very similar to some of the gods and goddesses.










Sarah York

Athens... day 2 of travel

Giasou!! (Hello) so today... we saw a bunch of AMAZING ruins. We saw Zeus' tempel, the parthenon, and mars hill we also went shopping! Zeus' tempel was AMAZING there were 16 colums still up, there were originaly 104. The parathenon was unbelievable, only half of it was left after thousands of years. Mars hill was where the apostle Paul stood when the whole city hated him! We bought a ton of souvenirs for everyone! Megan and I bought t-shirts with greek saying and our names in greek on the back! Megan bought a coffee cup and I bought a teddy bear, and a religous picture! Then we got gellato...it was soo much better than ice cream! Thats all!! :)
Adio!!
Megan Tappan and Alexis Cordova!!!

Day 3 aka my lucky #

Day 3 the number ive worn in ball since third grade only seems fit that it was the best day so far!!! We went to the Acropolis and the temple of Zeus my favorite place so far both were amazing it's hard to take it the history and beauty of these places. Ms. Wells and me have tried to take a look deeper into what we are doing by thinking of who could have been standing or sitting where we currently are, none more so than at Mars Hill were Paul gave his famous sermon. The natural beauty of this palce is one you can only dream of! I talked to may people today ohhh what an experience, the old lady in the train that was interesting, the family from CT :), and the Greeks that know where AR is!!! Also the boys by the candy shop I bought candy for and the men there too, I'm learning more and more about myself in just these few days. I don't want to leave but it makes me excited that one day I can live my dream become a Doctor and one day travel to places like this and help people. We also bought gifts today :) and while shopping I got FREE HUGS!!!! I could type all night about this place, the fun I'm having, and the beautiful things I'm seeing but i better wrap it up! Night yall well good afternoon lol love ya!

Greek Dancing

 

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Certificate of Achievement (they were being generous :))

Friday, June 17, 2011

First Lunch

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Braised Chicken and Greek Pasta. Yes, we did eat our vegetables.

First day!

After a 11 hour fight and bad airline food we made it to Greece! We meet our travel manager and then it was off to the bus. Big momma feed us lunch, chicken and pasta. We went to out hotel to rest a while before we go and learn greek dances. The Greek dances were very fun to learn it took a while to get used to them. We learned 5 or 6 dances, at the very end they did the dances for us the way you are suppose to do them! It was really cool to see them dance, they are very good dancers! We all danced together to a very fast song. The first day was a great day, we were all so very tierd at the end of the day. We all crashed!

Sarah York

Day of Arrival: The Adventure Begins

After hours and hours of being on the plane, we finally arrive at Athens, Greece. As we dipped lower in our landing, we could already see the land's magnificant beauty. Excitement was building as we deboarded the plane, anxious to see and discover. When we were off the plane, we immediately met our travel manager, Loretta, and Discovery respresentative, Anson. We exchanged our money at the airport and then loaded into the bus. While driving through the busy streets of Athens, we could see the beautiful monuments towering over the city. The situation seemed so unreal that it could be happening. We were actually here. In Greece. One of the most beautiful, momumental places in the world with the temples of the Greek gods standing over the city. We parked our bus and then followed Loretta through a winding path to a small outdoor restaurant. There we had our first bite of authentic Greek food. Delicious! But as soon as we were full, we were all begging for a nap. Even though we were going to our hotel to settle in and freshen up for our dance lessons, we had no time to sleep. We loaded onto the bus and went through the winding streets of Athens to the dance studio in a small school after a few hours at the hotel. And it was so much fun! Some of the steps were tricky, but we had lots of help from ther professional dancers there. The dancers then put on a performance of all the dances in costume, and blew us all away with their natural Greek dancing skills. They included us in one last dance before we left for the hotel. We barely made it through dinner before we went to the rooms, and passed out. What a long, exciting day and a great start to an amazing journey.

My Favorite Saying of the Day




Roughly translated: "Don't let the children's dreams be imprisoned. The white dove brings peace."




I found this poster on the wall of the school building where we learned the Greek dances. I always love to explore schools in other countries, and it never amazes me how schools are so similar. The posters on the walls reminded me that children are the same everywhere and that all of them deserve opportunities to experience the world. "Don't let the children's dreams be imprisoned" was my lesson for the day! Karen Wells

Dancing with the Greeks






A lack of sleep didn't hinder the DSA travelers from enjoying the night learning about Greek dances and "mastering" some of the more traditional ones. As the night slipped away, the music got faster. We ended our lesson in a dancing blur with a big family dance of Greeks and Americans dancing their hearts out. Oh, what a night it was! Karen Wells


Adventure Details

Duration 15 days
Destinations Athens
Rome
Pompeii
Focus Biology
Culture
Earth Science