HISTORY, HERITAGE, AND TRADITION
This Expedition Includes:
- City planning
- Nature Walks
- Pastoral traditions
- Wool Industry
- Community Service
- Pottery Workshop
- Cooking Lessons
- Archaeological Sites
- History of Ottoman occupation
- Ancient & Modern Greek Culture
- Monuments & Museum Visits
* The following is a sample itinerary- we can make adjustments to this itinerary based on your specific interests, timeline, and budget.
Do not hesitate to ask questions and request a customized itinerary.
DAY 1. ARRIVAL: WELCOME TO ATHENS WHERE MODERN MEETS ANCIENT
Begin your expedition in the wondrous city of Athens as your guides set the tone for your experience.
Welcome to Greece. Upon arrival, your guides will give you an overview of the trip and an introduction to Greek life and customs as well as discuss the chronological timeline of all of the places we will see! Your first day will include an amazing archaeological display as we travel the metro completed for the 2004 Olympics! Due to the lengthy history of habitation in Athens, construction of the subway required vast archaeological excavation. The finds from the excavations are exhibited throughout the METRO line. This gave city planners the opportunity to also create modern art exhibits at the stops to contrast modern and ancient Athens!
We will get settled into our apartment and spend some time getting acquainted with the neighborhood as well as the time change and unique schedule that locals follow!
- Your guides will introduce the Story Approach and the teaching themes that will cohesively link together the incredible wealth of information you will learn on the trip.
- Your group will be introduced to the Expedition Mentality, our nuanced strategy for creating the strongest possible group culture.
- Our first nightly circle and bandana ceremony will reinforce the Expedition Mentality and set the tone for the best possible experiential learning trip.
DAY 2. FIND YOUR WAY TO LYKABETTOS
Explore Athens and learn about modern life in this ancient city
Who’ll get there first?
This morning we will break into groups and each group will be handed a map and sent on their way to find Lykabettos hill. It will be your task to get to the hill and hike up to the top without using cabs, or any type of technology. In fact, although your teachers will be by your side, they aren’t allowed to help. Equipped with only a map and some key Greek phrases, we will see who can get to the top first.
We will take advantage of the city to discuss the integration of Ancient Athens to the modern city, and what it means to be Greek in the face of an ever-present global culture, against the backdrop of the breathtaking view of the city of Athens. This team-building activity will set us up for an amazing trip ahead and help us to feel more comfortable with each other and Greece!
- Expedition Mentality: maximizing your experience
- Daily life in a Greek city: similarities & differences to your hometown
- Athens: Cradle of Western Civilization
DAY 3. CLASSICAL ATHENS
Visit some of the most iconic sites in Athens, learning history in context
Today we begin our exploration of Ancient Athens hiking to the Acropolis and explore this incredible monument. Today’s educational activities include a spirited debate about the Parthenon marbles. The winners, of course, will receive something special from Greece.
After lunch, we will explore some important monuments around Athens including the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s library and the Roman forum. Tonight, we sail the wine-dark sea on a comfortable overnight ferry to Crete!
- Olympics in Greece: then and now!
- The people of Greece: cultures and societies stretching back thousands of years
- Cultural artifacts: to whom do they belong?
Overnight Ferry to Crete!
DAY 4. THE CRETAN WAY OF LIFE PART 1: THE WOOL INDUSTRY: KNOSSOS AND ANOGEIA
Today we are introduced to the unique history and living culture of Crete
We will arrive in Herakleion in the early morning and grab a quick bite to eat. Afterward, we will go directly to the Bronze Age site of Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. We will discuss the Bronze Age wool industry and the use of the palace in administration in such an early endeavor in large scale production. How do we make use of the landscape and resources?
Then we will drive to the remote mountain village of Anogeia, one of the few places on Crete where pastoralism and traditional music are part of everyday life.
We will see the continued use of the Cretan landscape for the production of wool and other secondary goods from sheep and goats. Our day will end with a lamb roast in a shepherd’s stone hut, built among the oak trees of the Psiloritis mountain range (altitude of ca. 5000 ft) and some live music performed by our good friend Yang’s. Here we will have our first look at the Cretan way of life today and how modern Greeks continue with traditional occupations, such as shepherds.
- Traditional livelihoods of Crete
- Traditional Cretan music and its role in present-day society
- Life on the edge- carving out a livelihood in a remote environment
Overnight: Camping, Anogeia
DAY 5. THE CRETAN WAY OF LIFE PART 2: MARGARITES TO CHANIA
Today we meet local artisans preserving traditions and building community
We will start our day with a drive out to our friend Giorgos’ pottery workshop in the town of Margharites. He is one of the two local potters who source their clay from the surrounding mountains and produce pottery in the traditional way. He will show us the ruins of the old workshops as well as his own kilns. He will then demonstrate how he uses the clay and give the students the opportunity to create Minoan inspired vessels of their own! After this demonstration, we will head to our “home” in Vafes!
- Preserving cultural traditions & cultural revival
- Ancient economies
- Artisan’s role in traditional cultures
DAY 6. DIVERSE CHANIA: TOUR OF CHANIA’S UNIQUE ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE
We focus on religion, food, and culture of this small village
Laiki in the morning! Equipped with a short list of Greek vocabulary words, the students will be set loose in the farmers market to compete over the collection of all of the ingredients necessary for dinner that evening.
Chania is also home to many different religious buildings. Although that state religion of Greece is Greek Orthodox, Chania is known for its richly diverse religious communities. The small town is perfect for some individual exploration. The students will be broken up into smaller groups, each with one chaperone, having to navigate the Old City of Chania to find as many different religious buildings as they can, and explain what they are used for today. In the evening we will enjoy a Greek cooking lesson! We will all combine efforts to cook a meal tonight using the ingredients that the students purchased at the farmers market earlier that morning.
- The blending of cultures: a look into the multicultural background of Crete through food
- When stones speak: the stories we find in architecture
- Coexisting religions: how to live and embrace diversity
DAY 7. EXPLORING VAFES
Today we explore local economies and traditional livelihoods on Crete
Today we will spend the day getting to know the village where we are staying. Our dear friend Manolis will share with us the rich history of the area and lead us on a tour of the local olive press and various monuments that are of importance to the people of Vafes. You will be conducting interviews of the locals in the village and reflecting on how life in this mountain village is similar to, or different from, your lives back home. How can we relate to these people who seem to be living in such a different world?
After we share these thoughts with one another, we will begin planning our day of service for the next morning, and sharing another communally cooked meal!
- Pre-industrial Greece
- The importance of tradition
- Sustainability during tough economic times
DAY 8. GIVING BACK: VAFES
We lend a hand to leave a positive trace on our host community
Today we will give a little something back to the island of Crete and specifically to the village of Vafes where we have been staying. The village of Vafes has a long history. Like many Cretan villages, Vafes suffered under the Ottoman occupation of the island. When the Ottomans took control of the village, many people fled to a nearby cave, where sadly they perished. There is now an important place of memory for the villagers. There is a small path that leads to this place but it needs a bit of work. We will be more than happy to help them out!
- How can we be more than tourists when we visit other countries?
- Why is it important for us to help the people of Vafes preserve their history? What does that have to do with us?
DAY 9. BIODIVERSITY ON CRETE: IMBROS GORGE
We explore the stunning environment of Imbros Gorge, and consider how environment shapes culture
Crete is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world, and boasts almost 1750 different species and subspecies of plants! Today we will get to learn about and see some of this biodiversity! We will need to fuel up in the morning and pack lots of snacks and water to prepare us for our 7 mille hike in the famous Imbros Gorge located in the Askyfou plateau. We will reach the end of the hike at Sfakia around lunchtime and enjoy our meal under the shadow of a Venetian fortress at a nearby beach. Tonight, we enjoy our final dinner and reflection
- Exploring one of the few natural parks in Greece and the importance of preservation
- Bio-diversity and the rare Cretan landscape
- Reflecting on our experience: what will we take home?
DAY 10. DEPARTURE FROM ATHENS AIRPORT: HOME WITH INSPIRATION!
Today our trip draws to a close and we head home, filled with inspiration and memories to last a lifetime from our Greek/Cretan Expedition!
Why settle for less?
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