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Greece Trip 24-29 October 2022

Barring the horrors of Athens airport (luggage-gate), The Judd School Greek trip was a highly enjoyable, educational bonding experience for both students and teachers. From the glorious Acropolis to the breaking of fold out beds, Greece was charming in splendour and endearment. 

Day 1 sadly did not live up to the aspirations of visiting the National Archeological Museum in Athens, instead the students and teachers were able to study, in amazement, the horrific worldwide shortcomings of Ryanair (both in Stansted and Athens). On the bright side, Greek H&M being infinitely superior to its British counterpart became the silver lining wreckage of the day (definitely not meeting the wonderful tour guide for our trip Mariza). With a (not so) short trip to the hotel in Athens everyone consumed a very welcome meal before promptly heading to bed for a much needed night of sleeping after nearing 36 hours awake for some.

Day 2 featured the crown jewel of Greece, a pile of rocks on a very big rock (the glorious and magnificent Acropolis). Despite most of its magnificence residing in the British Museum, the remains of the Ancient temples gave both an excellent view of the modern Athenian landscape and the foundations of Ancient Greek society. The sights of the Odeon, Theatre of Dionysus and the distant Agora were traded for the first glimpse at Greece’s natural beauty. Sadly there was also a first hand, profound witnessing of the devastation also caused by the not too distant forest fires the country had experienced. After the scenic trip across Attica, we arrived at Hosios Loukas, a serene and beautifully mosaiced Byzantine Monastery(that did not necessarily approve of the thread-bare H&M range of clothing). Highlight of this section, as it was many other parts of the trip…cats!

Day 3 started in the mountain town of Delphi, home to the Ancient Oracle (master con-artist of the ancient world) at one of the four panhellenic sanctuaries of Greece. Genuinely a town like no other with views across the mountains, the largest olive farms on the mainland, all the way down to the Gulf of Corinth. Despite the Kung-Fu Panda-like climb amongst the ruins of the sanctuary, it proved to be one of the most gratifying parts of the trip. Furthermore, (in spite of the incredibly high prices of food in the cafe) the museum was truly fascinating, giving an insight into how efficient a grift the Pithia of the sanctuary was pulling off (lots of precious metals and gifts were amongst the artefacts). An expected pain-staking 5 hour coach journey was again saved -as all coach journeys were- by the sheer awe inducing landscape. This trip led to the equally fascinating museum in Archaea Olympia, with a statue of Hermes that, let's bluntly say, had the most marvellous derrière. However, the highlight of these parts of the trip…cats!

Day 4 began where day three ended at the birthplace of naked men doing varying, mostly bizarre acts of athleticism (that's right, the Olympics!). Unlinke Delphi and Athens, the pile of rocks here wasn't high up on another very big rock. Therefore a general optimism of resting our tired limbs grew. It was soon squashed by the teachers' (somewhat boycotted) attempt to get the students to compete a TWO LAP race around the 212.54m track the naked men ran on millenia before. Even with the exhausting result of the race, the ruins of Olympia were truly captivating and competed with the splendour of its panhellenic sanctuary counterpart in Delphi. Another (not so) short trip across Peloponnese landed us in the first capital of modern Greece, Nafplio. A gorgeous sea-side city with not one, not two, but three castles, excellent ice cream and you guessed it…cats! Lots and lots of cats! The night was spent in yet another town, Tolon, where luggage-gate reared its ugly head once more but in a more positive light as the 8 victims received their belongings. Continuing the theme of honouring the ancients through acting as they did, The Judd School held their very own symposium, (with the substitute of Greek Ribena of course) to discuss the writings of Plato and Socrates.

Day 5 included even older rocks on yet another big rock (the Ancient Archaeological site of Mycenae) which is where the poorly named mask of Agamemnon was discovered. There was also the beehive tomb which the singing from members of the choir exquisitely resonated around, creating a grand atmosphere. The singing continued at the extraordinarily acoustically perfect Theatre of Epidaurus, where a whisper from its centre could be heard in the very back row. The spanner in the works here is that there was a…dog, not cats! Athens was the next destination as the sorely missed National Archaeological Museum was paid a visit on the busy National “NO” day in Greece. Some exploration of Athens was then allowed, some were scammed, others ripped off and some made a visit to the Ancient Agora of Athens with the only temple with a complete roof, the Temple of Hephaestus. In a rather poetic, cyclical nature the same hotel in Athens where night one was spent, was returned to. 

Day 6 was a day of travel that held pure dread and fear of the incompetence of Ryanair. The pleasant surprise was that they did their jobs and a second luggage-gate was avoided and people were actually able to return home an hour early! After a truly enriching, hilarious and beautiful journey to Greece and back. The main point of the trip however…cats!

Lara, Emily, Minna, Paul, Orsolya, Freddie, Noah, Sami, Natalia and Olivia 

(Y13 Classical Civilisation)