Valpo Voyager

Student Stories from Around the World

Category: Athens

Birthday Celebrations in Greece

Blogger: Alyson Kneusel

Program: Reutlingen, Germany – Study Center

During my study abroad experiences, I have gone to places that I thought only existing in stories, textbooks, and myths. Nowhere was this truer than with my travels in Greece. To celebrate my birthday, my mother visited me, and we traveled to the Greek island of Santorini and Athens. I was impressed by the variety of sites I found in Greece, as some areas were valued for their beauty, but others for their history. Although I have seen many amazing sites during my time abroad, I don’t think I could ever be as impressed by anything as I was by the beauty of Santorini and the antiquity of Athens.

The Greek island of Santorini is recognized as having one of the most beautiful sunsets. When I looked at pictures on Trip Advisor, I thought that there was no way the island could actually be that beautiful. It was. Santorini has all white adobe-like buildings, often with blue roofs. These buildings were almost always built in a terraced style up the side of the cliffs. From our table on the ledge outside our hotel room, you could see an absolutely breathtaking view of the sunset and the surrounding islands. As I looked at this beautiful view (shown below), I remember feeling like I stood alone on the edge of the world.

One of the best things to do in Santorini is to take a Caterman sailboat ride so that you can see the nearby volcanic island and enjoy the warmth. You can also view the red, white, and black beaches (named for the color of the rock). This was quite possibly the highlight of my vacation. At one point, our boat anchored near a natural hot spring, and we were able to swim from the boat to the hot spring. Of course, in order to do so, you had to swim through the chilly water between the boat and the spring!

As if that were not enough adventure, we went next to Athens. Easily the most impressive aspect of Athens was the Athenian Acropolis, which contains the Parthenon along with numerous other ancient Athenian temples and ruins. Perhaps the most enchanting part about the Acropolis was recognizing the part it played in history. If I had not studied Greek mythology, Athenian democracy, the writings of Greek Philosophers, and world history, no doubt the Acropolis would have seemed a lot more like a bunch of impressive marble rocks. However, I was able to imagine what they might have been like during the height of ancient Greece and what Aristotle might have thought as he contemplated his Nicomachean ethics and looked up at the same Parthenon that I, myself, was viewing.

It was a humbling experience. Realizing how long these structures (dating back to nearly 500 BC) had stood in that same place and how many people over the centuries had viewed them made me realize how small a part I really play in the long history of humanity. The Parthenon has stood through numerous empires from the Persian wars, to the Peloponnesian wars, Roman influence, and even later, through the Ottoman Empire. Not to say that my life is insignificant, more that this just provided a humbling experience, which reminded me how important it is to save these antique structures for posterity so that they too can appreciate them as I did. Perhaps in the year 4000 someone will write about how the ancient peoples of the early 21st century influenced and viewed the Athenian Acropolis!

Until next time,

Alyson Kneusel

Life in Greece

Author: Dezzarae Arce

Program: CISabroad Summer in Greece

Taken right underneath the Acropolis, where you can go to find your local foods, clothes, gadgets, and anything else you may need.

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The changing of the guard. You can see the guard’s motion, which is ritual.

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Views of the town in Delphi

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Typical Road Signs

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Overlooking the city of Nafplio

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Taken in Athens, Greece – a typical view from your home’s window

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Overlooking the city of Athens – Taken at the top of the Acropolis.

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The Athens Flea Market located in Monastiraki, where you can buy handmade things and antiques

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Grecian Monuments – Walking into the Past

Author: Dezzarae Arce

Program: CIS Summer in Greece

This is the Temple of Apollo taken in Delphi, Greece

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The first Olympic stadium

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The temple of the God of the Sea, Poseidon, in Cape Sounion

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The tomb of Agamemnon in Mycenae

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An ancient theater used by Greeks for musical and theatrical performances in Epidaurus. It is still in use today as it provides great sound quality. The acoustics are so great that if you drop a quarter in the middle of the stage, people in the very highest seating can hear it drop.

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The classic Acropolis in Athens, Greece

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The Library of Hadrian in Athens, Greece

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The Parliament located in Athens, where there is a change of the guard every hour on the dot

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The Food of Athens

Author: Dezzarae Arce
Program: CIS Summer in Greece

 

These pictures are from your local farmers market in Omonia, Athens. This farmers market has EVERYTHING you want to buy for your weekly groceries. You can find local and imported freshly caught fish, lambs, beef and pork. On top of meats, you can also shop for different cheeses, fresh local fruits and vegetables, spices, herbs, etc. Some foods are imported at the market, but Athenians are true to their country and prefer buying local foods to help their economy. Athenians also buy their groceries every week in order to keep their foods fresh and natural. This market is the second largest in Greece and was the biggest for a very long time.
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These photos were taken in a square in Athens Greece. The stand is a local cart stand that sells different kinds of snack breads. The breads look like rings and have sesame seeds on top. These carts are found everywhere in Athens. The display cases with pastry desserts are filled with your daily snacks and pastries. Here you can usually find sandwiches, or pastries with ham and cheese. You could you could also find pizzas that are meant for lunch.  These snacks are typically found in your local cafes and pastry shops in Athens and are usually displayed in this way.

 

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Graffiti and Political Unrest

Author: Dezzarae Arce

Program: CIS Summer in Greece

These pictures were taken in Athens, Greece, where graffiti is very common. It is also very common in other major cities of Greece. Here in Greece, graffiti is a way to express Athenians’ disagreement with government decisions and rulings. Currently, there is a big a conflict with society against the government of Greece involving the economic crisis and other political issues. Athenians stand up against the government through their graffiti artwork in the hopes of their message getting across. In most graffiti artwork, you will find power struggles and you will find an ‘A’ with a circle around it to symbolize pro-anarchy.

Taken in a neighborhood in Athens, Greece. Here you can see how the people of Athens feel helpless against the government and law enforcement.

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Found near a square in Athens right across from a residential area.

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Here is a picture of a man who seems hopeless and starving. It was found on a side street of Athens close to one of its squares.

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Doors of homes covered in graffiti tags

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The translation of this phrase is “Always contradictory and antisocial.” Right next to the women’s face on the left side you can see an anti-Nazi symbol instead of a traditional A with a circle around it.

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Depicted in a boy holding some sort of mask on his face while holding a bottle with his other hand.

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This was taken on a street right before the main road in Athens.

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This was taken in Lykavittou, Athens, which is a mountain/hill. The phrase means “Lawless” which is very interesting because this was found at the top of the hill, and when looking over the city, you feel so free and lawless.

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Deciding on Greece

Dezzarae Intro

Author: Dezzarae Arce
Program: CIS Summer in Greece

 

Hi! My name is Dezzarae Arce, and I am currently a senior here at Valparaiso University studying mathematics and secondary education. Apart from academics, I am a a member of the University’s Women’s Cross Country team and a member of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. Being my senior year, everything is coming to a close, including the opportunity to study abroad. Thus, to fulfill my last humanities credit, I decided to study aboard. After I complete this credit, I will be gradating in August and becoming a high school mathematics teacher with the hopes in coaching high school girl’s cross country.

 

To fulfill my last credit, I decided to study abroad. In choosing my destination, I wanted to go to a place where no one really goes or thinks to go. I also wanted my experience to be a complete culture shock including the language. So right away I knocked out London, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. I eliminated these countries right away because I speak English, Spanish, and French and because some of these countries tend to have similar customs to American costums. I wanted to be surround by an unknown language and a culture where I had to adjust. I wanted to become frustrated and learn new ways of living. Thus, I choose to study in Greece. This summer, I will be studying in Athens, Greece and will be exploring different parts of Greece including an island. During my time abroad I will be visiting Delphi, Nafplion, Cape Sounio and the Greek island Crete.

 

This will be an experience of a lifetime and I am beyond excited to start this new adventure.

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