After arriving in Monodendri, we set out for a short ferry ride to some spectacular nearby islands, on which we shopped at boutiques and went exploring. We went in and out of the small shops, with some of us stopping to try the glorious iced coffee that was sold nearby. Later in the day, we went on a tour of the gorge, which is a beautiful sight that can be compared to the Grand Canyon, with an exceptional view from extremely high up. The tour guide, with his sense of humor and desire to entertain us, showed us the echo that comes from the valley when someone yells. Of course, we were all intrigued, and so were the tourists nearby! From there, our tour guide took us to some phenomenal bridges that are arched in a way that makes them look absolutely stunning with the landscape in the background. This sight made for some awesome photographs which we all made sure to snap!
The next day in Monodendri came with wet suits, life jackets, helmets, and rapids. We went on individual tubes down a river that was located in Greece on one side and in Albania on the other. We knew we were going to two different places on this trip, but none of us expected to be in two places at the same time! Instructed by guards in kayaks, we made our way down the river with some rapids. Throughout this tubing experience, there was a group effort to try and stay together even though we were all in individual tubes, which allowed us to all grow closer, both literally and figuratively. For lunch, the guides drove us in small buses all the way to the top of the mountains to a very nice and authentic Greek restaurant. The food was delicious! We were all mesmerized by the incredible view and some of us were amazed at how mountainous the country was.
Up next was Olympia, where we toured the Olympic stadium and learned about the history behind it. After a very thorough tour with a fantastic tour guide, we got to participate in our very own Olympic battle. We were split up into two teams: Team Italy and Team Greece – how fitting! Members from each team participated in races in the stadium while the spectators (the rest of their teammates) cheered them on.
Later on, we had the opportunity to go white water rafting with 7 people per boat. It was rather calm on the water because it’s summer in Greece, but the rapids still posed a fun challenge. White water rafting was a nice bonding experience for everyone, and we stopped in the middle of it for some delicious tea and biscuits. After this experience, many of us are anxious to go rafting again! After we were done, we had a home-cooked meal provided by the owner of the facility, which we all really enjoyed.
The next day was spent in Nafplio, where we toured the theater of Epidaurus. We then walked up to the acropolis of Mycenae, took in the incredible view, and took some fabulous photos to remember the moment. That night, we had a Greek dance lesson taught by two friendly and amazing Greek dancers. The dancing experience was a mix of fun and silly, and was followed by some delicious, homemade ice cream. What else could we ask for?
The Olympic games continued throughout the past few days, including one challenge where the members had to split into groups, go into stores, and see what they could trade for a pen. The team with the most impressive/valuable item won the challenge; however, the games are NOT over. The members also played “name that tune” and had some photo challenges at the theater.
The next morning, at sunrise, some trip members woke up early to hike up to the Palamidi castle and watch the sunrise. For those that value their sleep more than the awesome view, the pictures were all they wanted. According to those that climbed all the way up, it was 100% worth it.
Our journey continues as we make our way to Athens, and then onto the Greek Islands…
Until Next Time,
The Westcoast Blogger