καλησπέρα (good evening) from Athens! It’s been an incredible journey thus far, with this past week being an amazing experience as everyone became so much closer while exploring Greece together.
After we left Sivota, we headed into the mountains. We stopped in the coastal town of Ioannina for lunch, and then arrived at our destination in Monodendri just in time for an afternoon hike. We were excited to hear that the hike was downhill and we had a blast descending into a gorge, stopping to take pictures, and trekking over ancient bridges built by the Byzantines. That night, we had a family dinner and feasted together, and we all fell in love with the local delicacy, tiropita, which is a flaky cheese pie. The next day in Monodendri, we hit the ground running and went river tubing. The scenery was perfect; the water was crystal blue and the mountains stretched into the sky. We squeezed into our wetsuits and took to the river, where we floated along and navigated our way through rapids, laughing and clinging to each other’s tubes as we went. Everyone said it was one of the best days. After our time down the river, we were brought back to the top of the mountain to enjoy a fantastic lunch and to swim in the Papingo Natural Lakes.
We left the mountains and began our journey across the country, stopping in Olympia for one night. While in Olympia, we enjoyed a guided tour of the original site of the Olympics. We stopped in the ancient stadium to run a relay race of our own as part of a competition for our trip’s personal Olympics and had an absolute blast.
The next day, we left Olympia to continue on our venture across Greece. We were en route to Nafplio, a beautiful and charming coastal town, when we stopped at Alfeios River for an epic day of whitewater rafting. To explain this experience, we have two guest bloggers, Emily and Jade, describing it below:
“The white water rafting day was possibly the best ever!! The tour guides were amazing and the views were unbelievable. What made it even better was spending the day on the raft with the people who are now family. I will never forget walking to the waterfall after rafting. We were all living in the moment, and it made us appreciate the place and the amazing people we were with.”
The group had a family dinner in Nafplio, and then explored the charming shops and feasted on another round of gelato. During our second day there, we covered a lot of ground by waking up early to explore two ancient sites, Epidavre and Mycenae. After a morning among the ruins, we spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach and laughing in the cerulean waters, reminiscing about all the amazing things that have happened on the trip so far.
That night, we kept our tradition of family dinners and had another meal as a whole group. We watched the sunset go down over the water and the group members prepared for the grand finale of our Olympics. Each group was asked to put together a performance piece that captured the essence of the trip and we watched them all after dinner. We held back tears as one group sang a sentimental parody of our beloved morning song, “Summer Paradise,” and we continued to hold back tears (of laughter this time) as another group performed a skit playfully making fun of the staff and our time together. For their amazing skit, Team Greece won the gold medal!
Up next, the islands!
Until Next Time,
The Westcoast Blogger