An Odyssey: Greek Gods, American Travelers
In the spring of 2009 we traveled with 16 honors students from Stevenson University to Greece on a nine-day trip, supported by Dean Paul Lack, the Honors Program, the Office of Study Abroad, and the Office of Experiential Learning. The trip was the culmination of two years of study, research, travel and planning.
Students wrote in their journals most every day, and we held classes in the evening after a dayís travel, sharing with each other what they had written in their books. They made correlations between the ancient Greek myths they had read prior to departure and with Greece, both ancient and modern, that they were seeing in their daily travels. With a keen eye to the art and architecture in each destination that we visited, they made connections among the Greek myths, the Olympian gods, and modern Grecians.
Via a splashy pink tour bus, our first destination, traveling out of Athens into the countryside, brought us to Mt. Parnassus, to Delphi and the Oracle of Apollo. Hiking up the mountain, the students breathed in the air of the gods. The next day we were off to Olympia on the Peloponnese. The students walked in the steps of the ancient Greek athletes and lined up in the stadium for a race on the very same marble starting block upon which great Olympians stood. At both Delphi and Olympia we visited the local museums, which were filled with truly amazing sculpture and bas-relief. After an overnight stay at Tolo Beach, a very upscale summer destination, we then visited Mycenae and stood silently inside Agamemnonís beehive tomb. On the way back toward Athens, we climbed to the top of the theatre at Epidaurus, an acoustical wonder, and listened to one of our students singing 21st century lyrics in a theatre built over 400 years before the birth of Christ.
Back in Athens, we sped alongside modern beach communities southeast to Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon on our only fierce, windy day. Perched on the headland high above the Aegean Sea like a stern sentry, the temple provided our final glimpse of life in ancient Greece.
Our students were brilliant: wonderful travelers full of keen insights and impressions, delightful companions who rarely complained even when they were exhausted, and true visionaries with their cameras. Their photos and journals chronicle the same path, but you will see that their visions were markedly different. Some have captured the smaller images of life in Greece; others were entranced by the monuments and stoneworks. Their photographs are personal and representative of their own unique journeys: across the world, across a culture, across their own perceptions of ancient and modern. We hope their show offers you a sense of their spirit and creativity, and their ability to appreciate a way of life new to them, though very old.
Lynn Duncan and Chip Rouse