Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Honors Program Brings Gallion to Greece and Turkey

By Erika Gallion, English and Creative Writing Major

On May 14 2013, I left for a ten day trip to Greece and Turkey. The trip was tied to the Honors program and our Honors 390 class, and was led by Dr. Chris Swanson. For ten days, I traveled through the beautiful country of Greece and visit the enormous and vibrant city of Istanbul, Turkey. During this ten day trip, I was on a whirlwind adventure seeing Athens, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi, Nafpacto, Kalambaka, and Istanbul. While in Greece, I had the opportunity to see most of the ancient ruins, like the Acropolis in Athens, the ancient Mycenaen temple, the Epidaurus amphitheater, the ancient site of Olympia, the temple of Apollo at Delphi, and the Meteora Monasteries. These sites were incredible for many reasons: for one, every site was incredibly old— Olympia dates back to 776 BC when the first official Olympic Games were held, and Mycenae dates back even further to 1600 BC. The preservation of these ruins, although they had been destroyed during invasions or damaged due to natural disasters, was truly impressive, and it showed the great skill the ancient Greeks possessed. 

The ancient theatres, especially Epidaurus, interested me because of my background with literature. This specific theatre sat 15,000 people and contained perfect acoustics- the performers could be heard perfectly from any area of the theatre because of the strategic architecture. I was overwhelmed and thrilled to see the birthplace of drama. My favorite place we visited was Delphi because of its beauty and importance to ancient worldwide culture. I climbed through the Oracle’s cave and walk through Apollo’s shrine; it amazed me to think how many people from all over the world and across all centuries have seen the same sights and let themselves be amazed as I did. Greece was a completely different world to me because of the combining of the ancient world and modern world. I absolutely loved it and the trip encouraged me to keep travelling; it has impacted my life personally and academically. I’d recommend studying abroad to any student of any discipline!

Overlooking Delphi, Greece