Last weekend I enjoyed my final field trip outside of Athens. My History of Macedon class went to Northern Greece to check out some Macedonian ruins. We stayed in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, second to Athens. On the way up we stopped at a number of battle sites including Plataea and Charonea.
The first day we visited Pella, the capital of Macedon under the rule of Philip II and Alexander the Great. The best part was my professor. He acts a little bit like a little boy, constantly picking up things like rocks and potsherds and always needed to have attention on him. He was very excited that we were walking on the same streets that Alexander walked on as a little boy. I can't really blame him, that is the neatest thing about being in a country with so much history! Pella also had some fabulous pebble mosaics, which was really neat to see, especially since we just talked about mosaics in my materials course! Then we continued on to Aristotle's school in Macedonia, where Aristotle taught Alexander the great and his companions. We had a lesson there too, and then explored the caves.
second day we went to Vergina. This was one of the coolest places I've been, and may be the neatest museum I have EVER been in! Vergina houses the royal Macedonian tombs. It has the supposed tomb of Philip II, and the tomb of Alexander IV, Alexander the Great's son. The tombs were covered in dirt in antiquity making them into a tumulus. The museum has been set up as a covering, in the same tumulus form that the dirt would have been, directly over the tombs. So the museum houses the tombs as well as the finds from tomb II and tomb III, which were never looted in antiquity. Unfortunately photos weren't allowed at all in the museum. But the architectural painting from the tombs is the best preserved from antiquity that has been found to date in Greece. Also, tomb II (supposedly the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great but more likely the tomb of Philip Aredaious, brother of Alexander the Great) had amazingly lavish tomb offerings. The gold diadem, ivory shield of Achilles that belonged to Alexander the Great, the full Macedonian armor, and all the other finds were so incredible to see!
not a royal one, and still no pictures inside, so this is the best I could do for a picture of a Macedonian tomb
When we stopped at the theater in which Philip was killed, my professor did a very entertaining reenactment for us.
The last day we went to Dion, the temple to Zeus at the foot of Mt. Olympus. It was awesome. Unfortunately for me, while walking on the bridges over one of the other sanctuaries at the site, I dropped my camera, which hit a rock and then fell into the water beneath us. My friend Lynette acted quickly, jumping over the side of the elevated walkway to grab my camera. Thankfully it still works! But it took two days to dry out, so I don't have any pictures from the last bit of the trip!
On the way home we stopped at Thermopyles and saw the battle site there. It was really neat to see where that battle ACTUALLY took place, especially after having learned so much about it this semester! Next, I'll have to watch 300 to see how the scenery compares!
So there are the academically oriented highlights of the trip. Now on to a few things that are a bit more fun!
Two of my flatmates (and friends) were on this trip with
me and the three of us, along with another friend, played bridge a lot while in Thessaloniki! Lynette tought us how to play floating partner bridge. It is very different from the game I used to play with my family while camping! The best was when we went for a walk along the sea, had a picnic next to the water, then found ourselves a comfortable cafe along the waterfront where we sat outside and played bridge for a couple of hours while enjoying our beverages! (I had a chocolate milkshake!
We also enjoyed (as usual) a lot of really good food in Thessaloniki. The food was a bit different from what we have had in Athens, but pretty similar. We found some spectacular bakeries and ate some truly decadent desserts, perhaps too many of them. I ate fish. Astonishingly. And it was pretty darn good, too! The fish at the first taverna was truly excellent, just a grilled whitefish. At the second taverna, we got calamari, which I ate, and thought was pretty decent. And all of the lamb I have tried in Greece has been phenomenal.
It's a pretty good thing that I like
Dion, foot of Mt Olympus
the two peaks you see are two of the seven peaks of Mt Olympus, neither are the highest peak
food so much!
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