On Our Way Up

Sydney Parks Arcadia in Greece, Greece


February 11, 2019
Currently Studying at: Arcadia in Greece, Greece
Homeschool: Beloit College

It is the first full day of orientation, and they just pointed out a small mountain in the distance with a church at the top– Mt. Lycabettus. They gave us some maps, took our phones, and gave us 45 minutes to meet them at the top. 2.7 km later, a group of roughly thirty American college students stumbled our way to the top of the mountain to see a breathtaking view of the city. A vast expanse of city sprawled out beneath us. You can see certain ruins such as Zeus’ Temple and Hadrian's Arch, along with a clear view of the Acropolis, which holds the Parthenon and the Erechtheion. In the distance, you can see the coast. What seemed like a daunting task, led to an amazing experience that helped my new friends and I to bond and learn together.
I think that this is a good look at what this semester will hold. Being in a new country that speaks a different language, uses a different currency, temperature, measurement system, and more seems intimidating. But with the support of my new friends, I think that our new experiences and memories will be worth it. I just need to remember that while the climb looks long, the view is worth the effort.

Based on the view from the top of Mt. Lycabettus, I think it’s safe to say that I have a lot of adventures waiting to be completed during the next four months.

Jumping to the end of my first week and we are on a trip to Nafplion. If you are looking for a place to go and relax in a coastal town, then Nafplion is the place to go. It’s your average seaside town with one exception - The Palamidi. A fortress built in 1714 that takes up the entire top of a mountain. With 1,000 steps to the top, we spent a lot of time exploring. After paying for a ticket to get in you are able to wander the castle, it’s prison cells, and more. While there are some areas that are blocked off from the public for preservation, there is still a lot of ground to cover. It took us over 3 hours to explore it all with the help of our new friends Captain, Admiral, and Corporal.

One thing that I love about Greece? There are a ton of stray cats and dogs that have been given their shots and are very friendly. A group of us had befriended Captain the night before and he found us right before we started the hike the next morning - along with two of his friends. Those three dogs climbed the 1,000 stairs to the top with us and continued to explore. They would stop and take breaks with those who needed rest, and proved as good morale to help us keep going.

Nauplion also had some amazing areas like a pebble beach and a famous gelato store. We had a lot of fun exploring the town. With its peaceful atmosphere, a lot of us decided that we want to go back someday. While I didn’t learn any new life lessons on the trip, I did become closer with my friends and we made some more amazing memories.