Washington, D.C.- The AHEPA Educational Foundationʼs Journey to Greece 2007 completed a very full week of classes and school work before departing on their first weekend excursion. The month-long program is designed to immerse the students in a learning environment that enhances their exposure to Greek culture and heritage. To do this, the students are taken to specially selected historical settings outside of Athens.
The first excursion was to Laconia, the home of the Spartans. The students had an early start traveling by private motor coach across the Corinthian Canal. This first excursion was organized by the Daughters of Penelope, Sparti.
In addition to Sparti, the excursion took in neighboring Mystras and Gythion. Every stop was highlighted by the wonderful hospitality and gifts bestowed on the students during their visit.
The first stop was to visit the historical fortress on the top of Mystras. There the students were taken to the Church of St. Dimitrios, to see the spot where the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI Paleologo was crowned.
Following the Mystras visit, the students were taken to the Museum of Sparta and the Museum of Olive Oil, to see how olives and olive oil have contributed to the economy of the area for thousands of years. On this special day, a traditional taverna lunch was provided by the local cultural commission.
The highlight of our visit was the Spartan cultural evening at the Marmara Taverna. Again, the students enjoyed the hospitality provided by the Daughterʼs of Penelope, the mayor and members of the city council and local government officials. The evening concluded with the students joining in the dancing and entertainment.
The last day of the excursion, continued through the Laconia countryside to the private beach at Gythion. Here the students were treated to a nice lunch and a wonderful day of swimming and enjoying a day at the beach.
The Journey to Greece 2007 wishes to thank the District Governor of the Daughters of Penelope, Georgia Zacharakis and the Daughters of Sparti Chapter for coordinating and planning a wonderful weekend and creating many memories for our students.
Future weekend excursions are planned to Olympia, Delphi, Meteora, Ancient Corinth and Epidavros, Thermopolie and to the Island of Spetses.
During the Summer of 2006, the Journey to Greece was revived after more than thirty years. Because the trip was such a success last year, Hellenext wanted to support AHEPA and Dr. James Dimitriou PSP efforts. Hellenext has sponsored an intern, Cheryl Bucholtz to attend the journey this year, through the Next Generation Initiative. She is reporting back via the web about the students daily life and how everyone is feeling about their experiences attending college abroad and the weekend excursions all over Greece. You can see and comment on any of Cheryl’s entries or view photos by going to www.journey2greece.wordpress.com.