Friday, December 31, 2021

Adventures in Greece During the Pandemic

My name is Alice Maksimowski, and I was lucky enough to be one of two interns at the Canadian Institute in Greece this past fall term. It was an amazing experience to have, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when so many people have been stuck at home and unable to travel. In this post, I would like to share some of my favourite experiences and pictures that I hope will encourage others to come and explore the culture, history, and archaeology of Greece.

One of the first places we visited was of course, the Acropolis. After seeing so many pictures online and in textbooks, it was so amazing to visit the site in person. Pictures truly do not do it justice, and its true scale and impact cannot be captured with a camera. I took a class on Classical Greek architecture in 2020 and we studied the architecture of buildings such as the Erectheion and Parthenon, so it was amazing to see these places in person. Below is a picture of the Caryatid sculptures in the New Acropolis Museum.

Our first island destination was Aegina. We went on a hot day, so much so that I got a bad burn, and the outlines of my swimsuit are still very visible on my back. I highly recommend not falling asleep on the beach, even though it is so comfortable. Apart from sunbathing we also rented a car and visited the temples of Apollo and Aphaia. The temple of Aphaia was particularly stunning and well preserved, and the view of the sea and the rest of the island was spectacular. The drive up was also a fun experience and helped me improve my driving skills. Below is a picture of the temple of Aphaia.

Delphi was one of my favourite destinations. Much like the Acropolis, pictures in textbooks and on the internet do not do it justice. The landscape around the site is also amazing, which only adds to the site itself, even though it is a little bit of a hike. I tried re-creating a textbook picture of the site, as can be seen on the opening picture of this post. We also visited the museum at Delphi, which was a surreal experience for me. Specifically, I couldn’t stop looking at and taking pictures of the Charioteer, which is pictured below. The food at Delphi was also exceptionally delicious, which was unexpected as I thought it would be more “tourist” style food.
Santorini was another must-see destination for me. The site of Akrotiri was a place on my bucket list that I can now cross off. It was so amazing to see all the well-preserved houses, and even walk down some of the ancient streets, which really brought the site into perspective. Seeing all the volcanic ash deposits around the island was also so interesting, and often these deposits were beautiful to look at. In the evening we were able to visit Oia in the north and take pictures of the town during sunset, such as the picture below. The weather wasn’t ideal, but the wind and dark clouds gave the island a powerful atmosphere which was really amazing to experience.

Finally, our last trip was to Crete. We stayed in Chania, a beautiful city with Venetian, Ottoman, and Egyptian influences. The old town was particularly memorable, with tiny, winding streets and repurposed mosques. We also made our way to Heraklion and Knossos, however briefly. Unfortunately, we were not able to visit the museum in Heraklion and most of the site at Knossos was blocked off, but we were still able to enjoy the landscape of the area and some delicious Cretan food and drinks while the rain was pouring outside. The food on Crete was amazing, and I probably ate way too much cheese than is healthy, but it was worth it. Below is a picture of the old port in Chania.

These are just a few snapshots of my favourite experiences I’ve had in Greece, and just a few of my favourite pictures. I’m very lucky to have had this experience and met so many new and interesting people with whom I’ve shared these experiences. The culture and atmosphere here are so inviting and relaxing, which allows for an amazing experience. I hope to come back someday soon, to keep travelling around the country and experiencing all the history and archaeology!

Alice Maksimowski
WLU intern, fall 2021

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