Community Service in Greece and more from Mongolia . . .

Tanner ’18, Greece, 4/20/2015
The day started cold and cloudy with no hint of sun. Today, we left mainland Greece and started traveling to the island of Skopelos. . . Everyone’s spirits were high, but we were all exhausted from the days before. Before getting on our ferry to Skopelos, we stopped at a local sandwich shop to grab some lunch for the boat ride. The sandwiches ranged from exotic, Greek subs to plain ham and cheese with bread. Everyone was satisfied with their sandwich and we all felt refueled.

After eating, we all strolled over to the dock to catch the ferry. Our boat was called the Flying Cat 5 and it was bigger than we all expected. . . The ride was only about two hours and was very smooth and calming. When we de-boarded in Skopelos we were greeted by our kayaking guided, Yvonne, Neil, and Chris. They are very nice British people and gave us a ride from the port to the guesthouse where we would stay for the next couple of nights. Once we were settled, we embarked on a walk through the village to look for a place to eat dinner. Walking in the village at sunset was beautiful; the views were magnificent. The village was very peaceful and calm, we almost felt like the only people there.

Some football on the beach.

Silas ’18, Greece
For community service, we helped clean up a beach in Skopelos that was littered with trash and a lot of driftwood. There were multiple groups of people doing different things. One group picked up plain trash, another group picked up driftwood so that we could make a fire for our barbecue later, and the third group picked up plastic bottles because the island has a new recycling system that could recycle plastic bottles. It felt really good helping out a different community and doing something positive for other people.

Camp cooking with driftwood from the beach.

Meg ’17, Greece, 4/21/2015
This trip has been crazy! From a 15km hike on coastal mountains along an old railway (I sure felt like a vagabond!) to a ferry ride across a beautiful, blue sea, I’ve had a wonderful time. Yesterday was the first day we’ve had in a while with no physical, and wow – it showed. I find myself missing that wonderful feeling of post-hike delirium as we prepare for delicious Greek dinner. During our hike two days ago, we played all sorts of games like a more complex version of 20 questions called “contact” and a game that I was particularly inept at that Brady taught us called “Hinky Pinky” where you have to create phrases that rhyme and give the rest of the players a hint so they can figure out your phrase. . .

The best part of this hiking day, however, was the dinner that with our guide from the past four days, Thanasis. We met at this restaurant in town where a huge table had been set for us. We sat down and picked at fresh bread before a delicious herby, olive oil toast was served. Then, we ate fried courgettes, which are fried zucchini slices and one of the best foods that I have ever eaten. We had a Greek specialty after that: spirals of lightly battered and fried cheese that we needed to wait to eat because they were fresh from the kitchen. We found that out the hard way, but nobody who ate it early complained too much — it was SO good! Then the real food began. We had enormous octopus tentacles that Mariana and Elle adored — well, they adored all of the seafood, actually — and fried squid and whole octopi (those were my favorite) and full shrimp. We also ate decadent fish that Thanasis taught us how to separate the bones quickly and effectively from. On top of all of that we ate French fries and for dessert, we had rich Greek yogurt with fruit on top. It was a perfect end to a wonderful day and exciting time in Kala Nera by the beach.

And news from Mongolia:
The leaders called to check in from Baganuur. They are in a hotel for a few nights before heading back to the gers. Everyone’s spirits are high, and they are having an amazing experience. The group was making French toast for Maddie’s birthday. The below photo is in front of the huge statue of Chenggis Khaan that previous Global Immersion Studies groups saw under construction . . .

The Ecuador group remains away from Wifi. We will certainly keep you posted when we have news!