Thursday, June 13, 2013

Halway done, but endless memories still to come...

Arriving in Greece was one of the most overwhelming yet thrilling experiences I could have ever imagined. Upon stepping out of the airport in Crete, I was greeted with a much-welcomed wave of heat that was (thankfully) unlike the weather New England had been seeing. The language barrier immediately became evident; Michel and I searched for signs that might indicate where we should go but the Greek characters were foreign to us (pun intended). In retrospect, it's amazing to see how far the group has come since those first few days. Although our speaking is still extremely limited, I get a smile every time I receive a Greek welcome from one of the locals. Everyone here is extremely willing to help the learning process, and we are certainly excited to acquire as much of the Greek culture as we possibly can.

My favorite experience thus far has definitely been hiking the gorge on the other side of the island. Although we certainly had our hesitations leading up to the excursion, the view was nothing short of breathtaking. The soreness the next morning was less than enjoyable but certainly worth it. In 13+ kilometers, we started at the top of a mountain, hiked all the way to the bottom, then journeyed some more until we reached the riverbed which meanders through the cliffs. Although I've never been to the Grand Canyon I would have to guess that this was the Greek version of it! High on exhilaration, we continued past the end point all the way to the beach; trust me, the ocean never felt so good. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but the scenery rendered me speechless (photos to come soon, I promise!).

The rest of our days have been filled with studious mornings and sun-filled afternoons. The food is seemingly unending and the company here at the institute is wonderful. Our experiences here may be halfway over, but I have no doubt whatsoever that the next week and a half will prove to be memorable.

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