Halkidiki and Vergina – Day Trips to Remember

Yassas!

Last weekend closed my first full week in Greece – and it was certainly memorable. On Saturday morning, my group traveled approximately an hour and a half to the beaches of Halkidiki, a three-finger peninsula to the east of Thessaloniki. More specifically, we headed to Afitos beach on Kassandra. You know those computer screen savers of tropical beaches? Yeah, it looked like that.

You couldn’t see how deep the water was because no matter where you were, you could see the bottom. The water was crystal clear and beautiful. (I will say, however, that there were two sea-urchin incidents. But everyone is okay now.)

We ate lunch at a beautiful seaside bar and many of us (myself excluded) tried the fresh seafood. We spent the rest of afternoon back in the water and exploring the cute little town.

By the time we got back from the beach, we were exhausted, so there’s not much more to tell.

Sunday started  early with a bus ride to Vergina. This town is the site where King Philip II, (one of) his wi(ves), and his grandson are buried. King Philip II was the father of Alexander the Great and a very significant historical figure himself. Philip united all of Greece’s nation-states, which allowed Alexander to build a Macedonian army and conquer the known world. Philip was a brilliant soldier, and invented the phalanx formation that brought such success to future armies.

Because Philip II was such a memorable king, his recently discovered grave is also monumental. One is not allowed to take pictures inside the tomb, but the experience was unlike any other museum I have been to before. Manolis Andronikos discovered the tombs in 1977, but their location has not changed since. Everything is exquisitely preserved in the exact location where it was found, leading to a very immersive experience in the history of the tombs themselves. And they found some of the coolest things in the tombs, too….I got a book on it. You can read it if you like.

We ate lunch at a little cafe near the place, where they fed us a full meal of meat, potatoes, salad, bread, and rice. I’m really getting used to these Greek meals. 🙂

Our trip back was less eventful, I think I basically slept on the bus…and in the room for the rest of the night. Keep posted for my update on actual academics.

Kalispera!

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