The next two days are what we are calling “Free days” everyone is taking a break from our studies and organized trips to do a little exploring on our own. We should have a nice variety of adventures to describe. One group with Brett Murray as their fearless leader is planning the “Tour de Aigina.” They will be renting bikes and riding around the island. Andrew, Emily, and Brett S are headed to the “Hot Springs” of Aigina with Eleni. I’m headed going with Katie and Carly to the fishing village of Perdika on the southern coast of the island. We will taxi there and after exploring take a leisurely 5 mile stroll back to town. It should be a wonderful day. We are hoping for 60 degrees and I think most are planning to at least stick a toe in the water today!
Yesterday we passed the 40 mile walk on my pedometer. Those last few miles should have counted double! We started the day with Ms. Photini Emmanouil a local forester, who took us into the forest of Aigina for some lessons on flora and fauna. We saw one of the only springs and natural running water in Aigina and hiked a rocky(boulders) dry creek bed.
We did a little team building as we climbed up the side of a mountain (well it probably qualified as a steep hill.) I’m not sure who was more surprised I made it … the students or me! We were in good hands. For the last five years, Ms. Emmanouil has been leading groups of children from preschool to high school on these adventures. But I must say when she told us she had an easier way down and then pulled the rope out of her bag…Courtney and I were a little skeptical about what was ahead. No worries, she had a great technique for getting us safely down. There might be pictures…but one of the caveats of the trip for the students is not posting pictures of me…until after I post their grades! Haha!
We were very thankful for her guidance as she pointed out the various herbs. Some of which we were familiar with such as sage and thyme. Also, she gave us a lesson about our location on the island and even packed in treats for us. Those apples she peeled for us at the top couldn’t have been more appreciated.
While there we did some trash clean up. As usual with this group they pitched in and got the job done right.
Back at the Drury Center we ravaged through 7 extra-large pizzas in record time.
The afternoon ended with discussions with Lizzy Koster, an expat from Holland, who has been living on Aigina for twelve years. We talked with her about the challenges she faced adjusting to a culture very different from her own. She is involved in community activities such as an annual beach cleaning. As a web developer, she is able to live in Aigina and work with international clients. We all had a connection to her because we had been reading her website in preparation for the trip.
Well the sun is shining and calling us to come out and play…so off we go exploring.