At last- internet that works! I will load photos into previous blogs shortly.
Undoubtedly one of the best days of the tour, our fourth day in Greece proved that it was, is and will forever be the greatest country in the world.
The day started with the unmatched serenity eating a traditional Greek breakfast with the backdrop of golden sun rays piercing through the clouds above the isolated monastaries of Meteora. Built during the latter half of the Byzantine Empire, Meteora is a UNESCO world heritage site famed for its Greek Orthodox monasteries and nunneries that have built into a number of sheer cliffs. The view from the top cannot be expressed in words, for its unparalleled beauty is truly the work of god.
However, the real highlight were the ornate frescoes that dominated the interiors. There wasn't a blank spot of unpainted wall to be seen, with traditional Byzantine art covering almost every surface in the room.
However, the trip to Meteora held a deeper meaning to many of us on this tour, including myself, as we are devout members of either the Greek or Serbian Orthodox church (or both). This meant lighting candles, kissing icons and always doing the cross. It also meant going wild at the gift shop, where we somehow managed to spend an upwards of 700 € between us. Since the teachers only allowed us 5 minutes in the shop, the result ended in chaos, as we madly filled our bags with various icons and other religious items. This included Peter Pontifix's hand-made stavro (necklace with a cross on it) to complete his "elderly greek man" look, which already included:
- The iconic singlet that he refuses to take off
- His belt that has a disproportionately large buckle
- His sunglasses, which, I kid you not, are identical to the one that my grandfather wears everywhere
- His constant ranting about how everthing was made by the Greeks.
After a hearty gyros lunch, we carried our now heavy bags to the bus, which took us to the historic site of Thermopylae, where Mr Pyne excitedly acted out the epic battle that took place there, showcasing the sheer bravery (and stubbornness) of Spartans. The site also featured a colossal bronze statue of the greatest warrior of them all, whose laconic wit and great tactics made him go down in history as the most badass human in history. Whether it be telling the Persians to "come and get" his weapons as opposed to handing them over, or kicking one of their diplomats into a well when they demanded water, telling the scumbag to "dig it up" himself, Leonidas has established himself as an interesting personality, and that only made the trip to his final resting place even more enjoyable.
We then got on the bus and made our way to the centre of the universe, Delphi, a road trip filled with classic Greek hits from our Spotify playlists. We made it to the hotel at the beginning of the hotly anticipated World Cup final between France and Croatia. The match itself was complete garbage however, as the arrogant French team mocked and dived their way to victory. They were so unlikeable in fact that (most of) their supporters actually began to support Croatia. Even I sided with Croatia, and I'm Serbian. If that doesn't tell you how unlikable the French team is, I don't know what does.
The day came to close with us sitting on our balcony, watching the sun go down into the beautiful horizon. Although none of us said a word, we all had the same thought on our mind:
Greece was, is and will forever be the greatest country in the world.