Wednesday May 13th
Sites Visited: Thessaloniki (city and archaeological museum), American Farm School
Where did we stay tonight?: Thessaloniki
Leaders: Ben Kahn and Alex Maceda
Today we woke up bright an early and left the lovely Hotel Vergina in the not so lovely Red Light District (Hi Mom!) to walk to the Agora bus stop. Our little stint on Thessaloniki public transportation took us up to the city’s acropolis, where we received a morning lecture from PCC about the city’s history as we looked out upon it. Our fearless leader Ben then led us down the sleepy streets to Galerius’s Rotunda, a building whose purpose was originally unknown but later turned into a Christian basilica. After picking up two more (canine) companions, we ventured past a Roman arch and to the famous Venetian white tower. We were able to walk up and stop at all of the high tech museum exhibits, unfortunately all in Greek. Nevertheless, we rallied onwards and upwards to the top of the tower for a wonderful seaside view.
Our next stop was the city’s Archaeological Museum where we given an assignment to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of making vessels in metal vs. terracotta, paying particular attention to the famous Derveni krater. While some groups opted for the local café/frappe scene, others opted for a more foreign option: Pizza Hut. More ambitious groups ventured all the way across the city to the Museum of the Jewish Presence, as Thessaloniki was once home to the largest Jewish population in Greece.
After all was squared away with Derveni Tomb B, we made use of some of our Dartmouth connections and went to visit the American Farm School about 30 minutes outside the city. There, we met up with Andrew Klein ’08 and Amanda Webb ’08, two current graduates working as interns at the school. We got a look at the facilities- dorms, sport complexes, cow sheds? – in the back of a tractor-turned tour bus from the college’s assistant dean, and finally ended with a presentation of their summer program in the college’s library. Note to Dartmouth: computers built into the desks of lecture halls would look wonderful in Reed.
After saying goodbye to our compatriots we headed back to the Vergina, where Alex threw her weight around to get a wonderful conference room for our discussion group. The next hour saw a scintillating discussion of Iliad Books 6-8, and the many philosophical problems that came along with it… fate, chance, destiny… you know, the usual. Alex then provided the group with her “discourse,” a reflection on her life, formative experiences, things she values… you know, the other usuals… to which PCC asked, “what’s the point?”
Existentialist questions aside, it was a great day with great leadership.
Day 53 Photo Gallery: