Location: Airport update, Hong Kong
Just an update. At this stage we have been delayed for 1 hour out of Hong Kong. With the 3 hour allowance in our timetable we still have time to make our Wellington flight. But please keep an eye on this as I will post any changes to this here.
Location: Airport, Hong Kong
Hi to anyone who is still reading. We have been to ocean park, showered and now ready to board our plane to nz.
Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Over and out
Location: Roma, Italy
Sorry for the days silence, we arrived in Roma late last night, went straight to dinner at 9pm and out top of that found out the wifi is very expensive at this hotel, so doesn't look like the girls will be getting wifi over the next two days.
So, just a quick update. We left Napoli and headed to Herculaneum for a wonderful tour. This was a definite highlight. It is a small contained site, which had very few tourists there. It has a huge range or original mosaics and frescoes still there, and a great range of houses and stores etc to see. A wonderful gem!
At the moment I can't get my phone to connect to the wifi, but if I can I will put up some photos :)
Next we left for paestum, which is a also a less frequented site and a great experience to see the Greek influence in Southern Italy and the oldest and best preserved temple we have seen. It was amazing!
We then ventured on a long drive to Roma, and on the way, and the get ourselves ready for 'tomorrow' we watched gladiator on huge way. The girls really enjoyed it.
After waking this morning we left for the tour of huge colosseum, which was just amazing. We explored the two levels and learnt a lot about the social life of the ancient Romans and the influence of the emperors over time. Next on the list was palatino hill where the emperors traditionally lived and again it was amazing to see the influence of the different emperors and the amazing marble floors that are still there. Off down the road Augustus Caesar built, that took us to the imperial forum. What an amazing place to learn about the ancient roman social life. So many grand buildings and triumphant arches, and important historical events that took place there. After a walk to campo de fiori for lunch, we then made our way to via del Corso for some of the girls to finally visit the shops they have been hanging out for the whole trip...
Tonight we are heading out for an extra night tour to get a gelato from piazza navona and take a night time driving tour of the city to see it under lights. Very exciting.
as this will be my last blog for the trip (but I will try to notify you all as we make our journey back) just wanted to let you know what we are doing tomorrow.
We are leaving early for a tour of the Vatican museums and St. Peter's basilica. With the canonisation of the two popes yesterday, this is a very exciting time to be in Rome. We then leave for a walking tour of some key sites such as the Spanish steps, trevi fountain, pantheon, piazza navona, just to name a few. After a trip to the supermarket to stock up on Italian treats to bring home, we will then ready ourselves for the 41 hour journey home... With some fun at the park on the way.
Thanks everyone for reading, and looking forward to seeing some of you at the airport on Friday and 4pm.
Location: Napoli, Italy
Pompeii was amazing today. All the girls loved it. The year 13s were especially impressed after studying it at length last year. The year 12s also took full opportunity to record the primary sources as we went for their future internal assessment. Some of the highlights were:
The Casa del Menandro, as it still housed so many frescoes and it was so easy to see how they lived.
How easy it was to put ourselves in to the shoes of the people from Pompeii, see would see where their chariots wheels went, where their hands would have been on the fountain and we could see how they lived.
It was just an amazing opportunity to learning in such an authentic place. Fantastic!
After a panoramic city tour in the bus in a heavy downpour, we then headed to the Naples archeological museum. We viewed a huge number of statues, mosaics, frescoes and a large number of house hold items. The frescoes and mosaics were clear highlights, such amazing skills. We ended the day at galleria Napoli nobilissima, a gorgeous building and some of huge girls were happy to find a Zara...
Location: Sorrento, Italy
Everyone enjoyed our rest day today, with some rest, shopping and a gelato class made it a great day. The highlights were: making the gelato, two girls made a lemon sorbet and another two made the hazelnut gelato. They were both amazing! The eating of the gelato was also a highlight from the day! There were a few girls thinking a career move towards gelato shop ownership could be in their future. :) We couldn't believe it when we we're offered desert after dinner tonight, it was impossible!
The girls managed a wee splash of shopping at the local shops and in particular the old town in the market. Everyone loved walking around and seeing the culture and the buildings. The fact that it was so different to what they experience in Wellington was a great experience. Sitting eating lunch in the sun relaxing was also a highlight for many. There was also a group of girls who came back for a swim at the hotel, and this, along with sitting beside the pool, was also a highlight of the day.
There were a few girls who went in to the Catholic Church Catherdral of Sorrento (Duomo) which the front steps became our meeting point throughout the day, it was just stunning and the quiet time spent in there was also a highlight.
Today was a great day to recharge our batteries for a very early morning tomorrow and everyone is so looking forward to Pompeii and our last few days on tour!
Location: Sorrento, Italy
We arrived safely in Italy, with great excitement!
Bussed to Sorrento with a great new driver Danilo who is with us got the next week. The girls were very impressed with the hotel!
After a dinner of some yummy pasta and pork with fries, some of us headed over to a local laundrette and leant how to self service machines. Some great hilarity ensued as it resembled an amazing race event. Some singing and laughter kept us entertained while we waited.
Looking forward to a relaxing rest day tomorrow to start off our Italian leg of the tour.
Location: Athens, Greece
So, we have now arrived back in Athens and it is great to be back at this great hotel. Here are some quick highlights of the last two days...
Delphi really blew everyone's minds! Some of the year 13s sId it was a nightlight to see the stunning charioteer as they had studied it last year, he is in the museum. Also, it was great to see the evolution of the sculptures. Everyone could feel he magic of the site, the amazing weather also helped, but they enjoyed the view from the top by the stadium, the evidence of the oracle, some girls enjoyed doing cartwheels in the theatre, and the just loved this santuary as a whole. After we left delphi the girls talked again about how much they loved the views, the difference in scenery and even going from seeing the diversity in the Greek economy by seeing lower social economic areas top mansions. It has been sad to see so many abandoned new builds. We stopped for a great lunch at a local restaurant and then drove on the Kalambaka. What an amazing end to a great day. The rocks of Metero are simply out of this world, and we wrapped up the day with a walk around the local town where more frozen yoghurt was sought out.
We woke up early early to be the first to the monasteries to really feel the environment.
We travelled up slowing looking at several monasteries along the way (sorry the photos just don't do them justice). This whole experience was a the highlight of the day, and for some the highlight of the week so far. First we visited Varlaam monastery, a monastery for monks, where we visited the church at the site and everyone, with no phones or cameras between them and the view of being a distraction, simply absorbed the environment and loved hearing Marina explain everything to us in such detail. The Byzantium frescoes from the 16th century have truly stood the test of time. After a visit to their shop, we then travelled boarded the bus to find out that as it was st George's name day, the congregation were at the monastery of st George that is a cave in the rock and people were climbing upo the rocks, and abseiling down, to change the scarfs. This only happens once a year so we were very lucky and we turned around and went down to look. This was a highlight for a few of the girls. It really was exceptional. Especially when we looked through Maddy ys and Kate's lenses and we were able to see how many people were up there, it. Was amazing!
We then travelled on to st Stevens monastery and this is one housing nuns. One of the highlights was a couple of girls spoke to a trainee nun and she was excited to talk with them, a few of us also tried talking a bit more in Greek, especially saying Christos Anesti, and getting such positive responses! We again visited the church and as we stood under the elaborate golden octagon chandelier (type thing) and took in the beauty of this newly decorated church we just loved it. Also, the wooden carved frontage and the amazing small crossed carved in minute detail we later saw in the museum was another highlight. It was such a great experience we came away up lifted. After lunch we watch the second Percy Jackson movie in the bus and lapped in the last of the Greek scenery.
We are sad to be leaving Greece tomorrow, especially our amazing guide Marina and Nick our driver, but the girls are getting excited for Italy!
Yasu and ciao for now.
Location: Kalambaka, Greece
Great day today, but the internet here is sporadic, so apologises if I don't get any photos up tonight.
We started the day at the majestic delphi.
And ended the drive at kalambaka.
Looks like we are losing the internet now, is more tomorrow.
Location: Arachova/Delphi , Greece
Great day today, we have really been blown away by the views and experiences!
We started the day with a visit to the museum at Olympia and saw some fantastic works if sculpture and various items from the site. A couple of the girls said their highlight of today was hearing Marina describe the works and really being able to connect with the art in a much ire intimate way, being blown away by the details, even noticing veins on the sculptures and the morals behind the stories.
We then moved the tour outside and walked the ancient site of Olympia. This was a favourite of many of the girls being overwhelmed with the beauty of the environment, the ideas that the ancients sat right where we were and how wars were always stopped for the Olympic Games, yet in our modern times we stop the games for war (world war one and two) and what a shame this is we haven't learnt from the past.
We all ran a race, some being confused by the turning point I must add, but Kate was successful and took it out convincingly. She was treated to a wreath ceremony made from an olive tree in Olympia.
After that amazing experience, we then left and drove for a number of hours to Arachova, through Delphi and ready for an early visit tomorrow. A highlight of the day was definitely the views as we drove up, from our hotel and walking up to the local village, which is absolutely amazing! Lots of frozen yoghurt was adored and views taken in.
Looking forward to seeing what the oracle has in store for us tomorrow.
Location: Olympia, Greece
In celebration Easter Sunday, we had a really nice relaxing day. We had a fantastic night last night celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at midnight. We visited a local church with all the locals and listened to the chanting in the dark, and then the light of Jesus was spread amongst the congregation via candles we were all holding. After that the fire works erupted and we all had our own sparklers, it was a very special experience.
So, due to a later night, we started a little later and traveled 20 minutes back to Nafplion for a walking tour of the old town, which was an absolute highlight of many of the girls today, in fact I think just about the whole group want to come and live here. We were introduced to the old capital of independent Greece. This was where the fight for independence started early 1800s. We learnt about the building restrictions and the work that has been done over time. It is truly one of the most stunning places!
After driving about 4 hours, we arrived in Olympia to a family restaurant for the chance to try the famous Easter lamb split roast dinner. It was divine! A great way to celebrate Easter Sunday!
With a bit of free time in olympia we walked around the local village (of only 400 people) and admittedly a wee bit of shopping was had. Everyone is catching up on their energy and ready for an early night after dinner.
The girls again were so happy to receive their messages from home. It is delightful to see the sparkle of home in their eyes! Hope you have all had a great Easter weekend.
Location: Tolo, Greece
Wow. What an amazing day! With having just arrived in Tolo, and before everyone gets ready for dinner, we took the chance to read all the great messages from parents and grandparents, we had some very loved happy young ladies!
Today we started the day with an early wake up call, breakfast and departed by 7:30. We drove via the Corinth canal, which was outstanding. We considered the bungy jump but it wasn't in the RAMS, so better not.
Our next stop was one of the highlights of many of the girls, the theatre of Epidaurus. We all ventured right up to the highest seats and listened for when Marina ripped a piece of paper and we all heard it perfectly! The girls also were very impressed by the advanced technology.
After that was the overwhelming highlight of the day, the visit to the Palamidi castle. After an introduction, the girls were left free to adventure and explore the seven levels of the fortress and take in the breathe taking views (to quote one of the girls).
We then arrived in Mycenae, and went for a lovely lunch at a gorgeous large wedding venue. A few of the girls were joking they are planning their future weddings to take place there (sorry) :)
Our visit to the Mycenae acropolis, palace, tomb of Agamemnon and museum was icing on the cake to an amazing day. One small group ventured out to find the tunnels down into the earth, and this was another highlight of the day.
After a great presentation at a ceramic factory of vase making, celebrating with the word Opa, we arrived in the gorgeous beach side town of Tolo.
We are all heading for a sleep ready to wake for a visit to the church at midnight to celebrate in Greek style the resurrection. Looking forward to a great cultural experience!
Thanks for reading!
Location: Athens, Greece
What a great third day!
Started the day with a sleep in and late breakfast with no sites being open before 12pm. First up with the a acropolis, which was a highlight for many of the girls!
The year 13s loved seeing what they had learnt about last year and the year 12s were just blown away by the grand nature of the site. Everything was so well explained by our wonderful guide Marina! Many many photos were taken and expressions of amazement!
We then left for the new acropolis museum and toured multiple floored glass museum with some more wide eyed sighs of admiration at the sculptures and reliefs. After a late lunch and a bit of shopping, followed by dinner, we made our way to a local church to experience Good Friday in Greece. We participated in the procession and really enjoyed being a part of such an interesting experience! Everyone was well ready for bed and excited about venturing out of Athens tomorrow!
Location: Athens, Greece
We have arrived at our hotel. :)
When we arrived in Greece we visited Cape Sounion, which houses the amazing Poseidons temple. Then we took a panoramic driving tour of the city and oriented ourselves. Ready for a yummy dinner and off to bed!
Couple of photos uploading now.
Location: Hong Kong
Yeah, we have arrived in Hong Kong. The girls are busy surveying the shops and getting ready for the next 13 hour leg. Half way there! :)
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Day one, travel day. Pleased to be in Auckland, ready for Europe. Group shot 1, done :)
Location: New Zealand
Only one and a half months to go till we depart for our exciting trip and the girls can hardly contain their excitement.
Stay tuned to hear of our adventures as we go and post messages for your lovely daughters :)
This will be the last entry in our blog. We went back to school again today after the unexpected interruption of the typhoon. This was all over by lunchtime yesterday and we were unscathed although sadly several people lost their lives in a mudslide on an island off the coast of Tokyo. The underground was closed for the start of yesterday and this was the main reason school was cancelled. Today the students wrote letters in Japanese to their host families and then practised their skits. At 4pm we met the host families and the students 'graduated, receiving a certificate. We had a light afternoon tea and then the students performed their skits, all in Japanese, that they had written over the last 3 weeks. One was themed on Cinderella and one on James Bond. There was much laughter and clapping. Saskia gave a speech in Japanese on behalf of the Marsden students and the teacher in charge, Mr Iekki, commented how good it had been. Lastly we all sang a rather complicated song in Japanese that we had been practising as well. Tomorrow we all meet at school and then head to Joypolis at Odaiba on the way to the airport. The flight home leaves here at 8.30pm and the biggest problem for the girls will be packing their bags to keep underweight. See you all at the aiport on Saturday.