We are in a lovely hotel in Olympia, arriving here about 8pm tonight so it has been dinner and now a quick note before we head off to bed. Each evening we go through the highlights of the day and the comments the girls give are many and varied. Today Zoe's highlight was the sing-off on the bus as we had a 3.5 hour drive to this hotel, the singing was impressive at first but I think Paris our driver was pleased to arrive and end the noise by the finish of the trip!
We spent some time at Mystras today and, even though it was very wet and cold (8 degrees as we got out of the bus!), there were no complaints from the girls and instead many of them list as highlights the magical churches in the monastry and the paintings inside. Rachel and Bella gave their highlight as meeting the nun running the little shop there and she certainly had a huge presence for such a petite lady. The nun really made an impact as she interacted happily with the girls, even pinching Lauren's cheeks and happily chatting away in Greek to the girls. Maddy G commented that the view from the monastry of the olives and the walk leading up there were really quite stunning. Other highlights included running through the rain and lunch (again!). The girls have fallen in love with Greek food.
We hadn't got far from the lunch venue when Emma realised her backpack was no longer with her!!! Paris turned the bus around and we started to head back when what do you know, the restaurant owner is speeding towards us in his car, trying to catch us up to give it back to her! Needless to say Emma was very relieved and this was certainly her highlight :)
From Mystras we travelled through the mountains (a road most NZ bus drivers wouldn't even contemplate). This road was amazing with tight curves and in some places it was literally cut into the hill so we were driving with rock over us or through rock tunnels. Looking out the windows today was really about the landscape with olives and flowers, mountains and the rainbow. Oh and snow! The temperature had dropped to just 2 degrees by now and we were driving through light snow. Cassie's highlight was dancing in the snow when we stopped at the top for a taste of a treat of yoghurt and honey.
Before we went to Mystras we stopped in Sparta at the Olive Oil Museum which was fascinating in itself but there was also an exhibit there explaining how they had found a mass grave of people who had died of typhoid about the time that the Parthenon was being built. One of the skulls was in great condition and experts have made a facial reconstruction of the 11 year old girl. Evie named this exhibit as a highlight for today saying this was particularly powerful as this young girl died of something that still kills people of today because they don't always have access to the right medicines and treatment.
We've seen so many amazing things and yet it seems there is always something new around every corner. Another big day tomorrow...