A report by German students
29th of April – 6th of May 2023
students: Frederica Wolfien, Isabell Lorenz, Kira Kurock, Franka Dreiocker, Marlon Arcila Muñoz, Mildier Arcila Muñoz
teachers: Elisabeth Schidda, Jan Göwecke, Jana Fritzsch
On Saturday we met at Hamburg airport at 4:30 am and found out that our flight, which was due to leave for Thessaloniki at 6:35 am, was already one hour late. The flight itself took two hours. We arrived at the airport in Thessaloniki around 11:00 and had to wait a long time for our suitcases. After that, a taxi took us to Volos, the journey took about three hours. The taxi then took us to the school and half of us were also picked up there by our host families. Franka, Kira and Fredi went with the teachers and had something to eat with them at the harbour until their host families picked them up later that evening. The others enjoyed the day with their host families. Since Volos is a harbour town, it was always nice to go for a walk there and the weather that day was perfect: blue skies and not too hot.
On Sunday we had time with our host families. For example, we went out for dinner and had a traditional Greek meal. Afterwards, we walked along the beach. In the evening, we met up with the Italian exchange students. We were shown around Volos in the evening. It was very nice because it was already dark and the city looked beautiful.
1st of May is also a public holiday in Greece so we went on a trip to Thessaloniki with the whole Erasmus group. We met at 8 am at the bus waiting for us in front of the school and we were all driven there by our host families. The journey took about three hours. The bus took us up near the church of Agios Pavlos at the beginning. There is the Eptapyrgio, called “Seven Towers”: It forms the last line of defence should the enemy have breached the outer fortress. The Eptapyrgio consists of a surrounding wall enclosing seven towers. Unfortunately, we could not visit it due to the holiday, but the view of the city was fantastic. On the way down, we walked past the Roman Forum, an archaeological site and legacy of the Romans, and the Arch of Galerius, a triumphal arch. Afterwards, we had two hours of free time. We were allowed to go in small groups (at least 4 people) and could then explore the city on our own. I was with my group looking for a delicious restaurant. Unfortunately, the city was very, very crowded and there was no way to find a good place to eat. After 45 minutes of searching in vain, we went to the good old Dominos and had a delicious pizza. It wasn’t particularly exciting, but with the view of the sea and the city, the pizza was perfect. When our free time was over, we all met again at the “white tower”, one of the city’s landmarks as a former fortification and prison, and waited for the rest. Then we started the return journey, again about three hours back, but the bus ride was very fun, people got talking and laughing together. When we arrived at the school, the parents of our host students picked us up and we drove back home.
On Tuesday morning at 8.30 am we went to school for the first time and joined our exchange students in class. It was very different from Germany, it was louder, but there were fewer students. The classrooms were also smaller and they had a letter and a number for a name, just like here in Germany. At 9 am, all the exchange students met in the library with the teachers, where we were greeted and given welcome gifts: The girls a backpack and the boys a cap plus a snack and brochures about Volos. After our exchange students came back from class, we walked into town at 10.30 am to the Museum of the City of Volos. There we learned about the history of the city of Volos and watched a video of the construction of a copy of the Argo. In Greek mythology, Jason and his men, the so-called Argonauts, set off on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. When we came out of the museum around 12 o’clock, we were shown the city and important buildings, but we could not visit any of the city buildings from the inside due to the upcoming elections. At the end, we were at the harbour and split up into smaller groups to get food. Afterwards we met up again and all walked back to school together. We went home by bus at 2 pm to rest a bit. In the evening around 7 pm we met with many other exchange students at the beach, talked and played basketball. At 10 pm, we were picked up by our parents and drove home and went straight to sleep.
On Wednesday we visited the classes of our exchange students. After one lesson, all project participants gathered in one classroom to share our presentations about popular sports and games in our countries. Afterwards, we immediately received our mobility certificates. Afterwards, we held a food fair. After a short preparation time, we were able to taste delicacies from the partner countries that we had brought with us and prepared on site, if necessary, and talk to each other. This was a really great and above all delicious activity! Afterwards we went to the school sports hall where the sports teacher, the only one at the small school, taught us two typical dances. For this, we stood in a big circle and, similar to Syrtaki, danced continuously in a circle to what the PE teacher and the Greek coordinator were demonstrating in the middle. The music got faster and faster and it quickly became clear who was talented in dancing or not. There was really a lot of laughter! School finished at around 3 pm and everyone went to their host families. Since the weather was beautiful in the afternoon, some went to the beach to play volleyball or other games.
On Thursday we all met at school in the morning and drove together to Makrinitsa, a village on Mount Pelio. We arrived there shortly after 9 am after a winding drive and unfortunately could not enjoy the view yet, as it was very foggy. Accompanied by two street dogs, we went to the local “environmental education centre”, where we listened to a lecture about ecotourism in Makrinitsa. Afterwards, the lady told us something about herbs and plants that grow on the Pelio and what healing powers they have. Afterwards she explained the house itself, which was built according to the old construction method. For example, it has two levels, which are pleasant either in summer or in winter. Also, the houses used to have certain devices to protect themselves against thieves or intruders. Afterwards we had a look at the place and found some of the corners from the presentation. On the way to the bus we had time to buy some souvenirs and enjoy the view of the city. Afterwards we drove to the village of Portaria, where we had time to buy souvenirs again. From there we went straight back to school. When my exchange student and I arrived home, we had lunch. In the evening, we met with almost all the students in Alykes, a district of Volos, like every evening. There we did basketball, football and other activities. When everyone was hungry, we went out to eat. Afterwards, we students had a closing party. We listened to music and danced. Everyone had fun. Meanwhile, some also played mini-games. After a long evening, we finally went home. Everyone was tired and exhausted.
On Friday the last full day, we all met at the school at 9 am. The students were already at a school lesson with their host students. From school we all went together by bus to a local athletics stadium where the partner schools competed in these disciplines: 100m run, 400m run, 4x100m run, basketball. Unfortunately, the weather was not so great, it was drizzling and quite fresh. But the atmosphere in the group was great. Directly after each discipline, a Greek schoolgirl dressed in an old garment crowned the winners with an olive wreath. Since the basektball field was too slippery, we took the bus back to school, where we played 3:3 in the gym until the first team had 10 points. That actually dragged on quite a bit. Around 2 pm everyone said goodbye and went back to the host families. In the evening, the teachers met for a farewell dinner and some students met their host families at the restaurant.
On Saturday we met with our teachers at 6 am at their hotel to take a taxi from there to Thessaloniki. After saying goodbye to our host families, we went to the airport in Thessaloniki together with the Portuguese team in a taxi that had pretty cool LED lighting inside. It was almost like being in a party bus. We arrived at the airport around 9 am. There we did the check-in and went to the security check. Then we said goodbye to the Portuguese and went to our gate. Our flight left at 10:55 am and we arrived in Hamburg shortly before 1 pm, where we only had to wait a short time for our suitcases and were picked up by our parents. It was a really great and exciting mobility!