La Sainte Union Catholic School

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Voyage into ancient Greece

Tell me, Mrs Juckes and Mr Daley, the story of that resourceful band of classicists (and other LASWAP sixth formers) who wandered far and wide across the Peloponnese after landing in the ancient citadel of Athens on Easyjet Flight 8087.

Well, since you ask…

At 3am on 16th November, an intrepid group of twenty-four year 12 and year 13 scholars departed from LSU on the trip of their school lifetimes to discover the legendary world of Ancient Greece. As Pegas(airb)us A320 touched down however, that modern Charybdis the Athenian baggage carousel had already swallowed up its first victim and alas, Iris’s bag re-emerged from the maw of the whirlpool only five days later.

And so we teamed up with our own Hermes and Athena rolled into one: guide, guardian angel, coach driver, and general groovy Greek guy Dimitris. With the D-man at the helm, we saw the cities of many people and learnt their ways. First up, Thorikos, home of the world’s oldest known theatre, from whose orchestra Mrs Juckes can be seen declaiming to the enthralled masses. Thence to Sounion for sunset by the Temple of Poseidon and a successful search for the graffito signature of mad, bad Lord Byron.

Not resting on our laurels, we were up at the crack of Eos the next morning for our day on the Acropolis and set off on the path to the Parthenon. On the way, we paid homage at the Theatre of Dionysus, downing many a strawberry slushie in honour of the god of wine. After reaching the Erechtheion, a quick air-spear pose before winding our way down the hill to make sweet music with a local Kora player on the other side. The oracle was clearly calling us, and so it was off to Delphi for day three.

After some musing and perusing by the temple of Athena Pronaia, arm in arm we ascended Mount Parnassus towards the Upper Sanctuary, in search of enlightenment at the seat of Pythia, or alternatively the chance to stroke as many stray cats as possible. Most opted for the latter. And so, after rounding off a moussaka-filled Delphic evening with a triple helping of birthday cakes for Nate, we felt truly in the presence of the gods. But ah, fickle fortune! Curse our hubris! No sooner had we set foot on new ground than Maud realised her most prized possessions had been left forsaken back at the hotel. Farewell, sweet blanket and cuddly toy, no Greek tragedy has ever told a tale of such woe!

Another birthday in Olympia and the now customary three cakes, this time for Leo. Hooray too for the cathartic offerings of Olympia, where the birthday boy and the bereft girl won their respective stadion races, the games thus being dedicated the Nateiad and the Maudiad in their honour. In celebration, Mrs Juckes led our horde of noble athletes in a traditional Pyrrhic Dance, the Candy dance, cheered on enthusiastically by the whistle-blowing fun-police nearby.

Bedecked in our finest clothes, including Iris’s new wardrobe from H&M Athina, it was onto the sea-washed shores of Tolo for a celebratory last night of dancing by the Mediterranean moonlight.

Our whistlestop nostos voyage back to Athens took in the healing sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidauros, the Lion Gate at Mycenae, the stunning port city of Nafplio, and the engineering wonder of the Corinth Canal. Yet all of these paled into insignificance next to the final miracle the magical Dimitris had wrought: by Zeus or possibly Hermes, blanket and cuddly toy had returned from the depths of Hades via a network of Greek coach drivers to be reunited with Maud at last. And so, in a trail of happy tears and turbulence, our weary crew departed this land of cloudless climes to return to the starry skies of LSU at 2 am, minds filled to the brim with Classical knowledge, a love of travel and of unforgettable beauty.