AALP Class 19's International Study Tour: Day 1-3 in Athens

Date: January 23, 2023

Author: Vicky Morrison, AALP Class 19 Participant

Day 1 - Planes, trains and automobiles

17 people, 2 flights, 1 missed connection, 3 excited pre-travelers and over 24 hours of journeying have brought AALP Class 19 to Greece for the start of our International Study Tour.

It really was a day of planes, trains and automobiles for us, and our arrival in the Greek capital of Athens was welcome.  Now for some rest to prepare for all the exciting visits to come.

Day 2 - A visit to the Canadian Embassy & sightseeing at the Acropolis 

There was no time to catch up as we started Monday morning with a visit to the Canadian Embassy in Athens.  What a great opportunity to talk with trade commissioner Neil Swaine and his staff George and Marie Louise.  We got great background information on the important topics in Greece right now, as well as an understanding of Greek, Canadian relations.  We then had an interesting talk from Dr Christop’s Giannakopoulos, research director at the National Observatory in Athens.  He confirmed what we had heard at the embassy around funding for climate action change, and showed how the Mediterranean is warming faster than average and is at high risk of desertification if no action is taken.  As a group we spent the afternoon sightseeing at the Acropolis and even peg leg Dave made it to the top!!

Day 3 - A trip to the Varvakios food market and Loulis Mills

We started the day with a trip to one of the oldest markets in Athens.  The land that the market was started on was donated by the Varvakeios family.  We spoke to the president of the market vendors who explained the history of the market and the challenges of getting the younger generation to take over the lifestyle.

Our fishing friends had a great visit with the fresh fish vendors, and the variety of meat, spices, nuts fruit and vegetables was staggering.  After recaffinating we set of for Loulis Mills where we learned about the milling process, the different grades of product and what they were used for.  The mill had an exceptional student learning centre with interactive displays and a range of equipment from different eras.  We finished off our day with a tour of the acropolis museum, which enhanced and explained many of the symbols, buildings and myths that we had seen and read about on our trek up the hill the day before.