Saturday, June 20

On June 20, we had the opportunity to explore Chalkidiki, a region in Central Macedonia. Chalkidiki boasts beautiful beaches and mesmerizing marinas that demonstrate the peninsula’s prime location along the coastlines of the Aegean Sea. After arriving at Sithonia in the morning, we hopped on a large two-story boat and set sail on a maritime exploration. Anchoring three separate times, we were given the opportunity to swim in the Aegean Sea. Because of the excellent weather in conjunction with the refreshingly cool waters and calm waves, swimming in the Aegean Sea was an incredible experience. Afterwards, we walked on the beach and returned to Thessaloniki, where we dined at a nice restaurant in the Morihovou Square.

– William Agathis

Today was one of the best days in my entire life. When I think of a perfect day in Greece, I picture this day in my mind. We spent the entire day on a wooden sailboat touring the Chalkidiki’s second peninsula where we stopped at three different beaches and went swimming off the boat. The views from the boat were absolutely stunning with the turquoise waters of the Aegean contrasted with Chalkidiki’s rocky coastline. At each stop, the captain would anchor the boat and we would jump into the cool blue waters of the Aegean. The ocean was so clear that you could see the bottom from ten feet above the surface. When we returned to the boat we listened to music and Greek danced with the crew. After returning to shore, we went to a beach bar where we continued a near perfect day lounging on the beach with drinks and snacks. We had a late lunch on the beach and then returned to Thessaloniki to a tavern for a nice dinner and then strolled around the boardwalk before returning to the Capsis Hotel.

– Dimitris Roumeliotis

Our day began by waking up super early in the beautiful city of Thessaloniki. We ate a quick breakfast at the Capsis Hotel before embarking on a long two hour bus ride to a boat to tour the beautiful islands around Halkidiki. We boarded the boat around 9:30 AM and prepared to embark for a seven hour cruise around some of the islands. We stopped on four separate occasions in order to jump into the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea. We were able to jump off of the boat with inner tubes and inflatables so that we could float around and relax with the entire Heritage Greece crew. While coming back into port, we all gathered inside the boat and participated in many different styles of Greek dances. I myself was pulled into the Zeimbekiko circle in order to dance. After showing off my otherwise horrid dance moves, we docked and walked swiftly to the beach bar where a super late lunch was going to be served. The group relaxed on the beach while our food was being prepared […] The dinner provided [at Kioupia Kouzina] consisted of either a burger, chicken fillet, or pork Souvlaki and as always was given to us after multiple courses. Already dressed for the night, everyone spread out and enjoyed the Thessaloniki nightlife, ending another great day with the crew and ending our first full week in Greece.

– Nick Theofilos

Although each and everyday has been amazing thus far, for me, my favorite day was the boat trip to Halkidiki. We woke up early in the morning and took an hour long bus ride to the small village Nakiti, where we boarded what looked like a vintage pirate ship. Throughout the day we anchored in different spots and jumped off the boat into the deep blue waters. The staff, who were all amazing, provided us with floats, and balls, to play with while we were in the water. And for those that remained on the boat, they weren’t guaranteed to stay dry as the Captain was running around shooting everybody with his water gun. The day would not be complete without Greek dancing. So as the trip neared its end, the first mate gathered us all in a large circle on the main level, and we danced […]. Overall, I could not have asked for a better day, and cannot wait to see what tomorrow holds.

– George Skelos

Today we went on a boat trip to Sithonia in Halkidiki our first full day of our Thessaloniki weekend excursion. Instead of the usual urban sprawl of Athens, we were able to see the flora and fauna of the region in its pristine untouched state. The water was a limpid teal, and the islands we passed a deep green. Seeing these sights reminded me why the Greek language has many words to describe light and blue hues: the richness of the language is truly reflected in the richness of the landscape of Greece.

Afterwards, we went to a restaurant/beach bar where had a large dinner together. On another note, some of us on the roughly hour and a half bus ride back home shared some music as well. One of the peers played the guitar while a few of us sang songs in both English and Greek. One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to listen to its music. This was therefore a great time to showcase similarities and differences between the two. For example, we realized that the Greek pop music lyrics have a certain poetry about them that is lost in most mainstream American pop music. Overall, today was a terrific day, and my favorite of the trip thus far!

– Lexy Prodromos


At around 6am, we departed by bus to Sithonia, where we arrived full of excitement about the day ahead of us. We sailed along the Aegean Sea, in awe at how crystal blue the water was. When we arrived at our first stopping point, everyone eagerly lined up to jump off the boat into the water. Whether throwing balls, lounging on blow up alligators, or dancing to the music playing from the boat, the thought going through all of our minds was, “This has to be a dream.” The beauty that surrounded us as we traveled to our next two anchoring points by Halkidiki continued to fill us with joy and pride to have roots in such an amazing country. The scenery truly took my breath away. To cap off an extraordinary journey, we Greek danced below the ship deck. It was a day I am confident none of us will ever forget.

– Alexi Nikolopoulos

It was our first full day in Thessaloniki and excited was an understatement. We awoke at 6 am and had a fruitful breakfast. After a nice 2 hour nap on the bus we arrived at the Harbor where we boarded our 16th century like Pirate ship. While on the boat we made three different stops to hop in the water. Each equally beautiful and unlike any other sight I’ve ever seen. The water was crystal clear and the bottom looked touchable when it was 30 feet deep. On our way home on the boat the crew members decided to start Greek dancing and even pulled in some participants to dance with them; I was chosen but sadly declined.

After 6 amazing hours on the boat we then pulled up to a beach side bar and had amazing pork and potatoes. For dinner we went to a local restaurant named Kuzina. Kuzina not only had top notch food but the atmosphere made the meal. After everyone ate we got up and started to Greek dance around the tables and even random locals jumped in! This day in general was probably my favorite day on the trip so far, and that’s saying a lot!

– James Theofilos

Traveling to Thessaloniki turned out as a wonderful expression of exploration and immersion deeper into my heritage. Upon arrival, we quickly settled into the hotel and attended a delicious dinner. A trip to the boardwalk filled me with a sense of nostalgia, as I always loved traversing seaside walkways whilst visiting California. The group ended up early in bed so that we could catch a few hours of sleep before the incredible boat excursion the next morning. I feel overwhelmed taking a bus to the port in the morning as we pass by gorgeous groves of fruit trees, forest and rock features alike, all the while near the sea.

Excitement builds as we make our way onto the massive water vessel, replete with speakers and snacks alike.
Words fail to capture the spirit of the trip through the Aegean. Wonder comes to mind, but also wanderlust, and a calm sensation felt as one rocks through wavy water. The water shone clear as a crystal sky, the islands lush and rocky paradises that cut through the surface of the sea. Birds fly around trees as we jump, dip and dive into impossibly lucid water. The captain of the ship makes himself at home with a freddo espresso and a super soaker that he unleashes amongst unknowing sea goers. I feel as though this trip stands out as the greatest experience I have had the grace to embark upon all year.
We then make our way back to land, and have a late lunch at an incredible seaside resort. I feel the rhythms of the sea for the rest of the day and well into the night. A bus ride takes us back into the city where we walk to a delicious dinner and a night to never forget.

Greece has opened me in many ways. It has allowed me to feel more comfortable around peers, it has brought me a sense of home, and it continues to surprise me with plants. I feel at home.

– Erich Eisenhart
Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability | 2015 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Today we had the chance for a once in a lifetime experience. We woke up rather early so that we could get on the bus to head to Halkidiki. Once we arrived, we hopped on a boat that resembled a pirate ship! Everyone was really excited. We made a few stops throughout our journey where we were able to jump off the boat, into the sea. It was an unforgettable view. We docked at a tavern right by the sea and had an amazing rest of the night. This, along with every other experience has been one that we will never forget.

– Mary Begakis

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