Greece: heaven or hell?

Olivia, Script Editor

Amongst the glorious days of freedom in my summer holiday, I decided to join a few of my classmates and teachers on a school trip to the islands of Samos and Lipsi, in Greece.

We were there for about a week in each location: researching, exploring and getting PADI certifications with a group called Operation Wallacea. Although taking a trip to Greece may seem like a dreamy concept, I will tell you now that this was no holiday and we were definitely not there to take in the exotic beauties or lay around in the sun.

Our journey to Samos was long and tiring, we ended up having to take a huge plane to Athens and then a connection flight on a small jet to the tiny island’s airport. That evening though, the researchers took us in and gave us a welcoming assembly, before letting us go to our rooms and rest as much as possible before the extensive week ahead they had planned  for us.

Our rooms were not exactly five star, nothing unexpected. However what we didn’t know was that we were going to have to share a room and a bathroom between eight girls. Although I did like the people I went with, living in such a small space for two weeks really got us to show our true colours and on some days even brought out the worst in us.

Our meals in the first week mainly consisted of odd pasta bakes, a lot of feta cheese and chickpea soups. Throughout the second week we expected things to change because of the transition, however most nights we had lentil soups and on our final evening in Lipsi we were served pizza. I won’t be too harsh here but what I will say is, don’t ever eat pizza in Greece!

Apart from the food, tiring journey and accommodation, the Greece experience was enjoyable. During the entire first week in Lipsi my friends and I got to go out seeking chameleons, on call-backs for jackals, bird-watching and best of all: obtain PADI scuba qualifications.

The weather remained hot and sunny the whole time and this meant that when we went to Lipsi and got more free time we were able to explore the island and even have a relaxing beach day. Our second week mainly consisted of research and going out to record data of fish, insect and bird species for the scientists working there. It was interesting to learn how marine biologists work and at the same time take in a bit of the local culture.

My favourite part of this trip has to be when I saw a live octopus only half a metre away from me, hiding in a small hole underwater. Being able to see all this wildlife in its natural habitat made me realise how important it is we stop polluting and really try to leave animals alone so we can live alongside them in perfect harmony.

Overall, this trip to Greece was neither a journey into heaven or a journey into hell but a journey into my deepest conscious, an experience I will never repeat but have learned a lot from.