Rising junior running back Gaston Miller and rising senior safety Joel Caldwell are spending May 4-29 studying abroad in Greece. The duo is taking a three-credit hour course called "Uncovering Greek Religion: Cults, Sanctuaries & Festivals in the Ancient World." While being immersed in a foreign culture for the first time in his life, Miller will provide Vanderbilt fans with updates of his experiences in Greece on VUCommodores.com. (Photo by Steve Green)
Also, check out Ryan Schulz's feature on Miller and Caldwell in Commodore Nation magazine -- click here
Wednesday, May 27
Today is Wednesday May 27. All is well here in Greece. We have been visiting sites as usual. Today we went to the National Museum in Athens and saw many original copies of great Ancient Greek sculptures and things of that sort.
This is likely to be my last post of my visit to Greece as tomorrow we begin to give our individual final presentations for the course. I should depart the airport in Athens and head for Paris on early Saturday morning. I should touch back down in Nashville around 4 p.m. on Saturday.
I would like to give thanks first to God, then everyone who has helped or supported me in my special travels. I have had a really great time and learned so much from this experience. I have also enjoyed posting and keeping all of you, who read my posts, updated. I would like to thank you as well.
Thank you and I should see you soon.
Friday, May 22
Hello from Greece,
We are back in Athens after being on the road and traveling for 12 straight days.
We were last in Delphi, which is the city that people travel to from all over Europe to ask and receive guidance from the Oracle. While in Delphi, I had a couple of run-ins with some of the local animals that live nearby. At the site of our first lecture in Delphi, a large pig came in sight and wandered close to where we were sitting. Everyone from the course sought higher ground on large stones as the pig came closer. The second day in Delphi, I decided to go on an optional hike up one of the many mountains with the professor and a few other students. During the hike we bypassed a herd of sheep that were nurturing a young lamb.
This morning on the way back to Athens we made a stop about mid-way and visited an 11th century Byzantine Monastery, Hosios Loukas.
This is the final week of this course and we will be stationed in Athens until the end. We do not have any coursework for the rest of the weekend and some of the students have decided to travel to another island, Mykonos. However, I have decided to stay back and visit other parts of Athens.
Monday, May 18
Hello from Greece!
We traveled through Ancient Sparta, Messene, and Pylos today, and now we are in Olympia. We not long ago visited the museum and Sanctuary of Zeus,the king of all Greek Gods. Tomorrow, we will head to the site where the Ancient Olympic games were played.
Although I have been living in Greece for nearly two weeks, it is still difficult to get the real feeling of what it is like to live here. I am unsure about what food is prepared inside of the homes of the Greek people. In America, I would call them home-cooked meals. We have eaten out everywhere that we go. Mostly all restaurants are Greek and prepare Greek meals; however, while in Athens we stumbled across a McDonald's that was very similar to an American McDonald's with a few item exceptions. We also saw a Subway in Athens but did not happen to stop there for food.
At all of the hotels of the Greek cities we have visited so far, only a few channels are shown in English. Many of them are news channels and I have only seen a couple of English speaking movies while here. From watching some sports channels while here, it appears that basketball and soccer are in season.
Until next time,
Thursday, May 14
It is 9:50 p.m. on my third and last night in Nafplio after staying in Loutraki for one night. While here, we have visited many sites of the Iron and Bronze ages of Greek history, including Ancient Corinth where the Apostle Paul led the early teachings of Christianity.
Everything is going well. I have a newfound love for the cheap and tasty Greek Gyro, which is a round pita bread stuffed with choices of pork, chicken, beef, or sausage. Also inside of the pita are tomatoes, onions, a handful of french fries and Tzatziki sauce. The Tzatziki sauce is a sauce with the texture of sour cream and flavored by garlic-like herbs.
Tomorrow morning we will head to Sparta, which is the Greek city-state that the movie 300, is based upon.
Sunday, May 10
Hello from Greece!
I returned to Athens from the Greek island, Paros, around 4 p.m. Sunday. The course instructor, Bronwen Wickkiser, did not have coursework scheduled for the group this weekend so we decided to take a weekend get-away to one of the closer islands. The brief vacation went really well. We traveled five hours on a nice ferryboat to make it to the island and enjoyed fun in the sun at local beaches during the day and relaxing social scenes by night. It is the summertime in the United States, but it is just nearing the summer months here in Greece. We were denied access to some activities because the summer season has not yet started here; however my roommate, Joel Caldwell, and others were able to rent ATV's and ride throughout the island. Nonetheless, the weather is nice and hot mid-day and cools off as the sun sets.
We will continue course work tomorrow (Monday) by traveling to Nafplio, which will be the first of many cities we will visit.
Thursday, May 7
Hello from Greece!
I have had more great experiences since I last wrote you.
In my last posting, I meant to mention that where I am in Athens, Greece is eight hours ahead of Nashville's Central time zone. Also, There are a total of 12 Vanderbilt students who are here including me.
I have eaten several great Greek meals since my arrival. Many of the same meats and vegetables are used here, only in different ways. I have enjoyed meats from lamb, chicken, and pork alongside Greek salad, and a seasoned garlic yogurt spread for pieces of bread.
The group visited Athens' Acropolis (which is the highest point of the city) with attractions such as one of Athena's sanctuaries and the Parthenon (pictured to the right). We traveled a great distance up a mountain to reach the Acropolis where I enjoyed learning of its persisting history. Although, the Acropolis is currently being rebuilt, it is still a wonderful site filled with amazing views of sanctuaries and a great outlook over the city of Athens.
As an introduction to the Greek lifestyle, I was instructed on how to spell, pronounce, and use the Greek alphabet to form some words in the Greek language. I can effectively use greetings such as: please, thank you, yes and no.
Tuesday, May 5
Greetings from Greece!
Monday was a busy day of travel for me. I traveled from Nashville International Airport to JFK International Airport in New York. I then flew from New York to Athens, Greece at about 10 a.m. on Monday morning.
We checked into the Art Gallery Hotel and then headed out for lunch. Later in the day, we took a short tour around the city and saw a few sites of churches from different areas of past and Modern Greek times.
There have been a few key things that have stood out to me since arriving in Greece. After getting off of the airplane in Greece and walking to the luggage claim, I noticed security was scanning body temperatures as a result of the Swine Flu outbreak. The cars here are much smaller. Often cars and smaller vehicles, such as dirt bikes, motorcycles and mopeds share a single lane.
Where I am currently located, there is not much open land. The only open areas seem to be at attraction sites. This area of Greece has many mountains and for that reason, many streets have different levels of slope increases and decreases.
The whole experience has been new to me and I will continue to learn more as I get settled.
Until next time, Go 'Dores!