I got back on Wednesday but am still arriving a little bit, haven't really woken up yet... Greece was fantastic, a really awesome trip. So many stories, will have to sample just a few. I flew into Athens on Saturday after spending the week at Soul Survivor where we observed a 4 am curfew: you weren't allowed to sleep before 4am. That produced some great times but meant that I arrived in Athens feeling like I needed to sleep for a month... not a bad way to start a 2 week mission trip.
So we spent an evening in Athens and then bussed it up to Ptolemaida, a town of about 10thousand people. 3thousand of whom came to the festivals we ran over 3 nights during the week. I got to know a bunch of young guys there and would have been more than happy to stay in Ptolemaida for the entire 2 weeks but on Thursday morning the team split up into 3 groups, one heading to Korce in Albania, one to Thessalonikki (as in Thessalonica from the bible) and my team headed to Athens.
In Athens we ran some training, 4 festivals and then a Youth Cafe night which went amazingly well and made some great connections between the local youth group and some young people. The Athenian team spent our day off on Aegina, an island an hour from Athens. I found some magical spots to dive from cliffs and even got Marty to have a go!! The water was so clear it was unbelievable, was loving it.
Then we moved on to the last part of the trip. Catching the Sleeper train up to Thessalonikki to meet up with the other teams and we got to spend a bit of time looking around, I found a very kool bag (something I had been looking out for all trip) at a great price. It's got a bit of a hippy style going on which I like and when I wear my hippy pants and peace t-shirt, with the dreadies, I look like a proper hippy. From Saloniki (a shorter version of the towns name, which reminds me of a joke we were told in Athens- what's the best thing a tourist can see in Thessalonikki? the sign that says "to Athens"!!) we drove out to Phillipi and checked out the ruins. I climbed down into the prison where Paul and Silas were when God caused an earthquake to free them, you weren't supposed to go in but someone dropped something and I volunteered myself to go get it back. Was crazy being there. Then we had lunch at Lydia's river (see Acts 16:13-15) before heading to Corinth. The Athens team had had a very cool surprise when a bunch of teenagers from the church in Corinth had rocked up to the training nite and then come back for a festival and were loving it all. So we got the pastor from the church to come and show us around the Ancient city a few days later where he unpacked a bit more of the history of the place for us. Then we went for a wander and saw the place where Paul actually stood before the magistrates to make his defence after a mob tried to have him beaten. It was incredible to look at the surrounding hills, especially the one with the temple atop it, and know that that is what Paul was looking around at 2000 years ago...
Opah!! (greek for whoops) I forgot about Volos and more importantly Makrinitsa village above Volos. The place could be out of Narnia or Lord of the Rings!! Perched in the mountains above the sea there are these old villages with cobbled streets and old houses and stairways and paths leading here and there with huge old trees everywhere making the village feel like you're exploring Rivendell with a petrified old water wheel and a stream running from the fountain at the centre of the village down the hill. I didnt have my camera to get any photo's but I will have to get hold of some.
That's about winding up the adventure. Mim and myself spent a couple of days on a greek island Andros before we headed home and after nailing the back flip and doing some cliff diving I thought I'd crash one of the motorbikes we hired and get myself some stitches before we headed home. It all ended pretty well and on our last nite in Athens a bloke named George took amazing care of us, not charging for our accomodation and taking us to the airport at 4am, legendary guy.
And now I need to sleep coz I have to get up 2moro morning. Check out the photo's link to see some photo's of my recent exploits and a couple more stories.