European Bonds in a Time of Separation

Sunday

Visit to Thessaloniki

On April 2, 2022, we met at Prague Airport and made our way via Munich to Thessaloniki in Greece, where we had our first Greek meal together for dinner. The next day we had a thorough tour of the whole city. For example, we saw the Church of St. Demetrius, Mount Olympus, and the White Tower, which is considered, because of its history a symbol of Macedonia. It was originally built in the 15th century to defend the port of Thessaloniki, however, later it became a prison and now it´s used as a museum 

We also enjoyed a cruise around the coast on a ship and the boys even toured the historic streets on scooters.

We picked up the German team from the airport in the afternoon and arrived in Komotini, where the Greek host school is located, in the evening.

Monday

Launch

Czech, German and Romanian students, their hosts and professors met on 4.4. in the sports hall of the Music School in Komotiny and our week started. We were divided into 3 international teams and played games to get to know each other. We then toured the school together and through prepared presentations were introduced to the different countries involved in the project and their host school.

Meeting with Greece

5 Greek professors showed and introduced to us traditional Greek musical instruments that they teach students to play. They were bouzouki, bagpipes, qanun - a kind of cymbal played with picks attached to the fingers, toubeleki – drum and lute. Everyone could then try to play the instrument they were most interested in.

The last game of the first day was Find Graffiti. Again we were divided into international teams but this time only with 6-8 members. We were given a map and photos of graffiti that we had to find and take pictures with.

Tuesday

Teaching in Komotini

5.4. we all met again in the sports hall. Each country had to present 1-3 traditional games that are popular in their county. Everyone had a lot of fun playing them. We then had a tour of the school, where we were given the opportunity to look into individual classes and were shown all the musical instruments that can be learned to play at this school. We also saw a performance by the local choir, with 3 traditional Greek songs. Finally, each country had a presentation on their customs and traditions regarding Easter.

Nemphea Fortress Military Museum

Since the museum is located in a military area, our visit had to be approved by the 39th Infantry Regiment. We were allowed to visit this military museum on the Dragati-Frouros hill and to walk through the underground tunnels in which the soldiers of the Greek Army hid during the Second World War.

14 officers and 364 soldiers were the only forces that resisted the attack of the entire 50th German Division with more than 1,000 aircraft.

Wednesday

International music

We started Wednesday with music. Each country performed a few of their popular and traditional songs and some even had a whole presentation. This was immediately followed by learning traditional dances. The Greeks and Romanians taught group dances, while the Germans and Czechs taught couple dances. The Romanian team even brought us a demonstration of traditional clothing, which is worn during celebrations where they dance and sing the songs they taught us.

History of Komotini

We went to the streets where we were introduced to the history of the town and its culture. We saw, for example, the ruins of the Komotina Castle or the museum of the history of Greek education. There are many different churches here, and the reason for this is that most of the inhabitants are religious

At the same time, it is a place of cultural contact, so there are not only Christians but also Jews and Muslims.

The evening program was a play called A Touch of Spice performed by Greek students.

Thursday

Trips

7.4. was a day mostly educational. We went to the city of Xanthi, visited the museum of archaeology, and walked through the area of Abdera, which is the birthplace of the philosopher Democritus. We saw the museum of ultramodern machines and the Porto Lagos lake. We had lunch together and continued to a village called Fanari, where two brave individuals from the Czech team even swam in the sea.

Friday

Closing ceremony

On the last day we had a farewell ceremony, during which we received certificates of participation in this great project. Then we went to support the local football team for a match, which didn't turn out as we would have liked, but that's okay. 

We ended the whole week with a dinner and dance night for the students.

9.4. in the morning we all said our goodbyes and headed back to our native countries.

GFP students are setting off to Greece