Students will be housed in the schools of the village of Narthaki, a small but very hospitable village. The mayor of Pharsala, under which Narthaki resides, has offered us the local schools and the building of the soccer team. The school has three large rooms, which will be used as dormitories. There are (new) hot showers and washrooms. The beds are comfy and sheets will be provided. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. We have also rented several houses in the village, which will be used as headquarters.
A healthy and nutritious breakfast, lunch and supper will be provided Monday through Saturday. Dinner takes place at the Taverna of the Papadopoulos family. Ms. Evangelia cooks us a wonderful meal; much of the food is organic and derives from the local farmers. Snacks, coffee and fruit will be taken to the field. Sunday meals are at the student's discretion. Please indicate on the application form if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions.
We work on Saturday, but will leave work early. You will have the rest of Saturday off, though we will meet for dinner in the evening. On Sundays we will leave around 9AM for an excursion to an archaeological site which will always end at one of the beaches at the Pagasitic Gulf.
Participants should be prepared to work hard physically as part of the field school. As you will be involved in a lot of walking, measuring and drawing, often in hot weather conditions, every participant should be healthy and reasonably fit. July and August are hot months in Greece, though temperatures might vary considerably - typically July highs range between 28° C and 34° C. Because Narthaki is located in the hills, evenings will be cooler with lows between 23° C and 28° C. Protection from the sun is essential at all times, by using sun block and covering your head (with a hat or headscarf), wearing sufficient clothing (long trousers and T-shirts), and drinking a lot of water throughout the day.
We will start the day with breakfast at 6AM and start work at 7AM. We will work until 1:30 PM and drive back to the village where we will have lunch. There is siesta until 5PM when we will be working on processing artefacts, receiving instruction, working on documentation and journals until 7PM. Dinner is at 8:30 PM.
Health Care and Insurance
Medical help is available in case of emergencies: Pharsala has a very helpful medical centre with which we are familiar. Larissa has a university hospital. Narthaki has a pharmacy.
You will be asked to provide information about any medical conditions when you register. You will also be asked to sign a University of Alberta liability waiver. The project director has a First Aid certificate. It is mandatory to have a health care coverage that includes foreign travel. In general, extra coverage is strongly recommended as provincial plans are unlikely to be adequate. Please bring necessary medication, preferably in your hand luggage. An up to date tetanus shot is mandatory for our fieldwork season. In Thessaly tap water is safe to drink.
Money, Credit Cards and Bank Cards
The local currency is the Euro, worth about $1.40 Canadian.
It is of course possible to purchase Euros in Canada, but you are not allowed to bring too much currency into the country. It is best to use your card (credit or debit) at an ATM, available in all larger towns in Greece. The best ones to use are: Ethniki Trapeza (National bank of Greece) or Alpha Bank, Euro Bank.
Since 2018, you can pay with credit card many businesses and shops in Greece. Notify you bank prior to departure, however, otherwise they may not work, or you can only obtain a limited amount of cash. Do NOT bring Traveller’s Cheques; it will take forever to exchange them for cash.
A money belt or neck pouch for your money, cards and travel documents is highly recommended.
As a Canadian citizen you need a valid passport. If you plan to travel in Europe, keep in mind that the maximum stay is 3 months. No visas are necessary for Canadian citizens. Students who are citizens in other countries with Students Permits or Permanent Residents need to check their options. Please make sure that your passport (and visa) is valid for the entire duration of your travels.
Purchase an adequate travel insurance and make sure that your health insurance covers foreign travel. You will have to make your own travel arrangements for travel to and from Greece. For those flying from North America you will have to change flights in Europe. Check the internet for special offers of Air Canada and KLM/Delta. Often, London is a good place to change planes. You can take a cheap flight to London (Air Transat, for instance) and then take an Easyjet or Virgin Express flight to Athens.
You need to travel from Athens to Thessaly by train. Tickets are available online or at railway station Larissis (in Athens). You need to travel to Paleapharsala/Stavros in Thessaly (Thessalia). The tickets (one way) cost about $35. We will pick you up and bring you back to the station.
We will give instructions how to organize buying tickets together during one of the information sessions.
All UofA students need to register at the UAlberta Travel Registration prior to departure: https://internal.international.ualberta.ca/studyabroad/main/WorkTravelPortal.asp
Clothing and things to bring
Temperatures in July and August in Thessaly can vary but count on at least a few hot summer days and nights.
Bring adequate clothing both for working and off-site time. The landscape is covered with shrubs and there is some interesting wildlife. Working clothes should therefore consist of long pants, strong light-weight boots, a t-shirt and a sweater. Something to cover your head is essential to protect you from the sun.
Bring some clothes that you can wear in the evening in the taverna, or when we visit museums etc. It is important to have a small rucksack to bring to the site everyday to store personal items, sunblock, water etc.
It is advisable to display our Canadian identity. Buy a sticker with the maple leaf and stick it on your rucksack.
Things to bring:
Clothing (for work: long pants! and evening/weekends)
Strong hiking boots
Light Sleeping bag
Canteen or thermos for water
Sun block factor 35 minimum
Small notebook (moleskin or other)
University of Alberta site notebook (Physics notebook) serving as a journal
Phone/alarm, plus charger
European outlet adapter
Medication (Tylenol, Immodium, electrolytes for hydration etc.)
Black ball point pens