Purchase an adequate travel insurance.
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/Northwest and British Airways. Often, London is a good place to change planes. You can take a cheap flight to London and then take an Easyjet flight to Athens. To book flights on the latter, you must visit their websites directly, because they don not sell tickets through travel agents.
For those of you coming from Italy it is best to take the boat from Ancona (Superfast or Minoan) to Igoumenitsa or Patras.
The best way to travel from Athens to Thessaly is by train. We will all meet up in Athens prior to our trip to the North on Friday evening May 20th and have a meal together, touch base and plan our trip the next morning. The Kallithea 2016 Facebook page will give you directions as to where we are going to meet. Some of us can travel with me with the van and car, while others will have to go by train. I’ll make a proposition which we can discuss. In any case, if you need to reach me in Athens, I have a mobile phone: tel (##-30-)697-6200539).
Travel registration at the UofA
All UofA students need to register at the UAlberta Travel Registration prior to departure: https://internal.international.ualberta.ca/studyabroad/main/WorkTravelPortal.asp
You need a valid passport. No visas are necessary. Please make sure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your travels.
You will be asked to provide information about any medical conditions when you register. You will also be asked to sign a liability waiver at the introductory meeting which is scheduled to take place in April at Dr. Haagsma’s house in Edmonton.
Good health care is available in Pharsala and Larissa. The private hospitals are very expensive. Check your health care coverage to see if additional insurance is required. In general, some extra coverage is strongly recommended as provincial plans are unlikely to be adequate.
Bring some basic medications: tylenol, advil, bandaid, sunblock etc. Bring a mosquito net too.
Shots are not essential for travel in Greece. However an up to date tetanus shot is mandatory for our fieldwork season.
In Thessaly tap water is safe to drink.
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 easier 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 Emporiki Trapeza. Do NOT bring Traveller’s Cheques; it will take forever to exchange them for cash. A money belt or neck pouch for your money and travel documents is highly recommended.
Narthaki is 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, two of which will be used as dormitories. There are showers and washrooms. We have also rented several houses in the village, which will be used as headquarters.
Living conditions will be reasonable but certainly not luxurious. We will have hot water, but be prepared to sleep on mattresses on army bunk beds! You will be asked to help out with chores, such as preparing lunch, cleaning up and assist with shopping. We will have dinner at the local Taverna in Narthaki where Ms. Evanggelia will make us a nutritious meal consisting of tradtional Greek food such as chicken with cinnamon, organically grown vegetables, lentil soup and so on. Breakfast and lunch will be provided by Ms. Eleni, the local baker. You will have to do your own laundry by hand.
The village has two taverna’s a kafeneion, a bakery and one convenience store. You will be able to visit Pharsala once a week to do some shopping. Wireless internet is available in the village.
Clothing and Things to Bring
Temperatures in June and July in Thessaly can vary. During the day it is ca. 25-30 C or higher, but it can still get cold during the night. This is also the time of the year that it often rains in the afternoons. In July the temperatures are often higher and the mercury can hit 45 C.
Bring adequate clothing both for working and off-site time. Cataloguing work is dirty work! So, bring old clothes. We will go on excursions too, so bring 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 usually handy to have a small backpack to bring to the site every day 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 backpack.
Narthaki and other places in Thessaly are very safe, but you will have to take care during your stay in Athens. Four years ago, one of our students was robbed of his laptop by a taxi driver, who drove off without unloading his computer. Be very wary of Athenian taxi drivers! If you need to take a taxi, be sure that the driver turns on his meter (this is important!). Lately, there is a flat fee for a drive from the airport to the city: 35 Euros.
Also: do not leave any valuables in your hotel room during your brief stay in Athens. Always carry your valuables on you, preferably in a pouch under your clothing.
A number of fieldtrips will be part of the course. The excursions will be organised in the weekends, especially on Sundays. Transport will be by car and van, both of which are rented and included in the fees. There are many interesting sites and museums in the neighbourhood and we might visit one or more of the following: the archaeological museum of Almiros, the museum at Volos, the Museum at Larissa; the sites of Halos and Demetrias (Hellenistic); Nea Anchialos (Early Byzantine); Phylake, Pefkakia Magoula, Sesklo and Dimini (prehistoric settlements); Pharsala (archaic tholos tomb and the area of the Battle between Caesar and Pompey (48 BCE), and the hills of the battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BCE).
Canadian Institute in Greece
With this application, you will have to hand in two recent passport photographs and a cheque of $25 to pay for the membership of The Canadian Institute in Athens. In return you will receive free entrance passes for all sites in Greece and national museums (valid for one year)!
If you wish to buy a guide: the lonely planet guides are good, but the Blue Guide remains the bible for all travellers in Greece.