We trust you have all enjoyed a much needed and well-deserved respite in this glorious weather.
So? How did it go? Bar BA and Heathrow – fabulous! Largely because of an amazing support team in Greece and Italy and outstanding UK Legates; Pro-Praetor and Pro-Consul – Claudia and Vishal.
I think so much would have been harder and less amazing without you keeping me on straight and narrow
The team were amazing. If I had any emergency my end they were there in an instant.
Thanks to Vishal and Claudia for sorting the insurance and paperwork
All the Hellene staff should be patting themselves on the back! THANK YOU!
Strictly speaking, these were not our first trips, as we had already prepared a few UK Day Trips, BM and the like, which slowly integrated us back into the working reality after an almost two-year hiatus. They went well.
Outstanding support from start to finish. Nice and easy and help provided if needed, by return email.
Super support by both Sarah Thomason and Claudia Willocks.
Greece and Italy however, were a totally different kettle of fish; not least because of ever changing C-19 R&Rs both here and abroad, rising flight prices and nervous SLTs.
Having already visited both Athens and Rome, we did have a good feel for Hotels, Sites, Museums, Restaurants, Airports and C-19 protocols.
In this, our first proper season, we sent Schools to both Greece and Rome, including a 10 Day University Trip, an Athens Inspection visit and reunited old friends……. Did see Schliemann’s tomb which was awesome, said hello.
Feedback has been good:
Genuinely one of my favourite trips ever – from a teacher who has been on MANY Classics trips.
SLT Head of trips and cocurricular branded it the most educational, fun, well organised and best value for money trip he has ever been on!
Personal enthusiasm for Classics from the company personnel and a willingness to suffer silly questions from me. Keeping costs down is obviously always important to get pupils to come.
Hello from ancient Corinth, on the last day of Study Tour 2022, yesterday! What an amazing ten days we’ve had! Heartfelt thanks to @Sarah404BC for all the organisation, and @BSAthens for organising our permits and site admissions- we can’t wait to do it all again in 2023!
The four superstars of these last few weeks have been:
i – Sabrina and Loredana in Rome for shadowing the whole tour personally, phoning ahead to all venues to ratify the ever changing, seemingly contradictory, local COVID rules, organising tiramisu and champagne for a Staff Birthday and rearranging an Itinerary at short notice when Museums suddenly altered opening hours and in one instance, reverting to Monday closing!
Glad to hear Sabrina and Loredana were pleased with how it went. They were certainly hugely helpful throughout.
ii – Argive coach driver Dimitri and his fleet garnering exceptional praise once more
We really liked Dimitri of Argos, who taught us lots about fruit trees and non-existent roundabouts as we travelled along
Our driver Zaxarias was outstanding. So easy going, gave oranges from his dad’s farm to everyone. Looked out for pupils. Coach was modern, clean and well maintained.
Dimitris Schizas is absolutely second to none: he was so proactive and so on top of whom to ring & when. His recommendations have proved tip top.
iii – Tony’s unsolicited meeting of Inspection Tour Teachers at Athens Airport and transferring them to their Hotel……..and arranging a taxi back to the airport via Sounion!
iv – The British School at Athens for their assistance in gaining pupil access to the Plataean Toumba at Marathon. Yes, we got into the Plataean tomb – struggled to see the arrowhead in the spine; the lighting could be better!
What have we learned?
i – BA and Heathrow were a disaster. easyJet and Gatwick fared far better with barely any delays nor last minute schedule changes.
ii – No longer is it possible to arrange separate Airport Check In desks for School Groups.
iii – Italian Museums can change their opening hours at short notice!
iv – No longer can requested Museum entry time slots be guaranteed; Rome or Athens. Nothing was insurmountable and no one missed anything, but lunch times were very much a moveable feast!
v – Post Brexit Entry fees in Greece are applied arbitrarily!
One school was thrilled not be to charged anything at Olympia and only €3 for Teachers at Elefsina. Another school was charged at Olympia but gained free entrance at Kerameikos, National Archaeological Museum, Temple of Egyptian gods (I think the lady was so startled that so many had turned up there!),Tiryns, Acrocorinth and Corinth (also deserves a shout for having very civilised staff in the museum)
vi – Whispering Guide Headsets worked far better in Italy than Greece (indeed we refunded one group) where their use is not strictly enforced. However, Greek law states mandatory use for Guiding, so we cannot second guess the amenability of Guardians.
Good to have money back on those, and I have mentioned that they did not really seem necessary – though I appreciate that with a different set of custodians and later in the season it might be different.
vii – Whistles are still alive and well at Epidavros and the Guardians as grumpy as ever!
viii – We are fully aware of the need to clarify room allocations and other documentation far earlier!
I would have appreciated the final documents earlier than the week of departure, as it is a particularly busy week, and the arrangements for permits were a little uncertain through no fault of Hellene
ix – Earlier Invoice reminders are now in place! Not all Bursars understand the urgency of payment deadlines.
x – Italian venues are issuing booking references and time slots at incredibly short notice. We trust this will slowly improve as C-19 restrictions lift, but there is little we can do – please accept our apologies in advance.
xi – There’s a new walkway at Tiryns!
Tiryns is much nicer now you can go out of the postern gate and along the walls at the front
xii – Some Staff and School Emergency contacts neglected to switch on their mobiles. Tut! Tut! But they did ‘phone back, so all was well.
xiii – Teaching Staff continue to be utterly amazing and the enthusiasm of pupils and staff alike remains undimmed.
The students were buzzing with excitement, and I’ve had lots of nice comments through from their parents already
This was an excellent tour which ran extremely smoothly and was hugely appreciated by all (I have received more thank-you emails from parents than ever before!)
Thank you so much for everything you’ve done to make this a memorable trip – our school’s first international outing of any sort since February 2020. The feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive, despite the sleepless nights and footsore children. I’m very grateful.
xiv – School Trips are still exhausting!
30,000 steps today, so I’ve been informed!
We have had an excellent tour and are looking forward already to planning next year! Will do your feedback form when recovered a bit.
The general fatigue of the trip has slowed me down by a couple of days. I’ll finish the feedback form soon, but it’s taking me a while to do much at all!
xv – Thank you for being fabulous ambassadors – We received gifts for Easter and thanks in writing from the teachers and students
Belated Western Easter Greetings and Καλο Πασχα!
Sarah, John and the Hellene Team