Hellene Travel Newsletter | How Cruel the Gods?! Celebrate Hellene Travel 21st Anniversary with Cancellations, Lockdowns, Working from home, Distance Teaching, Digital Resources & Lesson ideas, preparing, sharing and support.

Laugh in the face of adversity, do not despair – we’ll be fine. We are Classicists, we are polymaths, we teach despair and how to survive it, ‘wisdom through suffering’ and all that. 

Now let’s practice what we preach; our subject has always survived and so will we.

“We’ve been preparing our whole lives. Not only is classical history and literature full of exile and redemption, ingenuity in crisis, proof that our minds are all the empire we need, and we’re all citizens of one universal republic. All this time, we’ve been cultivating the mental skills we need to endure this novel pandemic through our shared exile from the past. What is classics, after all, if not a battle of wills against distance and disaster?

The hope that from (shared) suffering comes knowledge?” (Classics in a Time of QuarantineEIDOLION)

1 – This is not the ‘End of Civilisation’ as we know it, no matter the dire predictions of the Gloom & Doom Merchants.

Yes, there are Strange Days Among the Ruins and like Lucretius we may worry that fears of death lead to irrational beliefs and actions that could harm society but we are not living in Plague ridden Athens as described by Thucydidesalthough there are always lessons to be learned.

There’s always something in the Classics News to make us laugh.

Did you hear about the Tourist who thought the City of Rome was actually an Amusement Park“I am not staying in a hotel inside the park. I am outside, in the Sheraton,” she explains. “Do you know at what time Rome closes?” 

Perhaps you missed the report about the hapless forger“Right… I’m not an expert but does it say ‘RIP’ on the top of that cross? And does the other one say…Deidre?”

There are uplifting tales too – pollution is decreasing, the skies are blue, the birdsong is louder, Venice’s Canals run clear and apparently swans and dolphins have returned.

Despite being in lockdown Italians are keeping each other company by singing, dancing and playing music from the balconies.

Check out this video montage of Italians all signing together during the Lockdown 

There’s even an official Top Five Chart of Balcony Hits!

The Olympic Flame lighting ceremony still went ahead in Greece, albeit without spectators  fearing the end to be nigh one man returned a stolen 2,000-year-old ballista in Israel and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. coronavirus point man who helped save the world from AIDS praises Classics “I still am very interested in the classics. They were a very important part of my education”. 

Even the Dogs in Pompeii are being cared for “This is Nerina, she is a senior and a long-time resident at Pompeii. She is staying home.” 

2 – Now to work from home and teach remotely

i – Dr Cora Beth Welcomes you to the wonderful world of Working From Home 

ii – Tony Keen advises on suddenly switching to online teaching

iii – Amy Pistone writes about Resources for Teaching Remotely 

I made a blog post to consolidate all the links I’ve been reading about transitioning to online ed. This is going to be a work in progress but I wanted to have somewhere to put all the great posts and suggestions” 

iv – If it all becomes a bit too much, enjoy this hilarious YouTube clip of an Israeli Mum pulling her hair out whilst trying to deal with homeschooling.

If Corona doesn’t kill us, Distance Learning will

At least the Parents will begin to appreciate Teachers more!

v – We all know a Healthy Mind relies on a Healthy Body, so thanks to @AncientBlogger for the “Home workout with a Roman twist.
The lorica certainly makes it tougher.”

* Lorica Lunge * Milvian Bridge * Legate Raises * Segmentata Squat

3 – Universities, Academic Establishments, Archaeologists, Research Departments, Museums, Publishers and Teachers ALL are pulling together, preparing and sharing so generously as they always have done.

i – Do check Facebook Greek, Latin, OCR support Groups.

ii – ALWAYS Check in with Stephen Jenkin at the Classics Library

“I will do what I can. Added about 60 resources today and will keep adding as long as members share. Thanks so much to everyone. Use the discussion groups to keep in touch with colleagues and get email updates. No one is alone!”

iii – There’s also a HUGE selection of online resources available, I’m only scratching the surface here – 

A – Museums & VR Tours

B – Universities, Academic Institutions, Archaeological Schools, Ancient Encyclopaedia Resources, JSTOR, Massolit and Teaching Bundles

C – By Teachers for Teachers – OCR, Andy Keen, Mr Classics, Laura Jenkinson-Brown, Anna J McOmish & Warwick Ancient History & more!

4 – More General Teaching Ideas and Resources

5 – Archaeological Travel, Trips and Excursions ……… for when we are free again.

I – Turkey and Armenia

II – Russia, Balkans and Illyria

III – Italy (Exhibitions by remote, Rome and Environs, Italian Mainland and Sicily)

IV – Israel, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon

V – Iberia

VI – Britannia

VII – Gaul and Netherlands

VIII – Mauretania and Africa Proconsularis

IX – Greece (Exhibitions by remote, Athens and environs, Greek Mainland, Crete and islands)

6 – Hellene Travel 21st Anniversary Celebrations and Customer Care

We created Hellene in 1999 and sent our first Schools to Greece (all three of them!) in 2000. This News Letter should have contained Anniversary Celebration plans; a subsidised Teachers Trip, Competitions, Lectures, Gifts……but it’s not to be. Instead, all trips are cancelled and Staff are in tears, not simply because all the hard work appears to be for nought but because customers have been so supportive!  

Just as you are supporting your pupils and they, you (this beautiful gift of art from Bolton School Girls Division is a case in point), we support you, you, us and by extension, we all support friends and business partners abroad.

I am still super emotional, silly I know!! All our hard work for the past year is disappearing in front of me… all the stress in maintaining the margin to keep our customers happy, the rewarding bit of getting them there and back the best bit of what we do…all gone. I care too much…”

Such comments from Hellene Staff are matched by supportive messages from Hellene Clients; of which herewith a sample –

 “Thank you for all at this difficult time. Your provision of timely information and manner of handling has re-enforced our already high opinion of Hellene. Please ensure your management are aware of this”

“Sorry, know this must be having such an impact on you all too. You have been so good and helpful”

“Rest assured that we have always used Hellene Travel for Italy and Greece and would not go elsewhere. You offer schools a fine service and we will be in touch to run a trip next year instead”

Please keep those messages and enquiries coming! It’s equally uplifting for us and our friends in the Travel Sector abroad.

Finally, do remember –

Best Wishes,

Sarah and John and the Hellene Team – Home and Away