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PCC Abroad Travels to Turkey and Greece

WINTERVILLE—Though somewhat dismayed by the cancelation of their original travel plans, a 14-member group participating in the PCC Abroad program this spring found consolation, instead, exploring the nations of Turkey and Greece.

The travelers, which included Pitt Community College faculty, students and retirees, along with members of the community and faculty from nearby Coastal Carolina Community College, were originally destined for Egypt last year but could not go due to political and civil unrest.

As a result, half of the original 28-member group elected to tour Turkey and Greece May 19-30. And the memories they took home were many, said PCC Abroad Coordinator Darlene Smith-Worthington.

“At the end of the tour, everyone agreed that since Egypt was not possible, the group had made the best possible decision,” she said. “They were amazed and delighted by their experiences in Turkey and Greece.”

Smith-Worthington said highlights from Turkey included stops at Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, Hippodrome and Topkapi Palace, a walk through ancient Troy, and a visit to Gallipoli, site of an important World War I victory for the Ottoman Empire. She said the group also toured Pergamon—home to an ancient Greek library—and Ephesus, where they visited the Temple of Hadrian and the house of Virgin Mary.

In Greece, Smith-Worthington said the travelers visited the Holy Grotto of the Revelation—a cave on Patmos Island where many believe St. John wrote the Book of Revelation. They also visited Santorini Island, where, she said, many of the group members climbed an active volcano before swimming in a nearby spring warmed by it.

The tour ended with sightseeing in Athens. “We visited all of the amazing historical sites of the area, including the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Plaka District,” Smith-Worthington said. “Some members of our group also opted to drive to Delphi, in the mountains, to see the Temple of Apollo and the Great Oracle.”

Leading up to their trip, Smith-Worthington said group members met several times to prepare for their overseas journey by discussing everything from history and culture to regional politics and currency.

Charles Saunders, a PCC instructor who provided a lecture and video on important elements of history for the sites to be visited, said one of the more memorable aspects of the trip was hearing the call to prayer in Istanbul.

“In the morning, just before the sun rose, the call could be heard in the distance as a faint lyrical chant,” Smith-Worthington explained. “As the sun climbed and speakers from more mosques joined in, the sound became louder and clearer. Then, the sound would diminish in the same way as time passed, and the call ended for some and moved on for others.”

Smith-Worthington said that later this month, 10 International Education Travel Scholarship students from PCC will participate in study-travel to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, from July 26 to Aug. 9.