T-D’s Travels the Balkans: Adventure of a Lifetime


By: Taylor Marsico, Staff Reporter

Thornton-Donovan School leaves for its yearly trip April 20th. Unlike past years, the school is traveling to five different countries: Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, and Montenegro. This school year’s theme is Albania and the Balkans. We will be returning on May 7th making the trip a whole 17 days! Each day is packed with lot of activities so Thornton-Donovan students, teachers, and families will be very busy learning about Balkan culture and exploring its terrain.


After about a 10 hour flight from John F. Kennedy Airport, we will land in Athens, Greece on April 21st. Within the three days we are in Athens, the school will visit the Greek Capital, the Pan Athenian Stadium where the first modern-era Olympic games were held, and the Acropolis. Then we will spend time at the Castle in Ioannina, and on the way to Gjirokastra, Albania, the school will see the Blue Eye- a spring located on the western slopes of Mount Mali Gjerë. Arriving in Gjirokastra, we will explore to see why it is called “The Town of Stones” and later return to Saranda on April 25th.


In Saranda, the school will start a walking tour that reflects the ancient world of the area and continue the day with the Butrini Archaeological Site. On April 26th, we will head to Vlore and enjoy the Porto Palermo Castle. After spending a night in Fieri, the school will leave for rafting at the Skrapari Canyons.


On April 28th, we start our visit to Berat with another walking tour of the castle. Later, the school will visit the Onufri Museum, filled with famous Orthodox icons. The school will spend the following day in Ohrid, Macedonia touring its churches: St. Sophia, St. Bogorodica Perivlepta, St. Jovan Kaneo, and St. Pantelejmon.


On the 30th, the school will leave Macedonia and return to Albania in its capital, Tirana. There holds the Skanderbeg Statue, Et’hem Bey Mosque, Clocktower, and the National Historic Museum. Spending the next few days in Tirana, we will take the Datja Ekspres to a mountaintop, visit and meet the Tirana Young Citizen, visit Bunk’art, and take a trip to Kruja to go through the Ottoman bazaar, a historical museum dedicated to Skanderbeg, and an old house now a Ethnographic museum.


On May 4th, the school departs for Montenegro. There, we will go through its town of Kotor, listed as a “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site,” on a walking tour. We will spend the following day in Dubrovnik, Croatia, known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic” where we will visit the Old Harbor, Franciscan Monastery, and more. The next morning we will depart from Dubrovnik Airport.


Thornton-Donovan students, teachers, and families going on this trip will all learn something new and will come back a little different. Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, and Montenegro will enlighten us all. Five countries, unlimited culture, and compelling scenery make this expedition something you do not want to miss out on. This “Albanian Renaissance” trip is one Thornton-Donovan School will never forget.