I wasn't really sure what to expect going to Sparta. If anything, the only appeal Sparta really had to me was 1- my elementary school mascot was the Sharp Park Spartan and
2- the movie 300, of course. when we were all asleep on the bus to Sparta, one of my professors woke us up yelling "THIS IS SPARTAAAA" as we got to the city.
The first and only site we had come to see was the Sanctuary of Artemis.
It was cool being there, knowing that it was the Sanctuary of Artemis,
but this is what it looked like:
We did hear a pretty cool story though. As you see in the movie 300, Spartan men are trained from a very young age to become hoplite warriors. When they were seven years old, they were taken from their homes and brought to a sort of "military" school where they were toughened up. Among the things they had to endure, they were only given one cloak/robe thing to wear all year, they were underfed so they would be "resourceful" and find/steal/kill their food, and they were forced to build their own beds.
There were also "athletic" competitions, one of which consisted of the boy being whipped. The longer he endured it without passing out or quitting, he was rewarded and given top honors in that category.
One of my professors, Professor Philips, told us that when he was in college and came to Sparta, he and his friend wondered what the flogging was like so they snuck into the Sanctuary of Artemis one night and whipped each other with tree branches.
I am not making this up.
After the Sanctuary we tried to go the Sparta Museum, but it was closed.
I saw this in a store I walked into :)
Taking advantage of the 300 publicity
While we were at the Sanctuary of Artemis, a man walked in our direction and our professors were concerned that the gypsy would bother us for money. Turns out the gypsy camp was right over there.
That night, two of my friends (Chris and Matt) decided that they wanted to find the gypsy camp. My other friends and I (Kacy and Danny) tried to tell them that gypsy are not really friendly. They aren't like Esmerelda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame- they try to find money and food anyway that they can- often in unfriendly ways. But they insisted on finding the camp so we went along with them.
We ended up in scary dark alleys, terrified (at least I was) that something horrible was going to happen. We somehow found the gypsy camp area but because Kacy, Danny and I refused to go with them, Chris and Matt said they would walk us back to the hotel and come back themselves later. While we were trying to find our way back, Kacy found a tractor parked on the side of the street and decided to get on it. As she's climbing up, we hear woman scream "GET OFF, GET OFF RIGHT NOW!!" so we all freak out and Matt yells, "RUNNNN!!" and everyone starts going but I yell "I CAN'TTT!!!" (because of the ACL) and luckily Chris comes back so I'm not abandoned, but that was not a happy moment in my life.
We finally make it back to a familiar spot, and get back to the hotel. And this photo, though slightlyveryreally vulgar, is how we found ourselves at the end of the night.