In late May of this year, Woodbridge High School visited Loutraki Sportcamp on their Sports Tour to Greece. Located 1 hour and 30 minutes from Athens and only 20 minutes from Corinth, Loutraki Sportcamp promises a unique sporting experience for pupils of all abilities. Offering competitive fixtures, tournaments, training and introductory sessions to new sports, with the team staying, playing, dining and competing together on-site – Loutraki Sportcamp is a truly unique destination.
Lucky enough to share the experience with them was Rayburn Ski & Sports Tours Consultant, Laura, who has penned down her highlights, along with her favourite pictures. Here goes…
Day 1 – Our first taste of Greece
It’s time to jet off to Greece, with a very early start to meet the group at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. A speedy check in with BA meant we had plenty of time to pick up some breakfast before boarding the flight – result!
Once in the air we were treated to breakfast number two, before the group and I had a little snooze to catch up on some much needed sleep ahead of our early afternoon arrival into Athens. Arrival in Greece was smooth and we quickly boarded the air conditioned bus to take us the 1hr 30 mins transfer to SportCamp in Loutraki.
Upon arrival at SportCamp everybody got the first glimpse of the extensive sporting facilities, with longing looks at the pool as we passed by on the way up to the rooms. Once everyone was in and settled, we headed for lunch to gain the strength for the afternoon training sessions. This was a great chance to acclimatise to the heat and get the teams ready for their first fixture!
After training, we ate dinner and then decided an early night was very much needed to make sure the guys were ready for game day number one tomorrow.
Day 2 – Sun, sea, sand and sports
After breakfast we boarded the coach for a short photo opportunity at the Corinth Canal, followed by a visit to Corinth City Centre for some shopping. Next up on the agenda was Loutraki’s beautiful pebbled beach –the best place for an ice cream and a dip in the sea.
The promenade which stretches above the beach is over a kilometre of pizzerias, shops and ice cream parlours – believe me when I say we could have stayed for hours. However our minds were now solely focused on heading back to SportCamp to prepare for the evening fixture.
The football fixture was very evenly matched and the players managed well with the heat and the enthusiastic locals! The netballers joined forces with the locals to battle it out in the heat and some great netball skills were shown by the touring team. Both fixtures were great to watch as a fan on the side-lines.
We finished off the day with dinner and then a sports quiz in the dance studio, sending the students to bed very tired, but ready and waiting for more!
Day 3 – Athens awaits
It was day 3 of the tour and a very early start for the students as the teachers took them on a team run around SportCamp at 7am! Well, this is a sports tour after all!
Today was our pre-planned Athens day, with our first stop being the Olympic Park. Here we visited the Olympic Stadium, had a quick photo on the race track, then moved over to the Basketball arena, now home to Panathinaikos BC (8 times champions of HEBA).
A short walk across the Olympic park led us to the swimming arena where a children’s gala was being held – plenty of music, inflatable palm trees and lots of laughter!
After the swimming gala we boarded the bus for the short journey to The Mall of Athens, this offered a respite from the heat and a chance to shop across three stories of mall. It was fair to say that KFC did a roaring trade that lunch time!
Next on the agenda was a journey to the iconic Acropolis. Thankfully the clouds obscured the sun for just long enough for us to climb up to the top of the hill for a chance to explore the Parthenon and see some amazing panoramas over Athens – it’s a sight which has to be seen to be believed.
The final stop of the day was at the Panathenaic Stadium, the host stadium for the first modern Olympics in 1896. Following an impromptu ‘Zorba the Greek’ dance performance from some locals we boarded the bus for the return journey to SportCamp. Dinner and bed were greatly received after such a packed day – but unforgettable day.
Day 4 – A spot of rest and relaxation
Another early start with a team run to start the day! Everyone was really looking forward to today, as we were heading to Heraion Lake! This salt water sea-fed lake is a beautiful place to spend the day. Everyone found themselves a sun lounger within seconds and settled in for a day of R&R. After swimming and sunbathing all morning, we made our way onto the restaurant decking for a delicious lunch of chicken kebabs, salad, chips and pita overlooking the lake. With another hour at the lake after lunch, everyone located themselves back onto their sun loungers with a few heading into the lake for a final swim before returning to SportCamp.
In the afternoon, the girls had a chance to experience the healing thermal spa waters of Loutraki. They had a great time floating around in the massaging waters in the two indoor pools and the large outdoor pool. Nobody wanted to leave!
Arriving back at Sportcamp we had another swim (SportCamp’s swimming pool is a very firm favourite with groups!) before preparing for the evening fixtures. The local football teams brought along their most passionate fans for these final tour matches and the boys did well to keep their cool, playing incredibly well. As the girls were not back in action until the last day of tour they had a very hot training session in the sports hall and then came down to the 3G pitch to watch the sun set and cheer on their class mates.
Dinner this evening was followed by watching the football on the big screen – perfection!
Day 5 – ‘A great performance to end a great couple of days’
The last day of the tour arrived hot and with clear blue skies. A morning of swimming and packing preceded a beach football tournament for the boys and the final tour fixtures for the netballers of the group.
The Woodbridge girls made their way to the sports hall to start warming up, something which happens quickly in Greece at one o’clock in the afternoon! The local girls arrived, enthusiastic and ready to go. The games were very athletic with some incredible shooting and movement from the Woodbridge girls – despite the heat. A great performance to end a great couple of days.
We made our way to the airport, had a great flight home with BA and everyone made it through into arrivals, onto the coach and home for some well-deserved rest.
Thank you for an awesome tour Woodbridge High School, it was a pleasure to share your sports tour experience with you all!