Itinerary — Greece and Turkey

Day-by-Day on our Greece and Turkey Journey:

greece.itinerary.2015.d

Day 1 – Tuesday, April 14 – Depart USA

Today we depart on our overnight flight to Athens.  Dinner and breakfast will be served on board the plane. (B, D)

Day 2 – Wednesday, April 15 – Arrive Athens

Arrive in Athens and settle into our hotel. Enjoy afternoon at leisure and become acclimated to a new time zone. Tonight we have a welcome dinner in the Plaka – old town section of Athens with traditional Greek music and dancing. (Special Dinner)

Day 3 – Thursday, April 16 – Athens (City Tour), Ancient Corinth, Athens

We will travel along the picturesque Corinthian Gulf via its historic Canal to Ancient Corinth.  This is the once glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year and a half working and preaching the Gospel.  We visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio accused by the Jews of Corinth. We then drive to Cenchreae, the little harbor from where Paul sailed back to Asia, thus ending his second missionary journey.  Admire the architectural miracles of ancient Athens in the afternoon as we go to the Acropolis, to see the Propylea, the Erectheum and the Parthenon.  Visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his ingenious speech on the “Unknown God.” View the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. During the bus tour, we see Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the Neoclassical Building of Athens.  Back to Athens for a night of well-deserved rest. (B, D)

Day 4 – Friday, April 17 – Start 3-Day Cruise from Athens with first port stop in Mykonos

Leisurely breakfast at our hotel.  Mid-morning, we head to Piraeus in time for the 11:00 am boarding of our cruise ship at the Piraeus Harbor.  We begin our 3 day cruise arriving first at the Aegean island of Mykonos.  Beneath the sophisticated surface of Mykonos lies a quintessential Greek island. Hundreds of tiny chapels dot the island and sheep graze in the shadow of white-washed windmills.  Enjoy lunch, dinner, and overnight aboard the cruise ship. (B, L, D)

Day 5 – Saturday, April 18 – Kusadasi – Patmos

Arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey.  Today we tour Ephesus, the best preserved of the original Seven Churches of Revelation.  Visit the ancient city with its impressive temples, marble streets, library, agoras, baths, and a theater that seats 24,000 people.  It was in this theater that riots against Paul took place.  We also visit the House of the Virgin Mary where John brought Mary after the death of Christ.  A small house was built for her on Bulbuldagi (Mt. Nightingale) where she spent the last days of her life.  We will visit the beautiful chapel called Panaya Kapula, also known as “The House of the Virgin Mary,” built on the mount Setimisses.  This afternoon, sail to Patmos.  This island is known as the site of the Revelation written here during John’s exile by the roman authorities.  The cave where he lived is near the site of the Monastery of the Apocalypse.  The Monastery is built on one of the island’s highest points, houses priceless icons and manuscripts in its treasury.  Enjoy three meals and overnight aboard the cruise ship. (B, L, D)

Day 6 – Sunday, April 19 – Ayios Nicolos (Crete) – Santorini

Morning arrival at Heraklion, the capital of Crete and its principal commercial port, then travel to the nearby fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos.  Discovered in 1899 by Sir Arthur Evans and partially reconstructed, the elaborate palace is believed to be the mythical labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture.  The archaeological Museum in Heraklion displays many of the treasures found during the excavations.  This afternoon sail to Santorini, which many believe to be the site of the lost city of Atlantis.  Take a cable car to the cliff top village for a splendid panoramic view- or if you prefer, take a donkey ride up the zigzag path to the village!  Enjoy three meals and overnight aboard the cruise ship. (B, L, D)

Day 7 – Monday, April 20 – Athens, Delphi, Thermopylae – Kalambaka

We disembark this morning in the port of Piraeus and start our tour of Greece with the drive from Athens to Kalambaka in the heart of Greece. Travel to scenic Delphi, one of the most beautiful places on earth, which in antiquity was believed to be the “navel” (omphalos) of the world.  Walk on the Sacred Way to see the Athenian Treasury, the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle delivered her ambiguous prophecies and the theater.  Continue our way to view the famous Thermopylae pass, the beautiful Valley of Tembi, the legendary mountain Olympus and the byzantine Castle of Platamonas.  Overnight in Kalambaka. (B, D)

Day 8 – Tuesday, April 21 – Meteora, Kalambaka, Veria, Thessaloniki

We begin our morning visiting one of the amazing Byzantine monasteries of Meteora, perched on top of gigantic rock pinnacles. Then we drive to Veria, where we visit the Bema, a monument to Paul’s ministry, and finally to Thessaloniki to see the landmark of the city, the White Tower, the Walls of the Byzantine Acropolis, the Roman Arch of Galerius and the Rotonda.  Visit two of the city’s oldest and most admired Christian churches, the Basilicas of St Demetrius and St. Sophia (Divine Wisdom).  Overnight in Thessaloniki. (B, D)

Day 9 – Wednesday, April 22 – Thessaloniki, Amphipolis, Phillipi

Follow the route of the Via Egnatia and visit, like Paul and his companion, the area of Amphipolis to see the famous funerary Lion of Amphipolis and the site of Philippi.  There we visit the Baptistery of Lydia near the river where Paul baptized Lydia.  She was the first convert of Paul on European soil.  Also visit the ruins of the Forum of Philippi, the Christian Basilicas, “Prison of Paul” and the Theater.  Drive to Kavala (Neapolis) a picturesque port and see the Byzantine Castle and the Roman Aqueduct.  Overnight in Alexandroupoli.   (B, D)

Day 10 – Thursday, April 23 – Thessaloniki, Greece/Turkey border crossing, Gallipoli/Troy, Istanbul

We have some time this morning in Thessaloniki before we depart for Turkey.  We cross the border and visit Troy, known for the legend of the Trojan Horse and Helen of Troy.  Upon arrival in Istanbul, we settle into our hotel and have time to explore the city on our own or shop the Spice Bazaar.  Overnight in Istanbul. (B, D)

Day 11 – Friday, April 24 – Istanbul

Today we visit the magnificent Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia’s Basilica) built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century.  It is one of the world’s greatest architectural marvels.  Then visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, the center of Byzantine life for 1000 years, where chariot races and competitive athletic events took place.  We also see Chora Church followed by shopping in the Grand Bazaar.  Tonight we have a farewell dinner in a local restaurant with traditional food and choice of beverages.  Overnight in Istanbul. (B, Special Dinner)

Day 12 – Saturday, April 25 – Return to USA

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then off to the airport for our return home. (B)

 

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  1. Mary Nelle Cummins

    It’s been wonderful to experience some of what all of you have enjoyed through the pictures and daily writings.
    Thanks so much and safe travel for all.
    Mary Nelle

  2. Marcia Carrithers

    We so appreciate the efforts and study of those making the trip possible.
    Thanks so much! Dan and Mar Carrithers

  3. Bettina, friendly reminder of my thimble collection if you find any in your many stops. Love seeing the updates.

    Thanks,
    Teresa

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