12 Days of Greek Travel
Tour members depart from Los Angeles. Sit back and relax, enjoy the on-board entertainment as we prepare for this most exciting trip, walking where Paul walked. After a brief touchdown and change of planes, we depart for modern Athens. Today, we arrive in Athens, where we will be met by our representative and transferred to our hotel for dinner and overnight. If time permits, we will have a short Athens orientation tour of the city. Dinner and overnight will be in Athens. Today, we start our trip to Ancient Corinth, the once glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year-and-a-half 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. Then, we continue to Ancient Olympia which was a major Panhellenic religious sanctuary of ancient Greece where the ancient Olympic Games were held. The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout classical antiquity from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. The archaeological site held over 70 significant buildings, and ruins of many of these survive, although the main Temple of Zeus survives only as stones on the ground. Dinner and overnight are in Olympia.
Visiting the Monasteries of Meteora
Today, we leave for central Greece, and on the way to Meteora, we visit Delphi. For the ancient Greeks, Delphi was labeled the “omphalos” (navel) of the earth, and it is here that the eternal flame burned in the Temple of Apollo. Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world. It was also here beginning in 586 B.C. that athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the precursors to the modern Olympics. On our way up to Delphi, we will have time to stop and enjoy the small scenic villages that cling to the mountainsides. We enjoy dinner and spend the night in Kalambaka. After breakfast, we visit the breathtaking Monasteries of Meteora. Ageless monasteries stand amid striking scenery perched atop huge rocks, which seem to be suspended in mid-air. We can also see exquisite specimens of Byzantine art. We then drive to Berea to see the synagogue (evidence of Jewish presence (Act 17:11) and the stream below. After our stop in Berea, we pass by the area of King Philip’s (Alexander the Great’s father) tomb in Vergina, with travel commentary on the Apostle Paul’s teaching on the Priest King. Then, we continue to Thessaloniki (the city where Paul was received by Jason) for our city tour. Paul was preaching the Word of God here, until he was rushed out of the city. We will drive by the landmark of the city, the White Tower, the Walls of the Byzantine Acropolis, the Roman Arch of Galerius, and the Rotonda. Next, we see the Basilicas of St. Demetrius and the nearby Forum. Dinner and overnight will be in Thessaloniki. We will follow the route of the Via Egnatia and 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 her. Lydia was the first convert of Paul on European soil, and the conversion of the jailer followed. Also, we visit the ruins of the Forum of Philippi, the Christian Basilicas, the “Prison of Paul,” and the Theater. Next, we drive to Kavala (Neapolis), a picturesque port, and view the Byzantine Castle and the Roman Aqueduct. Then, we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Athens. Overnight is in Athens.
The Ancient City of Paul
We travel early this morning to the port of Piraeus for an 11am departure on our 4-night Greek Isles Cruise. Our first port-of-call is Mykonos, which uniquely combines luxury and sophistication with the simple and yet charming life of a Cycladic Island. We can stroll the winding, narrow streets full of boutiques, visit tiny chapels, and take pictures of the famous windmills. Another option is just to sit by the waterfront and enjoy the beautiful sunset. In the morning, we arrive at Kusadasi, a lovely Turkish port and the gateway to the Ancient city of Ephesus, a city often visited by St. Paul. It is one of the seven churches of Revelation. (Excursion to Ancient Ephesus). We drive along the coast to reach Ephesus, famous in antiquity for its Temple of Diana. Also known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Ephesus later became the home of the Apostle John. We will see the monuments such as the Forum, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, and the Thermal Bath of Scolastika. We will also visit the magnificent, open-air Great Theatre, built in the Greek era and reconstructed in the Roman period, which seated 24,000 people. Next, we walk back to the motor coach along the Arcadian Way, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession. Traveling back to Kusadasi, we view the Basilica of St. John. Just downhill lies the site of the famous Temple of Diana, which today is in ruins. By late afternoon, we arrive on Patmos, the island where the Apostle John was exiled. (Excursion to Patmos Not Included) Today, we will visit the Island of Rhodes. The ship enters the port, which was once dominated by the Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. (Excursion to Rhodes and Lindos). We drive along the southeastern coastline on our way to Lindos, the most important of the three great cities of ancient times. We visit the Acropolis of Lindos, overlooking the Aegean Sea and St. Paul’s Bay. Afterwards, we spend some free time in the small attractive village with the little shops and narrow streets. We drive back to the City of Rhodes for our walking tour of the City and stroll through the Medieval Old City, down through Chevaliers Road. Then, we view the Palace of the Knights of St. John.
Exploring the Island of Santorini
This morning, we spend time in Crete, the largest and most-rugged of the Greek Islands. It is also the ancient home of the great Minoans and the mythological god, Zeus. (Excursion to Knossos Palace and Heraklion City Not included). Paul left Titus in Crete and gave instructions on appointing church leaders in the towns (Titus 1:5ff). Next, we spend an evening on what many would consider the most spectacular of all the Greek islands, Santorini. We arrive early morning at the Port of Piraeus. We meet our guide and bus driver for our Athens city tour. Admire the architectural miracles of ancient Athens. We will follow our guide to the world-renown Acropolis to see the Propylea, the Erectheum, and the Parthenon. Afterwards. we visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his speech on the “Unknown God.” Next, we view the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. Then, we will visit the New Acropolis Museum. 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 buildings of Athens. The afternoon is free to explore or relax. Afterwards, we meet together for a Farewell Dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in Athens. Overnight is in Athens. This morning, we transfer to Athens Airport for return flight home. We arrive in the U.S.A. same day.