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OCT 2-10, 2014 (with extension through OCT 15, 2014)



In search of the unique, something that’s important, but overlooked? Would you like to comfortably learn more about the glory that was Greece? Then my travel adventure into the ancient world may be for you. I am anxious to share with you my art history and archaeological experience with you. We are partnering with Foreign Independent Tours in order to take advantage of their buses and the lore and understanding of local guides on the Greek mainland. We will have some MexiMayan optionals and our group will be together. Doreen “Deb” Stelton Greece Highlights: Mainland Greece Oct. 2 Thu: Depart Chicago O’Hare DL #3580 Oct 2 at 9:30am Arrive Athens 9:15am on Oct 3 via JFK. Call Exito Tours at 970-372-6293; ask Emma for Group Air. Oct. 3 Fri: Transfer to the Polis Grand Hotel overlooking the Acropolis. This is a free day to recover from your flight, or to decide to do some “light touring”. A friendly taverna for meze or kolatsio (snacks or a meal) may be just the recipe to begin our Greek sojourn. Opa! Oct. 4 Fri: Breakfast and exploration beginning with a mid-morning optional: We’ll share a vehicle** and go to the Agora where Socrates questioned his students and then to the home of the Fire God, the Temple of Hephaestus whose friezes retell the feats of Hercules the story of Theseus and the Battle of the Centaurs. If you are unable to complete the Acropolis climb the next day, you will have the satisfaction of investigating the more complete 5th century B.C. Doric Hephaestus Temple. We can do lunch at a restaurant near the temple. For the afternoon optional, the essential National Archaeology Museum is a must because it is the most important Greek Museum with representations from all periods and places including the Minoan and Mycenae horizon. For a group dinner we’ll meet at our hotel’s rooftop dining room (not included) with a flamboyant view of Pericles’ illumined Parthenon. Plays and operas are sometimes performed in the Odeum of Herodes Atticus, built in A.D. 161, an amphitheater at the base of the Parthenon. We can ask our concierge about Athens’ night life or where we might find dancing –especially men dancing and Greek music; perhaps a place that caters to weddings or birthdays. ​ Oct 5 Sat: After breakfast we have a guided tour with a local guide, a half day Acropolis tour with 3 famous temples, including the Parthenon, and the AcropolisMuseum. Note: for access to the Parthenon come prepared wearing comfortable walking shoes and carrying a hiking staff or cane. Lunch in the museum is recommended. The rest of day is free to relax, but the Cyclades Museum with “Cycladic idols” from Neolithic times is open and there’s shopping in the Plaka all can be done sharing cabs or using buses. B Oct 6 Sun: Breakfast and were on our way to the Corinth Canal. Since the 7th Century B.C. the canal was the dream of many rulers including Napoleon. But for the 21st Century its importance is to ponder the task; it’s too narrow for most ships. Continuing on we arrive at Epidaurus, and the Sanctuary of Asclepios. We will see the medical instruments of the time. Accordingly the legendary Great Amphitheater of Epidaurus was used by mentally disturbed patients as a curative catharsis. We stop for lunch and continue on to Mycenae and the dazzling so-called Tomb of Agamemnon and the Lion Gate where Clytemnestra lovingly welcomed her warrior husband, Agamemnon, home from the Trojan War (and drowned him in the bath tub). Heinrich Schliemann mistakenly identified many objects as from the time of the Trojan War even naming a gold burial mask found here as the Mask of Agamemnon, (in the National Museum) but the dates of his finds are from an earlier horizon. We arrive in Olympia and check into the Amalia Hotel. Breakfast and dinner are included at the Amalia Hotels. Oct 7 Mon: Breakfast and then a visit to Olympia with enough time for a short run around the Stadium and/or to check out the many temples and sculptures of athletes. We visit a small Archaeological Museum of Olympia is one of the most important museums in Greece. Among its treasures is the famous sculpture, the Charioteer with all of his eyelashes perfectly intact—Why not buy a miniature copy for that perfect spot in your garden as a friend once did. B & D Oct 8 Tues: Breakfast and the fortune hunters are off to Delphi, if the oracle is out we’ll stop by the museum to examine her tricks. The day’s journey continues on through stunning landscapes to Kalambaka and Meteora. We stay at another Amalia Hotel with traditional décor of the area. The bus takes us to some Byzantine churches and monasteries*** with exquisite Byzantine art atop incredibly high huge rocks. B & D Oct 9 Wed: On our return to Athens, we visit more traditional and legendary areas. We will seek nymphs at their birthplace, Trikala. Lamia harbored a child devouring monster, and at Thermopylae King Leonidas and the Immortal 300 died in a futile and nobly fought battle. It’s a great drive with some of it hugging the coastline. If time and roads permit we may stop at a monument dedicated to Leonidas himself. We check into the Polis Grand for our final night in Greece unless we are traveling on with Deb Stelton tomorrow. B Oct 10 Thu: You can be transferred to the airport for homebound departure. Basic land cost is $1468.00 per person. The F.I.T. group departs. The MexiMayan Crete and Santorini Extension (Final details are forthcoming.) Oct 10 Thu: The optional begins with a morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Santorini, perhaps the doomed island of Socrates’ fabled Atlantis. Upon arrival on Santorini we are transferred to the Kalista Thera for two nights. From the Kalista Thera transportation is arranged to get us to Akrotiri, dubbed Greece’s Pompeii. Akrotiri was buried in volcanic ash about 1627 B.C. until its rediscovery in 1860. Unlike Pompeii no traces of human deaths were discovered on Akrotiri suggesting that the inhabitants were somehow forewarned of an impending disaster. Oct 11 Fri: A free day on Santorini but with two museums, a volcanic rim to be explored, beaches, hundreds of jewelry shops and a famous sunset as viewed from certain restaurants to be seen there is plenty to do. Oct 12 Sat: Moving on to Heraklion, Crete, another Atlantis nomination claimant and another Mediterranean ferry. Crete’s rich history can be traced back beyond Bronze Age Knossos to its unique role in World War II. Upon arrival we transfer to the Lato Boutique Hotel (superior rooms with view of Venetian Fort or for 2 nights. B Oct 13 Sun: The famously reconstructed Palace of Knossos waits for us to find transportation for us to get there. Beyond Knossos there is The Heraklion Archaeological Museum on Crete is said to be fabulous. Monasteries invite you in for wine and olives. Because of time we may have to make choices here. B Oct 14 Mon: Transfer to the airport for our Athens flight and our last night in Athens Wed Oct 15 Tues. depart Athens 11:30 am arrive Chicago 9:09 p.m. via JFK. This extension is $799.00 per person. The total for 2 parts is $2417.00 per person. The air from Chicago currently is $965 A deposit for Foreign Independent Tours is $350.00. Final Payment August 5. If enrollment reaches 10 we can apply for Travel Guard group insurance (pre-existing conditions waived.) **Before we have a bus and group guide in Athens on the first 2 days, because everyone may not be ready for touring, we shall arrange for an appropriate size vehicle. *** Women need skirts that extend below the knee for entry to Byzantine churches in Meteora.
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