April 17 The day has arrived, and we depart Vancouver for Greece!
April 18 Today we arrive in Thessaloniki, where we are met by our Christian Expedition Tour Director. We transfer to our hotel. Overnight Thessaloniki. D.
April 19 Today we visit Philippi and Kavala. The Apostle Paul delivered his first sermon in Europe in Philippi (Acts 16:12-18). Here he also baptized a woman named Lydia, the first Christian convert in Europe. We visit the Roman forum, and the prison into which Paul and Silas were thrown. After this, we continue on to the modern port city of Kavala, ancient Neapolis, where Paul, accompanied by Silas, Luke, and Timothy first set foot in Europe. This ancient city was later renamed Christoupolis because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. Overnight Thessaloniki. B, D.
April 20 We begin our day in Thessaloniki, where the New Testament books of I & II Thessalonians will come alive to us. We visit the old city ramparts, the newly excavated Forum, St. George Church, an ancient Roman monument which was transformed into a church, and the Galerios Arch which rises over the famous Via Egnatia, the road on which Paul walked to Thessaloniki. It was here in the synagogue that Paul “…reasoned with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks.” We travel on to Veria (biblical Berea), where Paul established a small church. We’ll see the reconstructed steps of the bema (or rostrum) and the newly placed mosaics of Paul and the plaque of scripture regarding this “more noble” church (Acts 17:1-13). We visit the Jewish quarter before traveling on to Kalambaka. Overnight Kalambaka area. B, D.
April 21 Today we visit the spectacular Meteora Monasteries, Cenobitic monasteries that are perched precariously on top of huge precipitous columns of rock that rise of up out of the ground – thus the name “Meteora,” which means “in the air.” It was in the 11th century that the first hermits sought refuge in the caves of Meteora where the solitude and spectacular vistas enhanced the mystic way of life. Eventually the hermits began to group together in monasteries whose buildings were decorated with frescoes and icons by the great artists of the day. In the evening we travel to Athens. Overnight Athens. B, D.
April 22 Today we tour Athens. We visit Constitution Square (Syntagma), the House of Parliament, the memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the University, the Academy and the National Library. We drive down Herodes Atticus street, and see the Evzones in their picturesque uniforms and the Presidential palace. On your way to the Acropolis you will see the Panathenaic Stadium (where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896), the Temple of Olympia Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. On the Acropolis hill, you will visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylee, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally the Parthenon – the monument that “puts order in the mind” and “is harmony between material and spirit” Beneath the Acropolis is the Areopagus or Mars Hill. This is where St. Paul made his famous “Men of Athens” speech revealing a considerable knowledge of the Greek philosophy and character. Overnight Athens. B, D.
April 23 Today we set sail from Athens, first to the quaint Isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. We experience the waterfront lined with shops and cafes and then stroll the charming walkways through a maze of whitewashed buildings before returning to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment. Overnight aboard ship. B, L, D.
April 24 Docking in Turkey, we enjoy a tour of Ephesus, the city of the Bible and one of the largest restorations still in progress with miles of ancient treasures. (This is an included shore excursion). Ephesus was once a thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city, including the Agora, the Odeon, the Library, the marble-paved main street, the Baths, Trajan’s Fountain, the Residences of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, and Temple of Hadrian. The Great Theatre, built in the 4th century B.C., could accommodate 24,000 spectators and it is famous even today for its acoustics. In the late afternoon we visit the Isle of Patmos, which is under statutory protection as an historic monument. (This is an included shore excursion). Here we have a tour to see the fortified monastery of St John and the cave claimed to be where John received the visions that constitute the book of Revelation. We return to the ship and enjoy a Captain’s dinner before settling into our cabins for the night. Overnight aboard ship. B, L, D.
April 25 Today we visit Crete, the largest and most rugged of the Greek islands. (This is an included shore excursion). We visit Heraklion and the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate palace is believed to be the mythical labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. We travel on to Santorini, perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. Here there is an optional shore excursion to Oia. Once more, we return to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment. Overnight aboard ship. B, L, D.
April 26 Today we drive to Corinth, following closely the same route Paul took during his journey. After a short stop at the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean and Ionian Seas, we arrive in Ancient Corinth. We visit the ruins of Corinth, where Paul worked with Priscilla and Aquila. Included are the first century shops, the Agora, the Temple of Apollo and the Bema Seat. We return to Athens for dinner and overnight. Overnight in Athens. B, D.
April 27 We transfer to the airport, and begin our journey back to Vancouver, B.C.