Following the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul
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 is at a local restaurant in Athens. Overnight is in Athens. In the morning, we 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. 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. 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. We will also include visits to the Archeological Museum and the Acropolis Museum. Dinner is at a local restaurant in Athens. Overnight is in Athens. This morning, we continue 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. Finally, we drive to Cenchreae, the little harbor Paul sailed back to from Asia, thus ending his second missionary journey. Afterwards, we visit on the Peloponnesus peninsula, the beautiful Nafplio (A top 12 destination for Greece) – a resort town for Athenians for centuries, where we will have dinner at a local restaurant. Then, we journey back to Athens for overnight at our hotel.
Visit Historical Sites
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 BC 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’ll have time to stop and enjoy the small scenic villages that cling to the mountainsides. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel 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 drive to Berea to visit the Bema of the Apostle Paul. After our stop in Berea, 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 see the landmark of the city, the White Tower, the Walls of the Byzantine Acropolis, the Roman Arch of Galerius, and the Rotonda. Next, we visit two of the city’s oldest and most-admired Christian churches, the Basilicas of St. Demetrius and St. Sophia (Divine Wisdom). Dinner is on your own this evening, and overnight will be in Thessaloniki. We will follow the route of the Via Egnatia and visit the area of Amphipolis (like Paul and his companion) 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 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), where (depending on flight schedule) we will have lunch (not included), a picturesque port, and view the Byzantine Castle and the Roman Aqueduct. Then, we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Athens. Dinner is at a local restaurant in Athens. Overnight is in Athens.
Cruise the Greek Isles
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 included). 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. We also visit the Church of the Virgin Mary. By late afternoon we arrive on Patmos, the island where the Apostle John was exiled. We visit the cave where John wrote the book of Revelation (Rev. 1: 9). (Excursion to St. John and the Grotto of the Apocalypse included). Departing the port of Scala by motor coach, we will enjoy the short ride up to the magnificent Monastery of St. John, within the walls of a strong fortification and with spectacular views of the island. We will walk uphill towards the entrance of the Monastery and view the courtyard, the Monks’ quarters, and the main church with its outstanding frescoes and the small but beautiful museum. Finally, we will visit the nearby Church of the Apocalypse and walk down a few steps to the Grotto of the Apocalypse.
See Ancient Ruins
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 included). 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. 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 included). After a short ride through the town of Heraklion, we arrive at the Knossos excavations. Here, Sir Arthur Evan’s archaeological discoveries revealed a civilization, dating back to 4000 B.C., when a great empire flourished on the island of Crete. 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 will have time to stroll the cobbled lanes of this fascinating town or simply relax over coffee. A short cable car ride (not included) will take us down to the pier where we will rejoin the ship. We arrive early morning at the Port of Piraeus. Then, we transfer to Athens, the center of the world! Today will be at leisure in Athens, where we could enjoy time at the Plaka with its many shops (including the Stravos Melissinos- the famous sandal maker of Athens), visit other museums, or spend time by the pool at our hotel. Afterwards, we meet together for a Farewell Dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in Athens. Overnight is in Athens.