Day 1: Departure
Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history with an overnight flight to Thessalonica. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience. Get some rest on the flight…Tomorrow you will be walking where the apostles walked!
Day 2: Arrival Thessalonica
We transfer to our hotel in Thessalonica, Macedonia for the next two evenings. The New Testament books of I & II Thessalonians will come alive to us today. En route to the hotel we will view the old city ramparts; the newly excavated Forum, St. George Church, an ancient Roman monument which was transformed into a church and the Galerius Arch which rises over the famous Via Egnatia. The remainder of the day is free to relax and explore on your own.
Day 3: Thessalonica/Philippi/Kavala
We begin the day by following the massive battlement Byzantine wall to the citadel for a panoramic view of the city. Next, we will visit Philippi and Kavala. Kavala is Greece's prettiest mainland port with a most elegant harbor. Paul landed here with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. Luke, the Evangelist, also came here from Troas. This ancient city of Neapolis was later renamed Christoupolis because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. Imagine walking on the same sod as these men of the Bible! We will see the Roman Aqueduct and the ruins of the Acropolis in this beautifully located city, known since the 5th century as Kavala. Continue on to Philippi where Paul preached his first evangelical sermon and baptized the first Christians on European soil. We will view the baptismal site where Lydia surrendered her life to Christ and visit a crypt dating from the Roman period that is thought to have served as a prison for Paul. See the famous Acropolis, the Market Place, Basilica, and the Theatre. We return to Thessalonica and visit St. Demetrius basilica, dedicated to a distinguished member of the Roman army and a martyred Christian convert before returning to the hotel for the night.
Day 4: Berea/Meteora Monastery
A stop will be made in Berea to view the Bema surrounded by newly placed mosaics of Paul and the plaque of scripture regarding the "more noble" church. We also visit King Phillip's (Alexander's father) tomb in Vergina, one of the most outstanding finds in all of Greece. This afternoon we see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched precariously on summits of gray rock pinnacles of varied and beautiful shapes. Their history goes back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in the cliffside caves then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters, later transformed into monasteries. Our lodging this evening will be in Meteora.
Day 5: Athens & Plaka
From the mountains, our tour travels southward past Thermopylae and on to the city of Athens, the birth place of democracy. Visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Erectheum before viewing Athens atop Mars Hill where Paul stood and preached the truth to the Gentile nation. Additional sites include the Agora (ancient market place and center of Athenian public life), the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Olympic Stadium, and Presidential Palace. A short walk from your hotel is the famous Plaka with a multitude of shops and cafes.
Day 6: Corinth - Mycenae
This morning we leave Athens by motor coach, stop for a rest stop and photos at the Corinth Canal and then travel to the ancient city of Corinth. The ruins of this important cultural center are fascinating as we walk along the stone path that the Apostle Paul walked. The engineering skill and intellect of these people are evident in the water systems that still flow from ancient to modern day. We will be sure to gather for a devotional around the Bema where Paul stood and challenged the Corinthians. The Museum houses a variety of antiquities to include pottery, statues, mosaics and art work. Our guide will be sure to show you the room dedicated to the medical care of that period. After the visit to ancient Corinth we travel to Mycenae where the remains of the ancient city date back to the Bronze Age. We will have a lunch stop (on our own) today in Mycenae at a wonderful restaurant where Jackie Kennedy Onassis enjoyed lunch. This afternoon we see the famous Lionesse Gate, the Tomb of Agamennon in the shape of a Beehive, and many other sites before returning to Athens for the evening.
Day 7: Cruising Mykonos
We sail this morning from Athens to the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. 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. Cruise Ship Info
Day 8: Rhodes
The largest of our adventure islands, Rhodes is rich in Roman and Greek culture. Stroll down the Street of the Knights to the market area for shopping and a wonderful Greek lunch. You may enjoy an optional tour to the ancient city of Lindos. Magnificently situated between two bays with sandy beaches, an ancient acropolis and medieval castle, Lindos is famous as a most striking and impressive city. Again we return to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.
Day 9: Patmos & Ephesus, Turkey
This morning we visit the Isle of Patmos, under statutory protection as a historic monument. You may choose to take an optional tour to see the fortified monastery of St. John and the cave claimed to be where John received the Revelation. Docking in Turkey, enjoy an optional tour of Ephesus, the city of the Bible and one of the largest restorations still in progress with miles of ancient treasures. 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. We'll view the Library, Agora, Temple of Artemis and visit the Basilica of St. John. The basilica is believed to be the site of the grave of John. From here we'll also enjoy a panoramic view of the area. Back on the ship, enjoy the Captain's dinner before settling in to your cabin for the night.
Day 10: Optional Day - Delphi or Cape Sounion
Those interested in an optional tour of Delphi will need to disembark early at 700 AM. Those taking this tour will travel to lovely mountain region of Delphi-the ancient sanctuary of Apollo. Here you will gain a greater understanding of the Greek religious heritage and their influence on the early Christian church. We also visit the museum where we will marvel at the site of the Charioteer, a bronze statue so delicate we will see his eyelashes. You may choose to visit the Plaka where you can find the finest of jewelry, leather, pottery and marble, or the fun souvenirs all "tourists" enjoy. Be sure to taste the Greek almonds and pistachios from the street vendors. If you choose not to shop, there are several interesting museums including the Museum of Folklore or the National Archaeological Museum. This afternoon, you may choose to travel along a coastal road past many wonderful beaches to the southern most point of Attica, Cape Sounion, where the white marble pillars of the Temple of Poseidon stand. Today's sightseeing is at your own expense.
Day 11: Rome
We transfer to the airport for our flight to Rome, our home for the next three nights. The remainder of the day is free with many things to do and see.
Day 12 • Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter Basilica
After breakfast you will begin a full day of site seeing. First visit Vatican City where you will see the Basilica at St. Peter, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums with stunning works of art at every turn. After some free time for lunch, you will visit the 4th century Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the traditional site of Paul’s tomb, and the Scala Santa, where Martin Luther made his stand against the practice of indulgences. The spiritual and historical insight gained from this tour will be invaluable to you in your understanding and application of scriptural truths.
Day 13 • Forum, Mamertine Prison, Coliseum, Catacombs
We begin our walking tour at the ancient Roman Forum, where our guide will divulge its secrets. We will visit the Arch of Titus which commemorated the sack of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70.. We will step inside the Mamertine Prison, where tradition says the Apostle Paul was imprisoned. Next, we visit the Coliseum, where thousands of people and animals perished during gladiatorial games. The Coliseum first opened in AD 80 and within 100 days of its opening, 5000 wild beasts perished here. The slaughter of both humans and animals continued for three more centuries. Historians believe the Coliseum could hold between 40,000 and 80,000 people depending on how close the seating was. The floor has recently had a plank placed over the middle making it accessible for people to walk over the labyrinth of brick cells, ramps, and elevators used to transport animals and gladiators into the arena. Hear the stories of the games that have fascinated people for years. We conclude our day at the Catacombs where thousands of Christians were buried in a remarkable tiered series of galleries.
Day 14 • Home
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to the USA.