Footsteps of St. Paul (11 Days / 10 Nights)
Visit Kavala, Philippi, Thessalonica
Berea and Meteora Monasteries
Athens & Plaka
Corinth and Mycenae
Mykonos, Ephesus and Patmos
Crete and Santorini
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. Tomorrow you will be walking where the apostles walked.
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 Gallerius arch which rises over the famous Via Egnatia. The remainder of the day is free to relax and explore on your own. Dinner is on your tonight.
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 Sillas. Lucas 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.
Berea - Meteora Monastery
A stop will be made in Berea to view the Berea surrounded by newly placed mosaics of Paul and 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 built the original wooden shelters, later transformed into monasteries. Our lodging this evening will be in Meteora.
Athens & Plaka
From the mountains, our tour travels southward past Thermopylae and on to the city of Athens, the birth place democracy. Visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Erectheum before viewing Athens atop Mars Hill where Paul stood and preached the truth to the Gentle 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 variety of shops and cafes.
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 Corinth, another treat for the new Testament scholar. Corinth is the city that inspired many of Paul’s most familiar letters. Sue the Archaeological Museum, the market place, the Bema and the Temples. To enjoy a devotional in the midst of the rules of the church of Corinth and see the pillars, steps, and public worship place where Paul preached will enhance your understanding and love of I&II Corinthians. 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.after Corinth we travel to Mycenae where the remains of the ancient city date back to Bronze Age.
Cruising Mykonos (cruise excursions not included)
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 activities.
Ephesus and Patmos (cruise excursions not included)
Docking in Turkey, enjoy a 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. The next stop is a small valley where the humble chapel lies on the site of the little house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. This afternoon will visit the isle of Patmos. Under statutory protection as a historic monument You will take a tour to see the fortified monastery of St. John and the cave claimed to be where John received the Revelation. Back on the ship, enjoy the Captain’s dinner before settling into your cabin for the night.
Crete and Santorini (cruise excursion are not included)
Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. Take an optional tour to 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. This afternoon visit the island of Santorini which is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. The town of Thera white washed houses, narrow streets, and open air cafes accessible by cable-car or mules. You may choose to take an optional tour of sailing around an active volcano crater and swimming in the water heated by hot springs. Again we return to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.
Optional Day, free time Delphi or Cape Sounion (at your expense)
Those interested in an optional tour of Delphi will need to Disembark early at 7:00am. 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 south 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. There will be a farewell dinner tonight with wine included at one of the typical taverns in Plaka.
An early morning flight will bring us home by this afternoon.