23176
Greece
A President’s Voyage to Greece: A Celebration of the Islands
Join Road Scholar President James Moses for a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to Greece and its ancient islands of Monemvasia, Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Santorini and Syros.
Program No. 23176RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,499
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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11 days
10 nights
23 meals
9 B 6 L 8 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In transit
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Athens
Athens
D
Wyndham Grand Athens

Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM.

Afternoon: At leisure. A Road Scholar hospitality desk will be stationed in the hotel lobby should you need free time suggestions or assistance throughout the day.

Dinner: Enjoy a Welcome Dinner and program briefing in the hotel dining room at 7 PM. A welcome cocktail is included; additional beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Athens, Greece
Athens
B,L
Wyndham Grand Athens

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will be buffet-style with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee and tea. Water will be served at every meal on this program.

Morning: Relax and enjoy a coach ride through the countryside to Epidaurus, sacred to Asclepios, the God of medicine, and once the most acclaimed healing center of the classical world. Visit its theater, one of the best preserved in all of Ancient Greece.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Mycenae.

Afternoon: The afternoon will be dedicated to exploring the great Mycenaean culture that flourished in this area known as Argolid Plain between 1600 - 1300 B.C. At its heart is the ancient city of Mycenae, reputedly the capital of Agamemnon and the and the "well-built citadel" of Homer's Iliad. Return to Athens late afternoon.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. Your Group Leader can provide suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Athens, Greece; embark the Aegean Odyssey
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Heavy walking for one or more hours over uneven terrain, with multiple uphill segments and sometimes without railings. This is a long, but rewarding day.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Climb the ancient citadel of Athens—the Acropolis—to admire the Parthenon and the ruins of many other temples. Built during Athens' Golden Age between 447-438BC under the orders of the great statesman Pericles, the Acropolis represents the magnificent achievements of Athenian culture during this remarkable era. Next, we will explore the long anticipated $200-million, 226,000-square-foot Acropolis Museum. In the dramatic Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, ascending floors of glass literally “float” you above the excavations for an extraordinary perspective of the layers of Greek history that lie below.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own. Or, if you prefer, the ship offers a welcome lunch buffet following embarkation.

Afternoon: We transfer to Piraeus where we will embark the Aegean Odyssey. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."

Dinner: Aboard the ship, you may choose from either the Marco Polo Restaurant or the Terrace Café. The former serves a variety of á là carte items while the café is buffet-style. Menus are inspired by fresh local ingredients. Wine is complimentary with dinner in both dining areas.

Evening: Most evenings aboard ship are free to enjoy as you like whether it’s attending a shipboard guest lecture or listening to live music in the Charleston Lounge.

DAY
5
Monemvasia, Greece
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Pass through a gap in a rocky cliff and emerge into a Medieval scene on this morning tour of Monemvasía, a castle town that has been called the Gibraltar of Greece. Indeed, the name means “single entrance.” For us, it provides an illuminating transition from the classical world to the Byzantine era. Monemvasía dates back to the 6th-century, when inhabitants of Laconia settled on the site, which developed into a major city- state. In the 15th-century the city suffered a hundred-year blockade by the Turks. Walk along the narrow streets, sometimes only wide enough for two, and visit the 13th-century Church of Christos Elkomenos (Christ Chained to the Cross), home to several Byzantine icons. Next, we'll board our motorcoach and travel to the Kinsterna Hotel, a painstakingly restored Byzantine-era rural mansion which has revived all the activities such as winemaking and olive oil production that were for generations the lifeblood of the 18 acres estate, the owners have recreated the perfect model of sustainability. Replanted fruit-bearing trees, fertile vegetable patches, aromatic herb gardens and the endless supply of spring water also help support this outstanding philosophy. The Kinsterna's ultimate aim is to come as close as possible to being a totally self-sustainable and independent 'community'.

Lunch: In the restaurant at the Hotel Kisterna enjoy Greek Mediterranean cuisine featuring an abundance of local ingredients

Afternoon: You will have the opportunity to participate in a traditional cooking class at the hotel.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Heraklion, Crete
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship in the Terrace Café.

Morning: We'll board our motorcoach in the morning for a short drive to Knossos. Even without the tales of a bloodthirsty Minotaur, this magnificent palace complex with its flamboyant decoration, courts, audience chambers and residential areas is an impressive and inspiring site. Constructed around 1900 BC, it was the administrative and religious center of the Minoan kingdom. Here King Minos held court and – so mythology holds – his wife gave birth to a half-man, half-bull creature that lurked in the palace’s labyrinth. This fearsome beast was appeased only by human sacrifices. An earthquake destroyed the original complex; it was then rebuilt on an even grander scale, only to be destroyed again by the massive volcanic eruption on Santorini around 1500 BC. Though periodically excavated by Greek archaeologists in the late 19th century, credit for the full excavation and restoration is given to amateur Victorian archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Roundly criticized for occasional missteps in restoration, Sir Arthur poured his fortune into the effort and did a remarkable job for the time period. Knossos today, at least, allows the visitor to visualize the palace as it once was and understand its intricacies. The guided tour will take you through this legend-rich, entrancing complex that sprawled across five acres, where everything from the throne room to royal living quarters is reconstructed with meticulous care. On our return to Heraklion, we will visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, one of the greatest museums in Greece and the best in the world for Minoan art, as it contains the most notable and complete collection of artifacts of the Minoan civilization of Crete. Next, we'll drive a short distance to Arolithos, a unique and traditional private Cretan Village run by a local family. Here, we will become guests of a traditional Cretan wedding. You will have the opportunity to participate in the customary preparations and festivities for the event.

Lunch: After the traditional ceremony, we will have lunch in the village served family style.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will enjoy an authentic and lively show of traditional dances from Crete and Greece accompanied by a live band. Late afternoon return to the ship.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Rhodes, Greece
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Walking up to a 1/2 mile.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Leave behind the port where it is believed the Colossus once stood and discover a stunning ensemble of Gothic architecture just a short drive from the port. These UNESCO World Heritage monuments testify to the role of Rhodes, the largest island in the Dodecanese group, as a strategic crossroads. Many structures date to the era of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, who lived on the island from 1309 until 1522 when the Ottoman Empire finally dislodged the Knights. En route, you’ll visit the lookout Mount Smith, named after the British admiral Sir Sydney Smith who used this vantage point to scan the seas for French ships in the Napoleonic era. Then you enter the citadel of the Knight’s through the d’Amboise Gate and head for the restored Grand Master’s Palace. The first building of the 14th-century Crusaders, the Palace was modelled on the great Papal Palace of Avignon. It served as a fortress in times of war, a residence for the Grand Master of the Knights, a meeting place for senior knights, and, in later times, a summer residence of both Mussolini and Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. Stroll the cobblestone Street of the Knights and admire the honey-coloured stone buildings with their giant doorways and arched windows. Step into the 15th-century Knights Hospital, now an archaeological museum that counts the Aphrodite of Rhodes in flawless Parian marble among its treasures. At the conclusion of this tour, you can return to the ship or stay to wander this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Rhodes.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The ship’s shore excursion desk as well as your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.

DAY
8
Kos, Greece
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,D
Aegean Odyssey

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: We will board our motorcoach and drive a short distance to the Asklepion in Kos, an infirmary of Antiquity. Among the ruins, you can discern part of the Doric Temple of Aesculapius, the alter and the Stoa which housed the famous Hippocrates Medical School. After, we'll return to the town of Kos and visit the archeological museum which holds a vast collection reflecting the importance of the island. Then, we'll enjoy a stroll around the town. View the huge plane tree of Hippocrates, planted 2,400 years ago.

Lunch: Aboard the ship or explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The ship’s shore excursion desk as well as your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.

DAY
9
Santorini, Greece
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Going ashore in Santorini will require the use of a tender, requiring climbing in/out of it; assistance provided as needed. Walking up to 2 miles; uneven, cobblestone streets; standing in archaeological site.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: We'll board our motorcoach in Athinios, and depart to one of the Aegean's most important archaeological sites. Akrotiri was abandoned after severe earthquakes, then covered in pumice by a volcanic eruption in about 1625 BC. A visit tells the tale of an affluent society who farmed, built two-story homes and indulged a taste for frescoes, furniture and jewellery. Today includes a visit to the ongoing excavations, where you can walk amid the well-preserved streets, view the workshops and squares.

Lunch: At a local winery. You will have an opportunity to sample some of the praised local wine of Santorini.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll board the motorcoach and drive to the Northern tip of Santorini to Oia. Here, we'll explore the picturesque village on foot and take in the amazing views over the caldera. Then, we'll return to Fira, the capital of Santorini, to rejoin the Aegean Odyssey.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.

DAY
10
Syros, Greece
Aegean Odyssey - At Sea
B,L,D
Aegean Odyssey

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; potentially slick, marble streets.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: The South Aegean region of Greece encompasses the Cyclades and Dodecanese groups of islands. The town of Ermoupoli on Syros is the regional capita. After arriving, we’ll set out on a walking field trip to see the wonderful architecture of old mansions, marble paved streets, grandiose marble squares, imposing churches, monuments, statues, and well preserved neoclassical buildings. As the first city in what was called the “new Greece” following the revolution of 1821, Ermoupoli (Hermoupolis) became a leading port, center of economic development, and cultural capital. Eleftherios Venizelos, a leader of the Greek national liberation movement and later Prime Minister, said Greece was reborn here. We will walk to visit magnificent Miaouli Square, one of the most beautiful in Greece, named for Admiral Andreas Miaouli, a hero of the Greek War of Independence. Its most prominent feature is the imposing Town Hall, designed by the famous Bavarian architect Ernst Ziller. Construction began in 1876 and was completed in 1898. The square has become the heart of the island’s social life.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: We'll enjoy a performance of Ancient Greek drama on board.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Disembark the Aegean Odyssey; departures
In Flight
B

Breakfast: Aboard the ship. This concludes our program.

Morning: Transfer to Athens International Airport (ATH) for morning departure. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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