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Table of the Gods: A Cultural & Gastronomical Adventure in Greece

Discover Greece’s incredibly rich culinary lineage and magnificent vineyards With New York Times Food Writer and Foodie, Florence Fabricant.

Departure     September 9 – 20, 2019

“Dress your hair with fine extracts of perfume…………. and while you are drinking let these tasty dishes be brought to you.”  – Athenaeus, 2nd century BC

More than 2500 years ago, the Greeks laid the foundations for the now-celebrated Mediterranean diet.  The ancient Greeks considered cooking an art and a science, and they made gastronomy a subject of serious study.  Amazingly, the cuisine of modern Greece traces its origins to the ancient past and draws its inspiration from it.  No other country in Europe can claim such a long and uninterrupted culinary tradition.  As Greeks established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, they introduced vine cultivation and wine making in the lands they settled, including Italy, France and Spain. During the Middle Ages, Greek wines were among the favorites of Europe’s royal courts.  Continuing on this long tradition, Greece today produces award-winning wines from indigenous ancient and modern varieties.

The area of concentration of this unique journey is northern Greece.

Why Travel with Thalassa Journeys

Thalassa Journeys was established by the principals and managers of Travel Dynamics, the company that 50 years ago pioneered the concept of educational travel for America’s educational and cultural institutions. The belief that travel is primarily a learning experience forms the core principle of Thalassa Journeys.

Each Thalassa Journey is constructed around a particular theme. Unlike most tours, each of our journeys are intimate, and led by lecturers who are truly subject-matter experts for each theme. Although many other companies claim to have expert lecturers, few truly have accomplished, renowned experts in their fields, like Thalassa.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Depart THE USA

Depart from the US for Athens, Greece

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 2 : Tour ATHENS / KAVALA / DRAMA, Greece

Arrive in Athens to connect with the flight to the town of Kavala, a sea-side town in northern Greece. Upon arrival, transfer to the Hotel Hydrama in the nearby town of Drama. Welcome dinner at the hotel.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 3 : Tour DRAMA / PHILIPPI / DRAMA

In the morning, explore Philippi, an ancient site of major importance. Interested in the nearby gold and silver minds, Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, took over Philippi in the mid-4th century BC, and named the town after himself. In AD 49, St. Paul spent time in Philippi. After exploring the site, enjoy lunch in Kavala, known for its fresh seafood, and then continue to the Kostas Lazaridis vineyard, a sprawling estate with a winery that includes a spectacular underground cask cellar and bottle-ageing facilities. End the day at Oenogenesis vineyard, spread beautifully on the slopes of Mount Falakro. Bakis Tsalkos, one of Greece's most renowned oenologists, created this superb estate that includes a magnificent winery built of wood and stone in the style of an old Macedonian mansion. Here, we will enjoy dinner, accompanied by Oenogenesis’ exquisite red and white wines.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 4 : Tour DRAMA / PELLA / VEROIA

Leaving Drama in the morning, we first stop at Biblia Chora, a fabulous state-of-the-art organic vineyard that produces premium wines. After tasting the wines and enjoying lunch, continue to Pella, the capital of ancient Macedonia at the height of its power, and the birthplace of Alexander the Great. After exploring the site and visiting the Museum, with its collection of superb mosaics, drive to Veroia. Accommodations at the boutique Hotel Kokkino Spiti ("Red House").

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 5 : Tour VEROIA

Built on a plateau backed by a mountain, Veroia, the Biblical Berea, has been a prosperous and important city since antiquity, with a sizable Jewish community. St. Paul spent three months here. Explore in the morning Veroia's quaint old quarter, where mansions of characteristic architecture line the narrow streets. Here we find the remnants of the Roman - Byzantine walls, the 14th-century church of Christou, decorated with beautiful frescoes, the 19th-century synagogue, and the Bema of St. Paul, the spot where he preached. At least since the 1500s, this part of Greece is one of its most important wine producing regions. This afternoon visit the Kyr-Yannis vineyard and learn about the region's wine history, followed by dinner.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 6 : Tour VEROIA / VERGINA / VEROIA

Not far from Veroia is Vergina, the ancient Aigai, which we will explore in the morning. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Aigai was the royal burial place of Macedonian kings. In 1977, archaeologists discovered the sumptuous temple-like royal tombs, including that of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. His tomb yielded incredible treasures in gold, which are housed in the local Archaeological Museum. After lunch, visit the Dalamaras Estate, a highly-regarded family-owned vineyard with a history of making quality wines that goes back to 1840. Taste Dalamaras' wines and return to Veroia for dinner.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 7 : Tour VEROIA / EDESSA/ AMYNTAIO / IOANNINA

Leave Veroia in the morning for Edessa, situated on a cliff that rises above the plain of a river. Edessa is known for its streams, lined with stately plane trees, that meet at a place to form an impressive waterfall of 82 ft. Enjoy a coffee-break at a cafe by the waterfall, and then continue to the superb Alpha Estate, in Amyntaio, beautifully located on a sprawling hill near a pristine lake. Alpha Estate produces some of the finest wines of Greece, which we will have the opportunity to taste. After lunch, drive through impressive mountain scenery to Ioannina with accommodations at Hotel de Lac.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 8 : Tour IOANNINA / DODONI / IOANNINA

Built in an idyllic setting on a rocky promontory that projects into a lake, the university town of Ioannina first came into prominence early in the 13th century. Since that time, it remains the commercial center of northwest Greece. The interesting old section of the town is still enclosed within fortifications, first built during the Byzantine period. Spend the morning at leisure to explore the town on your own. Ioannina is known for the manufacture of fine filigree silver jewelry, a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. In the afternoon, take an excursion to Dodoni, an archaeological site of great beauty and importance. Dodoni was an early oracular site, dedicated to Zeus. The site is dominated by the superb 3rd-century BC theater. Return to Ioannina for dinner. Northwest Greece is a place of imposing mountains, with little available land for farming, but shepherding and dairy production always thrived. The defined the region's cuisine which we will taste at dinner. Savory pies come in countless ways, and some of Greece's best meats and cheeses come from here.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 9 : Tour IOANNINA / VIKOS GORGE / IOANNINA

In the morning, travel north of Ioannina to the fantastic Vikos Gorge, perhaps the most magnificent natural landscape in Greece. Vikos has the steepest walls of any gorge in the world, and its scale and grandeur compare to the Grand Canyon. Around the gorge are centuries-old villages with stones houses and narrow alleyways, some of which we will visit. Enjoy lunch in this exceptional place, and then visit the winery of the Zitsa Co-Op, which produces its wines from the aromatic native Debina grape variety. Zitsa has been producing Debina wine since AD 600; one of the most famous proponents of Zitsa's wines was the English poet Lord Byron who visited the region in the early 19th century.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 10 : Tour IOANNINA / METSOVO / THESSALONIKI

Leave Ioannina in the morning for Metsovo, a picturesque alpine town set on the side of a ravine. Here, visit the historic Katogi Averoff, an excellent winery whose vineyards are perched on the slopes of the Pindos range, at the highest elevation of any vineyard in Greece. The winery, housed in a building of notable architecture, is especially known for its red wines. Metsovo is also known for the production of cheese. Taste the wines and cheese and enjoy lunch in this lovely place. In the afternoon, drive to Thessaloniki and check-in at the Hotel Macedonia Palace.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 11 : Tour THESSALONIKI

Vibrant and cosmopolitan Thessaloniki, the biblical Thessalonica, also known as Salonica, was named after the half-sister of Alexander the Great. Built at the head of a spacious bay and against the slopes of a mountain, Thessaloniki is the pre-eminent Byzantine city of Greece, known for its outstanding monuments dating from late antiquity and the medieval periods. The city was also a major center of Jewish life and learning from the middle ages to World War II. In the morning, visit the Gerovassiliou Estate. Located near the city, this is a meticulously tended vineyard in an area that has been producing wine for at least 1,500 years. Gerovassiliou is known for its high-quality wines which we will taste during our visit. Return to Thessaloniki for a tour of the city's principal sites. The city, with its multicultural influences, is considered Greece's culinary capital. We will have the opportunity to experience its cuisine during lunch and our farewell dinner.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 12 : Transfer THESSALONIKI / USA

Transfer to the airport for return flights to the USA

Accommodation

Meals Included

Tour Price

$5,880 per person, double occupancy

Single room supplement: $390

Journey Extension

Post Journey Extensions

We are pleased to offer a two-night post-trip extension to Athens, from September 20 to 22. In addition to the accommodations at the elegant Hotel Grande Bretagne, the extension includes a tour of the fabled Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum, and airport/hotel transfers. Rate: $770 per person, double occupancy. Single room supplement: $380.

Inclusions

Expert Guest Lecturer

Florence Fabricant

Florence Fabricant

Florence Fabricant's work has opened many doors, enabling her to experience the history, culture and traditions of many countries.  Greece has been high on the list since she was a teenager. With a BA from Smith College ('58) and an MA from New York University, Ms. Fabricant has studied Greek culture and visited Greece several times.  She has read most of the classics in translation and also, as an art major in college, studied the great works - architecture, sculpture, painting (pottery) - of ancient Greece. With her husband, an archaeology buff who is a member of the Archaeological Institute of America, she first visited Greece in 1964, a three-week trip when a tourist could wander freely around the Acropolis and nothing was roped off. She has been back to Greece three times since then, most recently two years ago. She has worked with Greek chefs, and participated in extensive tastings of Greek wines. For food and wine, she will bring a substantial breadth of knowledge, experience and taste to the table. As she proudly stated, "Greece is also in my kitchen repertoire: I have made my own phyllo!"

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E-Mail : Reservations@ThalassaJourneys.com

Phone : +1 866.633.3611