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The Lands of Gods & Heroes: A Family Learning Adventure to the Classical World

Departure       July 11 – July 22, 2019

In the 17th century, the notion began to develop in England and other European countries that it was essential in the education of children to be exposed to the places of classical antiquity.  It was believed that it was important to search for and explore the roots of Western civilization.  The need to travel to the lands that gave rise to the Western tradition is as strong today as it was 300 years ago.

Exploring the most important ancient centers of Greece, the places where the myths were made, heroes lived and the gods were ever present, this program is a learning experience for the entire family – children, parents and grandparents.  In addition to the expert guest lecturer who will accompany the trip, qualified counselors will organize special learning activities for children.

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 New York for Athens, Greece

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 2 : Tour ATHENS, Greece

Arrive in Athens and transfer to the Hotel Plaza, located on Constitution Square, the heart of the city, and within walking distance to many of Athens’s attractions. In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 3 : Tour ATHENS

One of the world’s most venerable cities, Athens is the capital of Greece and the oldest city in Europe. Its ancient monuments are testimonials to its glorious past that gave birth to democracy and many other ideas and institutions that form an integral part of the Western tradition. In the morning, tour the Acropolis, including the incomparable Parthenon, other temples and structures built in the 5th century BC. Also, visit the new Acropolis Museum, which houses an outstanding collection of sculpture and other artifacts. Adults will spend the afternoon at leisure, or visit the National Archaeological Museum, while children will participate in a treasure hunt of “ancient” artifacts around the foothill of the Acropolis.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 4 : Tour ATHENS/NEMEA/MYCENAE/NAFPLION

Leave Athens in the morning. After driving over the Corinth Canal, the narrow waterway that separates the Greek mainland from the Peloponnese, continue to the site of ancient Nemea, one of the four sanctuaries where athletic competitions were held, starting in the 6th century BC. Visit the remains of the site. Children may run a race in the Stadium, following in the steps of ancient athletes. After lunch, continue to Mycenae, the most important center of the Mycenaean Civilization that flourished in the second millennium BC. Walk through the monumental Lion Gate to explore the fabled citadel. From Mycenae, continue to nearby Nafplion and the Hotel Grande Bretagne.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 5 : Tour NAFPLION/EPIDAURUS/NAFPLION

Built on a spacious bay and crowned by two fortresses, Nafplion is one of Greece’s loveliest medieval towns. Spend the morning at leisure. Children may visit the hilltop fortress of Palamidi. In the afternoon, take an excursion to Epidaurus, the shrine dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing, famous for its 4th-century BC theater, known for its perfect acoustics and proportions.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 6 : Tour NAFPLION/CORINTH/DELPHI

Leave Nafplion in the morning for Corinth, one of the most prominent and prosperous cities of ancient Greece. Explore the site, including the Temple of Apollo, one of the oldest in Greece, and visit the museum. Excavations in Corinth have been under the direction of the American School of Classical Studies since 1896. Continue to Delphi, stopping on the way for lunch. Check-in at the Hotel Kastalia. Dinner in Delphi.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 7 : Tour DELPHI/SANTORINI

One of the most impressive sites in Greece, Delphi stands on high ground and is surrounded by towering mountains split by a ravine. This place of savage beauty has been sacred from the earliest times. Here, a priestess would render the oracles to those anxious to know the future. Explore the site, including the Sacred Way; the Treasure of the Athenians; the Temple of Apollo; and the Stadium. Also, visit the Museum, which houses the famous bronze statue of the Charioteer, among other treasures. After lunch in Delphi, drive to Athens airport for the flight to Santorini. Hotel Santorini Palace.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 8 : Tour SANTORINI

Known in classical antiquity as Thera, the volcanic crescent-shaped island was a flourishing center during the Bronze Age, inhabited by a sophisticated society. In the late 17th century BC, a massive volcanic eruption collapsed half of the island and buried its main town, Akrotiri, in a thick layer of ash and pumice, preserving its houses, streets and squares as they existed 3,700 years ago. Starting in the 1960s, excavations brought Akrotiri to life, becoming one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. Akrotiri, which we will visit in the morning, conveys a powerful lifelike picture of a well-organized and prosperous Aegean prehistoric city. Later, we will visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, which contains artifacts excavated at Akrotiri, including exquisite murals. The afternoon will be free to make your own discoveries of Santorini.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 9 : Tour SANTORINI/NAXOS

Sail in the morning across the blue Aegean Sea to Naxos. Be on deck as the ship sails from Santorini to admire the panorama of the white-washed towns perched on top of the 1,000-foot high volcanic caldera. Arrive in Naxos in the early afternoon and transfer to the Aegean Land Hotel, located near a lovely beach. A major center of the prehistoric Cycladic culture and the birthplace of Dionysus, Naxos is known for its varied and beautiful landscapes, ancient sites, and picturesque old villages. Explore in the afternoon atmospheric Chora, the island’s main town, its narrow alleyways spread below the Kastro, a citadel built by the Venetians, who held the island from 1207 to 1537. Facing Chora is a small islet, connected to the town by a causeway, on which are the remains of a temple built in the 6th century.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 10 : Tour NAXOS/DELOS/MYKONOS/NAXOS

Cruise to uninhabited Delos, the small island that was sacred to the ancient Greeks, on account of its being the birthplace of the divine twins Apollo and Artemis. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Delos is a vast archaeological site and a veritable open air museum. Walk the Sacred Way to see the remains of sanctuaries, temples, the celebrated Terrace of the Lions and houses, some of which contain exquisite mosaics. After exploring Delos, sail across the short channel to Mykonos, the quintessential Cycladic island. Spend time at leisure to explore Mykonos on your own before returning to Naxos.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 11 : Tour NAXOS

In the morning, explore Naxos’s interior, notable for its green valleys, historic monuments and old quaint villages. Drive to the village of Chalki, known for its characteristic architecture and the 6th-century church of Protochronos. Nearby are the villages of Moni, home to the equally early church of Panaghia Drosiani, noted for its luminous frescoes; Apeiranthos, perched high on a cliff; and Flerio, site of an ancient marble quarry, where we see two unfinished monumental statues from around 570 BC. Lunch will be served at a village taverna. The afternoon is at leisure tIn the morning, explore Naxos’s interior, notable for its green valleys, historic monuments and old quaint villages. Drive to the village of Chalki, known for its characteristic architecture and the 6th-century church of Protochronos. Nearby are the villages of Moni, home to the equally early church of Panaghia Drosiani, noted for its luminous frescoes; Apeiranthos, perched high on a cliff; and Flerio, site of an ancient marble quarry, where we see two unfinished monumental statues from around 570 BC. Lunch will be served at a village taverna. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the beach. Enjoy a farewell dinner.o enjoy the beach. Enjoy a farewell dinner.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 12 : Transfer NAXOS/USA

Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Athens to connect with the flight home.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Tour Price

$6,490 per person, double occupancy; $4,990 child sharing room with parents

$5,890 children 6-18, double room by themselves; Single room supplement: $990

Inclusions

Expert Guest Lecturer

Richard A. Billows

Richard A. Billows

Prof. Richard A. Billows is Professor of History and Director of Classical Studies Graduate Program at Columbia University.  He specializes in Ancient Greek and Roman History and Greek epigraphy and is the author of several books, including Marathon: The Battle That Changed Western Civilization  and Kings and Colonists: Aspects of Macedonian Imperialism.  Prof. Billows received his BA from Oxford University and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.