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Undiscovered Greece: Harvesting Olives in Sparta’s Ancient Groves

A Unique and Alternative Participatory Travel Experience in Greece              

Departure       November 9 – 17, 2019

“The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven.”  – Thomas Jefferson

Since ancient times, the olive tree has been the most revered tree in Greece. Cultivated from deep antiquity to the present, the olive tree was considered sacred to Zeus, the king of the gods, and his daughter Athena.  Greece is particularly well suited for the cultivation of olive trees.  They thrive in areas not far from the sea with dry and hot summers.  Extensive olives groves are found in practically every corner of Greece, with some trees as old as 2,000 years.  Greece produces some of the finest olive oil in the world and an incredibly wide variety of olives.

This is not an ordinary trip.  It is unusual because travelers will have the opportunity to participate in the harvest of the olives at an organic olive grove near ancient and modern Sparta, one of the best olive oil producing areas of 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 : Nov 9 - Depart the USA

Depart the United States for Athens, Greece.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 2 : Nov 10 - Tour ATHENS/SPARTA-MISTRA, Peloponnese, Greece

Arrive in Athens and drive to Mistra. Built below Mt. Taiyetos, fabled Mistra was one of the last flourishing centers of Byzantium. Check-in at Hotel Mystras Grand Palace Resort & Spa, located in a lush valley. This superb hotel will be our home for the next six nights. In the evening, enjoy a "welcome" dinner at the hotel's excellent restaurant.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 3 : Nov 11 - Tour SPARTA & THE EUMELIA OLIVE GROVE

The fertile landscape around Sparta is radiant and inspiring, covered with olive trees, evergreens, fruit groves and aromatic shrubs. Streams flow down from the mountain, whose sides are bordered by luxuriant oleanders. Drive to Eumelia, an organic olive tree grove and farm of 600 olive trees that has belonged to the same family since the late 19th Century. Meet the owners for an orientation and tour of the grove, and learn about their organic and sustainable farming methods, the beneficial health properties of olive oil, and the effects of climate change in this part of Greece. Learn also how to prepare the nets for the harvest of the olives and help to pick the olives.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 4 : Nov 12 - Tour MONEMBASIA

Participate in the harvest of the olives at Eumelia. Pick vegetables herbs and edible wild greens from the organic garden and prepare for a cooking demonstration of local culinary specialties. Enjoy the mea! In the afternoon, explore Monembasia, a remarkable walled medieval town built between the Aegean Sea and a formidable rock. In the middle ages Monembasia produced the Malmsey wine, which was favored by Europe’s courts and aristocracy. Explore the town’s narrow lanes, old churches and walls that come down to the sea. Dinner will be served at a taverna in Sparta.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 5 : Nov 13 - Tour MISTRA

Pick the olives in the morning, get them ready for the olive mill, and then learn how to make your own natural soap by combining virgin olive oil with herbs. After lunch, visit Mistra. Situated on a conical hill that commands superlative views, Mistra was one of the last flourishing centers of the Byzantine Empire. Today, it is an entire medieval walled city, with several churches, noted for their luminous frescoes, palaces and houses from that period. . Perhaps no other place in Greece gives visitors such a complete picture of the medieval period as Mistra does.

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Meals Included

Day 6 : Nov 14 - Tour DIROS CAVE & MANI’S AREOPOLIS

An olive oil tasting and workshop unlocks the secrets of extra virgin olive oil, Greece’s green gold, and teaches how to distinguish quality extra virgin olive oils from ordinary olive oils. Also, taste a variety of edible olives cultivated in Greece. After lunch, explore the magnificent Diros Cave, with its underground lake and rich display of stalactites and stalagmites. Stop at Areopolis, a typical town in the Mani, Greece’s southernmost peninsula, built on a small plain above the sea. Here, we have the opportunity to see Mani’s distinctive tower houses.

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Meals Included

Day 7 : Nov 15 - Tour THE OLIVE MILL & SPARTA’S MUSEUMS

In the morning, visit the oil mill to witness the process of making olive oil, and taste fresh olive oil. Later, visit two museums in Sparta: The Museum of the Olive & Greek Olive Oil, housed in an old olive warehouse, whose exhibits chronicle all aspects of the olive in Greece through the centuries; and the Archaeological Museum, home to finds from excavations at Sparta’s ancient sites.

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Meals Included

Day 8 : Nov 16 - Tour MISTRA/THE SKOURAS WINERY/NAFPLION

Leave the hotel in the morning to drive to Argolis, in the northern Peloponnese. Stop at the excellent Skouras winery, known for its fine wines and impressive facilities. Enjoy lunch accompanied by the estate's wines. After lunch, continue to nearby Nafplion, one of Greece's loveliest old towns, where we will spend the night at the boutique Hotel Ippoliti. Enjoy time at leisure and a farewell dinner at a local taverna.

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Meals Included

Day 9 : Nov 17 - Transfer NAFPLION/USA

Drive from Nafplion to Athens' airport for the return flight home.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Tour Price

$4,280 per person, double occupancy

Single room supplement: $380

Journey Extension

Post Journey Extensions

Explore Athens’ ancient landmark sites and taste its vibrant contemporary life on a two-day extension. Details will be provided upon registration.

Inclusions

Call/Email us to book

E-Mail : Reservations@ThalassaJourneys.com

Phone : +1 866.633.3611