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THE HARVEST OF THE OLIVES

And Other Discoveries in Greece
During the Golden Light of Autumn

 

A Unique and Alternative Participatory Travel Experience in Greece              

Departure       November 14 – 22, 2020

“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 14 - Depart the USA

Depart the United States for Athens, Greece.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 2 : Nov 15 - Tour ATHENS/SPARTA-MISTRA, Peloponnese, Greece

Arrive in Athens and drive to Mistra, in the Peloponesse. 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 16 - Tour AT THE OLIVE GROVE

The fertile landscape around Sparta is radiant and inspiring, covered with olive trees, evergreens, fruit groves and aromatic shrubs. Drive to an olive grove and farm of about 2,000 olive trees and meet the grove managers for an orientation and tour of the grove. Learn about their sustainable farming methods, how to prepare the nets for the help, and help to pick the olives.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 4 : Nov 17 - Tour MONEMVASIA

Enjoy a relaxing morning at our hotel or alternatively participate in the harvest of the olives. Continue to Monemvasia, a remarkable walled medieval town built between the Aegean Sea and a formidable rock. In the Middle Ages, Monemvasia 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.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 5 : Nov 18 - Tour MISTRA

Pick the olives in the morning, and get them ready for the olive mill. Then enjoy a special lunch, and cooking class that incorporates local specialties. 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.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 6 : Nov 19 - Tour DIROS CAVE & MANI’S AREOPOLIS

Today enjoy a leisurely tour that explores via small small boats the magnificent Diros Cave, with its underground lake and rich display of stalactites and stalagmites. We also visit Areopolis, a typical town in the Mani, Greece’s southernmost peninsula, built on a small plain above the sea, known for its distinctive tower houses. Lunch is at a traditional taverna in the countryside.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 7 : Nov 20 - Tour OLIVE TASTING & SPARTA’S MUSEUMS

Today 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. In Sparta, we visit two museums: 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. Dinner at a taverna in Sparta.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 8 : Nov 21 - Tour MISTRA/THE SKOURAS WINERY/NAFPLION

Leave the hotel in the morning to drive to Argolis, in the northern Peloponnese. Visit the Skouras winery, known for its fine wines and impressive facilities, where we enjoy lunch, accompanied by the estate's wines. 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.

Accommodation

Meals Included

Day 9 : Nov 22 - Transfer NAFPLION/USA

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

Accommodation

Meals Included

Tour Price

$TBD per person, double occupancy

Single room supplement: $TBD

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

Expert Guest Lecturer

Mort Rosenblum

Mort Rosenblum

Mort Rosenblum’s bestselling Olives: The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit won a James Beard Award for food writing, but it really is about how olives have oiled the wheels of civilization since the Bible was a rough draft.  Rosenblum, a foreign correspondent since the 1960s, restored a 400-year-old grove on a Provence hillside, a retreat in between reporting on war and peace around the world.  He has written a dozen other books, from Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light to Escaping Plato’s Cave: How America’s Blindness to the Rest of the World Threatens Our Survival.

Cities and Sites on the Itinerary

Call/Email us to book

E-Mail : Reservations@ThalassaJourneys.com

Phone : +1 866.633.3611