Kalimera! (“good day” in Greek)
I recently had the distinct pleasure of traveling to Athens and the Cycladic Islands as a representative for Academic Travel Abroad with travelers from the Association of Yale Alumni and Smithsonian Journeys. If you’ve never been to Greece or the picturesque Cycladic Islands, this is the trip to take! We were accompanied by Eleni Zachariou, our Greek historian and local expert who added real value and distinct character to all the sights by giving us the historical background at each location.
Our tour started in Athens, where we visited the sights of the acclaimed Acropolis with the majestic Parthenon and Erechtheum temples and enjoyed a lecture by Elani which told the story of this location’s turbulent history through Greek, Persian and Mycenaean influences. We then proceeded to the famous Greek Agora site where we were introduced to the extravagant complex that was once a thriving Greek marketplace where trade, entertainment and politics were daily cultural activities.
We were also treated to some excellent traditionally local meals throughout the small back streets of Athens while enjoying some time to shop and see more elusive sites along the way. This was a chance to feel the very tangible energy that Athens has. It was amazing.
On the third day, we drove to the port of Piraeus where we boarded our ship, the S.V. Panorama and set sail for the much-anticipated Cycladic Islands.
Delos, the birthplace of Apollo, was an amazing landscape of ruins from 2000 -1500 B.C. Mykonos was an island of quaint villages and amazing vistas of the Aegean Sea with tiny streets filled with friendly locals and enticing shops. Naxos, the largest of the Cylcades islands, was covered in breath-taking views of mountainous landscapes and we had a unique opportunity to visit one of Elani’s friends who has refurbished a beautiful historical home on the hillside looking down over the island’s harbor. Santorini is simply amazing. An ancient volcanic caldera forms a partial ring of islands on which three beautiful towns line the cliff-tops and offer a photographers dream for finding that dramatic shot. We rode the mules up the caldera’s rim and enjoyed a day of sites and shopping while basking in the warm Greek sunlight.
The glories of modern and ancient Greece were truly magnificent. Between our boat staff, Elani Zacharriou – our tour expert and Marty Gane – our tour manager, we were professionally immersed into a culture and civilization that astounded us all. The memories, experiences and friendships we all came away with from this tour will be something we will keep with us for a lifetime.
To see my slideshow from this tour, CLICK HERE.
Academic Travel Abroad