I’m back from my month long adventure and full of inspiration, ideas, to-do’s and general end-of-year panic!! But it’s all good. And I have so much to share with you that I have that buzzing going again!! Let me start with the trip we just completed (I tried to be brief but there was just so much to share!).
The trip to Greece was . . . . well it was amazing. I was so happy that I opted for a discovery tour of Greece through Gate1 Travel. They have trips that work with small groups. We were 20 people, a fairly diverse group, but with a common interest in the history of Greece. The tour guide was infectious with his love of Greece. He was knowledgeable, enthusiastic and knew how to engage people. The country itself was beautiful. We drove over 1,200 miles (well our bus driver Plato did, I sat back and relaxed). We went over or through mountains, along coastlines, over bridges and took ferries. I felt we really saw and experienced Greece.
The history of Greece is long and complicated being influenced by many different peoples. I had to do a special map for my journal in order to get a better understanding of where we are today before I started down the historic path. I put a little brad at each location we were stopping for a night or two. I had so much fun making this. And yes, my kids think I am a bit whack-o, that’s okay.
The museums we went to were so well done! They were all built at the archeological excavated sites. So you learned about the site and saw the artifacts before walking through the excavations. I will mention only a few here.
The museum in Vergina showcased the tomb of Philip II, and was actually built over the actual tomb. Philip II (359 to 336 B.C.) was the King of Macedonia and father of Alexander the Great. You could actually walk down to the entrance to his tomb in the museum. The artifacts found in his tomb were unbelievable riches and included his gold crown that was a delicate wreathe of leaves and acorns and a golden box with detailed designs.
Delphi was spectacular! The oracle of Delphi was one small area housed with the Temple of Apollo originally built in 7th century B.C. There are only a few remaining columns along with the foundation left. An illustration in the museum shows what the site originally looked like. It was a massive complex of buildings, a theater and stadium. It was actually used as a treasury. The patterns of adornment (see carved limestone) and the craftsman ship (see carved ivory foot from statue) were stunning!
The museum in Mycenae featured some of the oldest artifacts we saw. The site dated back to 1500-1250 B.C. The entrances were grand in scale at both the acropolis (the carved lions are missing their heads) and the beehive tomb referred to as the Treasury of Atreus out side the walls of the acropolis using massive stones. How did they do that back then??? The gold jewelry found at one of the grave sites was jaw dropping. It was as contemporary as any jewelry today. Yup, my mind was blown!!
And lets not forget ‘The Acropolis’. I did learn that the word acropolis simply means a fortified area of a city often built on a hill. There are ancient Acropoli (is that the plural?) all around the country. But the biggie is in Athens and is what everyone associates with Greece. The current remains at the site include a cluster of buildings built in the 5th century B.C. to honor Athena. The site and its adjacent museum did not disappoint!
We did visit a vineyard that had been established in 1850’s that was beautiful and sampled some of their wines. We had lunch at an olive grove where they bottle and sell olive oil, olive oil soaps and loads of other things. It was a charming location that is often used for weddings and events. The lunch was superb. Okay, to be fair, the food throughout Greece was superb. I did find a little souvenir for myself, a porcelain pendant made to look like micro-mosaics. I don’t know the artist or even if these are mass-produced. I did see them one other place on the trip. Regardless, I will cherish mine. I love it!
And of course I have my journal full of wonderful memories and crazy, silly things that occurred on the trip. My journal is always my favorite souvenir of the trip. It brings back waves of emotions as I flip through it. Below I have shared a few of the pages.
I sure hope you have enjoyed the journey with me . . . well a little bit. I did find it funny that the first question everyone asked us was “which islands did you visit”? Yes, Greece has numerous picturesque islands but there is so much more to Greece than its islands. If you every get a chance to visit, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough!!
To me honest, the trip did not end in Greece. We had a two-day stop over in Roman and then jumped on the Celebrity Edge for a transatlantic cruise back home to Fort Lauderdale! It was grand!!