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  GREECE January 2004    
  Talbot Bible Lands Tour  

 Greece was the birthplace of European civilization. The period from 700 BC saw the rise of the great city states of Athens, Corinth and Sparta, frequently engaged in long struggles for supremacy, and uniting only when faced with the common threat of invasion by the Persian Empire. The zenith was reached in the fifth century BC when Athens became the cultural and artistic centre of the Mediterranean, producing magnificent works of architecture, sculpture, drama and literature. Athens lost her empire through a mutually destructive struggle with her arch rival Sparta. The nation was then forcibly united under Alexander the Great. After defeating the sagging military might of Persia in a number of major battles, the expansion of the empire spread Greek influence through the East as far as India and through Egypt. The empire fragmented after Alexanders death in 323 BC, the country later came under the sway of Rome. Under the Roman emperor Constantine, the empire gained a new capital in Constantinople, and Greece came under the control of the Eastern Empire when the empire divided. The Byzantines were, however, unable effectively to defend the whole of their empire from invaders, and only occasionally did Greece enjoy the security of effective imperial rule. The major beneficiaries of this were the Venetians, who increased their influence in Greece and other parts of the empire.

Itinerary and general information

Greece is situated in southeast Europe on the Mediterranean. The mainland consists of the following regions: Central Greece, Peloponnesus, Thessaly (east/central), Epirus (west), Macedonia (north/northwest) and Thrace (northwest). Euboea, the second largest of the Greek islands, lying to the east of the central region, is also considered to be part of the mainland region. The Peloponnesus peninsula is separated from the northern mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth. The northern mainland is dissected by high mountains (such as the Pindus) that extend southwards towards a landscape of fertile plains, pine-forested uplands and craggy, scrub-covered foothills. The islands account for one-fifth of the land area of the country. The majority are thickly clustered in the Aegean between the Greek and Turkish coasts. The Ionian Islands are the exception; they are scattered along the west coast in the Ionian Sea. The Aegean archipelago includes the Dodecanese, lying off the Turkish coast, of which Rhodes is the best known; the Northeast Aegean group, including Lemnos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Ikaria; the Sporades, off the central mainland; and the Cyclades, comprising 39 islands (of which only 24 are inhabited). Crete, the largest island, is not included in any formal grouping.

Common Koine Greek was widely spoken and with Pax Romana allowed for the spread of the Gospel easily over a vast area. 

 Byzantium finally fell to the Turks in 1453, although the process of conquest was already well underway by the end of the 14th century. For the next 350 years, Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire. Many attempts were made to shake off the yoke of the Ottomans, such as the rising of 1770, which was supported by Catherine the Great. After a bitter War of Independence from 1821, a free state was declared in 1829.

 Tours in Greece


Eurail youth flexipass

The Acropolis*

I had the wonderful privilege of traveling with the Talbot School of Theology to the Bible lands of  Greece and Rome December 31, 2003 - January 22, 2004.  Dr. Richard  and Mrs. Donna Rigsby led the tour, Dr. Rigsby is a professor at Talbot and Golden Gate, then we were led on site by author, geographer, lecturer, and archeologist, Gordon Franz and several excellent tour guides, Caliope and Poppy. 

The Parthenon

Mars Hill*
Dorian Inn Hotel
     We departed from LAX on December 31 we had a layover in London and then arrived in Athens on January 1.  We stayed at the Hotel Dorian Inn.
Olympic stadium*, first used in modern times in the Olympics of 1896.  Original marble seats are still in place with fairly new track.

Visitor center at Sounion.  The earliest literary reference to Sounion, appears in the Odyssey, where it is called, "the sacred promontory of the Athenians."  Earliest finds here date from the seventh century BC  It continues to be a landmark for ships today.

     January 2 we visited the Acropolis.  Then we rode by tour bus to Sounion(click for movie) and visited the Temple of Poseidon.  We then went to Piraeus (Athens' harbor) and departed by ferry to Heraklion on the island of Crete.

Temple of Poseidon
Sign at Sounion
Sunset at Sounion
View of the sea from Sounion
Temple of Poseidon
Temple of Poseidon
The Mediterranean or Aegean Sea, as this part of it is called, is filled with islands, this one visible from Sounion.
Leaving Athens
Ferry we took to Crete
Our bus and ferry in Crete
Another view of our ferry, Festos Palace
Sunrise leaving Athens for Myconos

January 3 We drove around Heraklion, and saw the Church of Titus.  Then went to Knossos, followed by Mount Ida,  and returned to Heraklion.  Where we stayed in the Hotel Olympic.

Knossos palace

Didn't expect to see snow on the trip but here it is atop Mt. Ida.

Hotel Photo
January 4 we visited The Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, then ancient area called Gortys, and Fair Haven.  We then departed for Piraeus (the port of Athens) by ferry. crete/gortys4.jpg
Most of the group shortly after leaving Athens on the Express Afrodidi ferry
Leaving Athens for Myconos
The island of Tinos on route to Myconos
The island of Ceros an island near Myconos
     January 5 We transfered to another ship to to visit the island of Myconos, where we stayed at the Khohyli Hotel. myconos/islandfromship.jpg
Another island stop along the way at Ceros
Bay and windmills from our hotel
     January 6 we remained on Myconos and went to their special holiday celebration called Theophania or Epiphany festival.  The young men from the island compete to retrieve a cross thrown into the sea by the priest.  The winner gets to receive offerings from all the island inhabitants for one day.  Last year, the winner received $12,000 euros. myconos/mehotel.jpg
Me at the Khohyli Hotel
One of the beaches and shops at Myconos
January 7 We went to a museum on Myconos and then took a 6 hour ferry back to the Hotel Dorian Inn in Athens in the evening.  ATHENS/myconos12.jpg
Sunset at Myconos
A variety of fresh and frozen fish are available in the downtown meat and fish market in Athens
January 8 A few of us started the day at local fish and meat market, then we revisited the Acropolis and visited the Archeological Museum of Piraeus in Athens.  Then sailed by ferry to the island of Patmos where John wrote the book of Revelation.  Here we stayed at the Hotel Effie
Temple of Apollo from the Agora
A bronze figure at the Piraeus Archeological Museum
ATHENS/Patmos view of harbor from Monastery of St John, wk 030401.jpg
Patmos view of harbor
      January 9 more of Patmos
Patmos view of harbor from Monastery of St John*
Dan, Gary, and I hiked to the top of the mountain above the hotel at sunrise, where we saw this church.
January 10 more Patmos we were supposed to leave this evening, but due to the worst storm in 20 years we are "exiled to Patmos" for an extra day and two extra nights.  We spent the day in hiking, shopping, and sitting in the hotel. patmos/hoteleffie.JPG
Hotel Effie in the port city Skala on Patmos
Me, on our first day, at St. John's monastery overlooking Skala. 
January 11 more Patmos patmos/ourbusinpatmos.JPG
The first day we were taken by bus on a tour of the island, from then on, we were on foot.
The first day was gorgeous, then the next two days were very stormy.
  January 12 we left Patmos at 3:30 a.m. for Piraeus, at 6:00 a.m. we had to come into an island port of Kora until noon waiting for the sea to bemore calm.  We then stayed overnight in Athens arriving at 11:30 p.m.  and stayed in the Acropol Hotel, which was very nice.   Athens Acropol Hotel Athens
Acropol Hotel
January 13 we traveled by bus to visit the monasteries in Meteora and then stayed at the Hotel Edelweiss in Kalambaka. Edeilweiss
Hotel Edelweiss
meteora/Varlaam 18.JPG
View down to the road and parking
View of the old city of Kavala
      January 14 we visited Dion en-route to Kavala and stayed at the Hotel Egnatia, right on the main highway overlooking the bay, and close to the old Egnatia way.  kavala/dionsign.jpg
 kavala/kavala 013.jpg
kavala/kavala 012.jpg
Painting of Paul's landing at Neacopolis on a church in Kavala
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Inscription at the church
kavala/kavala 011.jpg
The church steeple
Philippi Byzantine Basilica*
     January 15 we visited the excavations of Philippi we returned to Kavala to see a museum, and then departed Kavala and traveled on to Thessaloniki arriving at dusk and visited the ruins and museum in the center of the city.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn.
Thessalonica forum, 2nd c AD
Philippi acropolis close up*
kavala/Berea 009.jpg
The children were so glad to visit with us during their recess.

January 16 We departed for Berea and Vergina.  We visited St. Pauls Altar in Berea and saw about 40 children in the church school next door.  Then in  Vergina we saw the Tomb of Phillip II and others in museum constructed under a huge mound,  and an ancient Theater and parts of an ancient palace.  We then went on to  Delphi and stayed in the Hotel Amalia in the Pitheros Mountains.  kavala/Paul's altr 4.JPG

Paul's altar in Berea

kavala/Berea 010.jpg
They eagerly accepted 30 copies of my testimony and tract written in Greek, Italian, and English.
Delphi Theater 2nd Century BC*

January 17 We hiked around the ancient ruins of Delphi and then traveled to Corinth, where we stayed at the Isthmia Prime Hotel right by the canal.

kavala/Delphi 001.jpg
Esther, Susy, Mae, and Terra in a very old oak tree at Delphi.
Amalia Delphi - General view
Hotel Amalia
Temple of Apollo rebuilt 4th century BC*

January 18 We looked at the ruins of Corinth and climbed the Acrocorinth.  In the afternoon we traveled to Patras to board a ferry to Ancona Rome.  Our final day in Greece.  Patras is a thriving commercial and industrial port, and the third most important town in Greece. From here, daily ferry services connect the country to Italy and the Ionian islands

Corinth Canal looking back to the east*
CORINTH/Corinth 005.jpg
Our hotel near the canal, Andy and Sugee
rome/Colosseum .jpg

January 19 we arrived in Rome and stayed at the Hotel Palatino in the heart of the ancient center of Rome, just a short walk away from the Coliseum

rome/Rome Arch of Titus from northwest, tb n012001.jpg
Arch of Titus from northwest*
Column of Trajan excavations*
Palatino Grand Hotel Rome, Hotels in Rome
Hotel Palatino
rome/St Petersbasilicafacade.jpg
St Peter's basilica facade*

January 20 we traveled by bus to the Vatican and saw the museums and St. Peters Basilica.  Then we visited the Forum and Coliseum.

rome/Roman soldiers.JPG
Roman soldiers outside the Colosseum
Ryan, Danny, Ernie, Lisa, Esther, and Michelle at the Colosseum
rome/Roman Civilization.JPG
Roman Civilization Museum

January 21 we visited the Roman Civilization Museum and St. Paul's Basilica. 

Pauline by the River wall
May at the Spanish Steps
January 22 We returned to the USA, we flew from Rome to London, then on to LAX  kavala/pauljrny.png rome/altartothenatons.jpg
Altar to the Nations
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