Day 1 – Wednesday, Oct. 08
Depart USA for Rhodes, Greece
Depart home city via your chosen air carrier to Rhodes, Greece, arriving the following day, Thursday, October 09th.
Day 2 – Thursday, Oct. 09
Arrive Rhodes, Greece
Arrive on the island of Rhodes, known as the “Island of Roses.” After clearing customs, you will be personally met by Carl who will escort you to your awaiting transportation which will take you to the Five Star Deluxe hotel, The Ixian Grand (www.theixiangrand.gr), your “home” for the next five nights. Anne will meet you upon your arrival at the hotel and will help you with your check-in. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy a little time to freshen-up, rest and relax, and explore the property. This evening, please join Carl and Anne and their Greek friends for a welcome cocktail reception and brief orientation about our tour. Following the reception, we will have a “Welcome to Rhodes” dinner at the hotel.
Day 3 – Friday, Oct. 10
Rhodes, Greece / Tour of Medieval Crusader City & Lindos
After breakfast, we will have a tour of the beautiful “Island of Roses.” Rhodes has a rich and varied history and was the home of Richard the Lion Hearted, the Knights of St. John during the Crusades. The medieval fortress city of Rhodes was abandoned when the Crusaders were defeated by the Ottoman Turks in 1522-23. The ancient city is one of the best examples of a Crusader fortress in existence today. Rhodes was also the home of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World. The giant statue that stood over the entrance of the harbor was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 B.C.
A short drive from the city is the ancient site of the Acropolis of Lindos. Located on a hill overlooking the charming town of the same name, is the original site of a 4th century B.C. temple which is dedicated to the goddess Athena and is one of the best known sites in Greece. Four hundred feet below the Acropolis lies the Bay of St. Paul, where the apostle landed during his voyages and after his release from prison in Malta.
This evening dinner is included at the hotel or you may want to venture out on your own and try one of Rhodes many specialty restaurants located along the coast or in the fortress city. A great dining experience awaits you and your friends this evening…guaranteed!
Personal note: Anne and I have been to Rhodes (Rhodos in Greek) many times, but always on cruises. And every time we visit Rhodes, we always say to each other; “This place is so great! We need to just come and stay here for week or so”…but we never have. This trip will finally fix that scenario! This is one of our favorite Greek islands and I’m sure that it will be one of yours also.
Day 4 – Saturday, Oct. 11
Rhodes, Greece / Tour to Marmaris, Turkey
This morning we will have a full day guided tour to Marmaris, Turkey. After breakfast, we will board one of Greece’s modern ferry boats for a cruise to this popular resort destination.
Once a little fishing port, Marmaris has evolved into a Turkish Rivera. During the day, people head for the beach to do catamaran trips, parasailing, scuba diving, water skiing and sailing. In the evening the old quarter of the town is bustling with bazaars and restaurants. Other than that, all I know is that Marmaris was founded around the 6th century B.C. and that it became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1425.
Go to the Marmaris link in the e-mail (http://marmaris.org/marmaris_blog/Default.aspx) for more information and a detailed description of this special place in Turkey.
Personal note: As I mentioned in my opening Personal notes, my Greek friends have tried to get Anne and me to visit for years. They say it’s a great place and I have to believe them. After all, they have guided us for the last 16 years and they haven’t let us down yet!
Day 5 – Sunday, Oct. 12
Rhodes, Greece / Tour to Symi Island, Greece
The Greeks say that Symi Island has the most beautiful harbors in Greece. On either side of a steep-sided fjord rise tier upon tier of houses, some white, some pastel yellow, but virtually all are a reminder that 100 years ago this was one of Greece's most prosperous islands. There has been virtually no modern concrete construction here and these fine old houses are being renovated and preserved for visitors, like us, to admire.
Symi is located in the Southern Dodecanese Islands, just north of Rhodes and close to the coast of south-west Turkey. OK…I’m busted. I copied the above text from what Conde-Naste had to say about Symi Island (It’s also the consensus of my Greek buddies). Read it for yourself by going to http://www.symivisitor.com/about_symi.htm.
Personal note: Again, my Greek friends have tried to get us to visit Symi for years. They love this place! If they love it, then I know that we’re going to love it too!
Day 6 – Monday, Oct. 13
Rhodes, Greece / Free Day
For the last few days you have been kept a little busy and you deserve some time for yourselves, so today is totally free for you to do whatever you want to do. Relax by the pool of your deluxe hotel, go for a swim in the ocean, stroll the cobblestone streets of the fortress city, rent a car for the day and sightsee the island on your own and at your own pace…it’s up to you.
This is our last night in Rhodes and the evening is free for you to have one last memorable evening on this spectacular island. Dine at the hotel or search out one of Rhodes many “special hide-away” restaurants that dot the island.
Day 7 – Tuesday, Oct. 14
Rhodes / Kalambaka (via Athens) / Tour of Delphi
After breakfast, we will transfer to the Rhodes Airport for a short flight to Athens, where upon arrival at the Athens International Airport, we will be met by our local guide. After boarding our deluxe motorcoach, we will drive north through the fertile plain of Boetia, past the towns of Levadia and Arachova (famous for its carpets and rugs) to the ancient site of Delphi, which was once considered the center of the ancient world and the center of the earth.
Upon arrival in Delphi, we will visit the archaeological site and museum. After Delphi, we will proceed to the picturesque town of Kalambaka arriving late afternoon for a two night stay. The rest of the day is free to explore Kalambaka. Overnight accommodations and dinner will be at the 5 Star Hotel Meteora (www.meteorahotels.com).
Day 8 – Wednesday, Oct. 15
Kalambaka / Tour of Meteora
This morning we will visit breathtaking Monasteries of Meteora where, amid striking scenery, ageless monasteries are perched atop huge rocks seemingly suspended in mid-air. The monasteries are exquisite specimens of Byzantine architecture and are often featured in movies, travelogues and brochures of Greece. The dramatic scenery and history that you will experience today will be unforgettable!
Personal note: Anne and I have visited the Monasteries of Meteora several times during our 38 years of traveling the world and we always look forward to our next trip to this magical place. This part of Greece is very special and I know that you will be as impressed as we were the first time we saw it. This mountainous area of Greece is magnificent!
The afternoon and evening are free for you to do what you want. Stroll the quaint town and mix with the locals, shop for unique souvenirs from this area, have lunch at one of the many picturesque restaurants that inhabit the town or just sit at a tavern and drink “retsina,” the traditional Greek wine, and watch the world go by. It’s up to you!
This evening, please join Carl and Anne and your fellow travelers for a cocktail reception followed by dinner at the hotel.
Day 9 – Thursday, Oct. 16
Kalambaka / Athens
After breakfast, we start our journey back to Athens via Trikala, Lamia, Thermopylae (with a stop at the Leonidas Monument, where the battle of the 300 Spartans took place). Arrive Athens in the afternoon and check-in at the 5 Star Deluxe Hotel Electra Palace for a two night stay (http://www.electrahotels.gr/electra-palace-athens/index.html).
Tonight is on your own and that’s a good thing. Why? Because you are in Athens, Greece and your deluxe hotel, the Electra Palace, is actually located in the Plaka, the area which is at the base of the Acropolis and was the beginning of ancient Athens. Just walk out of the Electra Palace, turn right and after a one minute walk you will be in the middle of all the action!
Tonight eat, drink, and be merry at one of the “movie set” outdoor restaurants that line the narrow cobblestone streets of the Plaka. However, don’t have dinner in the Plaka at the Thespes Restaurant because that’s where we are going to have our farewell dinner Friday evening!
Personal note: If possible, watch the movie “300” before the trip. It’s a movie about the 300 Spartan’s stand against an army of 10,000 Persians in 480 B.C. Watching the movie before you go will give you a better perspective of the monument and the area that surrounds it.
Day 10 – Friday, Oct. 17
This morning, enjoy a memorable half-day sightseeing tour of Athens. Our expert guides take you to see the center of the city, Syntagma Square (Constitution Square), the House of Parliament, the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the National Library. Then, continue down Herod Atticus Street to see the Evzones (Palace guards) in their picturesque uniforms, the Panathenaic Stadium (where the first international Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896). Then continue to the Athens of the 2nd century A.D., with the remarkable Temple of the Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch, and on to the Acropolis where you will visit the architectural masterpiece, the Parthenon on Acropolis Hill.
The afternoon is free for you to explore the city of Athens on your own. Have lunch at one of the many fine restaurants on Syntagma Square, do some last minute shopping, or just relax for the afternoon.
This evening, please join Carl and Anne and our Greek hosts for a very special farewell dinner in the Plaka (the ancient beginnings of Athens) at the Thespes Restaurant. Our Greek hosts will do all of the ordering for us so all we have to do is just “indulge.” What a great way to end our stay in Greece!!
Personal note: The Thespes Restaurant is one of our very favorites. It’s not as fancy as some of the other Plaka restaurants, but the food is outstanding and the service is great and mainly, this is where the Greeks go to eat. This is the place!
Day 11 – Saturday, Oct. 18
Depart Athens for the USA
Individual transfers from the hotel to the airport for check-in. Depart from Athens to USA and home city via your chosen air carrier. Arrive the same day.
Note: You will be taken care of on an individual basis if your itinerary varies from the Oct. 08 – 18, 2008 (i.e., arrive earlier, stay longer, go to another destination, etc.)