2pm Meet in the departure hall, at Pearson airport terminal 1, to check in for the Air Canada flight to Athens. Depart on a nonstop overnight flight for Athens at 4:40pm meals served en route.
Arrive in Athens at 9:20am. Meet our representative. Start the day at the world-renowned Acropolis, visit the Propylaea, the Erectheum, the Parthenon, & Mars Hill where Paul preached his famous “sermon” on the Areopagus, the “Unknown God” (Acts 17:22). View the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached. The remainder of the day is at leisure. 2 nights: President Hotel, Athens. [Breakfast & dinner]
Athens, Corinth & Mycenae
Travel to Ancient Corinth the once glorious city near the Isthmus, one of the most important cities Paul visited (Acts 18:1-18). Paul stayed here longer than any other city with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2-3). In Corinth Paul spoke of the “corruptible crown” given to victorious athletes (1 Cor. 9:24-27). Visit the Archaeological Museum, Forum, Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio. Continue to Mycenae one of the major centres of Bronze Age Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC which gave its name, Mycenaean, to the period. At its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares.
Meteora & Kalambaka
Start your fascinating journey through the Greek mainland travelling from Athens to Kalambaka, in central Greece. Enjoy scenery of striking beauty en route to one of the wonders of the Byzantine world. View the ageless Meteora Monasteries perched on top of huge looming pinnacles. The Meteora ~ literally meaning the “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly, near the Pineios River and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. Visit one of the unique monasteries full of Christian treasures and art. 1 night: Meteora Hotel, Kalambaka. [Breakfast & dinner]
Enjoy the beautiful countryside of Central and Northern Greece, as you drive to Veria. Stop to visit the Jewish synagogue, marking the site of the ancient synagogue that Paul visited and preached in; and The Bema of the Apostle Paul. Continue to Thessaloniki, en route stop at the Museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai (Vergina). Then on to Thessaloniki where we stop to visit the St David Hosios monastery A UNESCO world heritage site rich in mosaics and frescos. Continue to the Museum of Byzantine Culture with 3 unique sections dedicated to different Christian periods. 1 night: Capsis Hotel, Thessaloniki. [Breakfast & dinner]
Amphilpolis & Phillippi & Kavala
Like Paul and his companion, follow the Via Ignatia en route to Amphipolis. Stop to see the famous funerary Lion of Amphipolis. Then continue to Philippi. Visit: The Baptistery of Lydia near the river, where Paul baptized Lydia the first convert on European soil and where the baptism of the jailer soon followed; The ruins of the Forum of Philippi; The Christian Basilicas; The “Prison of Paul” and the Theater. Continue to Kavala (Neapolis) a picturesque city-port; see the Roman Aqueduct and the Byzantine Castle. 1 night: Galaxy Hotel, Kavala. [Breakfast & dinner]
Turkey, Canakkale & Troy
Drive through Thrace, passing Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis. Cross the border between Greece and Turkey and meet the Turkish representative. Continue to legendary Troy, immortalised by Homer in the stories of King Priamus, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. See the archaeological excavations that have revealed nine separate periods of settlement, including the ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple, a theatre and a wooden replica of the Trojan horse, commemorating the epic victory 13th century BCE. Continue to Canakkale. 1 night: Iris Hotel, Canakkale. [Breakfast & dinner]
Pergamon, Thyatira & Smyrna
Travel to Pergamum (2:12-17), a great Hellenistic capital in a superb mountain top setting. Visit the well preserved ruins of the ancient city and enjoy a spectacular view of the Aegean Sea from the Acropolis, where a beautiful Altar to Zeus once stood. Continue to Thyatira where you visit one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. The Church, set in an ancient commercial town with strong ties to Troy and Sardis, was where, according to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul encountered the first Christian on European soil. Proceed to the ancient city of Smyrna (One of the Seven Churches), where St. Polycarp was martyred, in what is today’s Izmir, the 3rd largest city in Turkey and the modern face of the country. 2 nights: Blanca Hotel, Izmir. [Breakfast & dinner]
Drive to Ephesus, one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation (Rev.1:11). Under Roman rule from 130 BCE, the city then boasted three hundred thousand residents. In antiquity Ephesus was once a great city and metropolitan center, whose extensive ruins are among the best preserved in the world. Stroll down the Cardo – the main street of ancient Ephesus, imagine the splendour of its ancient buildings and the hustle bustle of daily life. Visit: – the Library of Celsus, the Agora, the Odeon, Trajan’s Fountain, Domitianus’ Temple, the Roman latrines, the Theatre and Stadium in which Paul preached the gospel. Paul stayed in Ephesus for 2 years, wrote the first letter to the Corinthians here and probably other Epistles. Paul also preached in the synagogue and the lecture hall of Tyrannus, and after 2 years everybody in the province had heard the word of the Lord. God accomplished miracles at the hands of Paul and when pieces of cloth that touched Paul’s skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and they were healed (Acts 19:8-12). Other well-known disciples preached in Ephesus, including Priscilla, Aquila, Apollos, Erostus and John the Apostle. Continue to Mary’s House, reputedly the true place where Mary spent her last years, before she died. Visit the Basilica of St. John, the author of the Book of Revelation, one of the largest churches in its time. [Breakfast & dinner]
Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea & Pamukkale
Drive to Sardis, capital of the ancient Lydian kingdom – 6th century BCE (Rev. 3:1-6), one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. The church was described as being “dead” (Rev, 3:1). The visit includes: The marble court of the imperial cult built in honour of the Roman emperors. Walk by the large palestrae and stop to see one of the largest ancient synagogues ever built. Stop to visit Philadelphia, referred to as the New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:7-13), one of the sites of the Seven Churches and see the church of John. Continue to Laodicea, founded in the 2nd Century BCE by Antiochus II Theos who named it for his wife, where you visit another of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. 1 night: Colossae Thermal Hotel Pamukkale. [Breakfast & dinner]
Pamukkale, Iconuim (Konya) & Cappadocia
Drive to Iconium also known as Konya, the city in which St. Paul and St. Barnabas preached during the First Missionary Journey in about 47-48 AD & were forced to flee (Acts 14:1-5 and Acts 14:21). They probably visited it again during the Second Missionary Journey in about 50 (see Acts 16:2). In Christian legend, it was also the birthplace of Saint Thecla. Centuries later, it became the focus for the Whirling Dervishes’ mystical order, founded by ‘Mevlana’ or master Sufi philosopher. Visit the Monastery, which houses the sacred silver and gold decorated Tomb of the Mevlana. Explore Mevlana Museum and learn about the mystical religious sect known as the Whirling Dervishes. Continue to Cappadocia (the Land of Beautiful horses). En route stop by 13thC Selchuk Caravan Inn called Sultan Hani. Continue to Cappadocia, famous for the unusual landscape, underground cities and towns carved from the region’s soft volcanic rock. 2 nights: Lodge hotel Cappadocia. [Breakfast & dinner]
Tour the wonders of Cappadocia including: – the Goreme Open Air Museum admiring its numerous cave churches decorated with fine paintings and frescoes; Zelve Valley, where Christians settled as early as the first century and hundreds of monks lived for some 800 years of contemplation and Bible reading; the pottery town of Avanos, Uchisar; the incredible natural rock fortress that dominates Cappadocia’s skyline and Ortahisar. Continue to the underground city of Kaymakli, where thousands of early Christians lived concealed from persecutors in eight story complexes of subterranean dwellings. Overnight in Cappadocia. [Breakfast & dinner]
Enjoy an OPTIONAL early morning Hot Air Balloon ride over this fabulous area. Cost per person $299. Please mark YES to the Hot Air Balloon on the Application. Transfer to Cappadocia Airport for the flight to Istanbul. Then tour the Chora Church of the Holy Saviour, one of the most famous Byzantine Empire churches, with magnificent mosaics describing a myriad of Biblical scenes in chronological order. Take an unforgettable sunset cruise on the Bosporus. Transfer to the hotel. 2 nights: Crowne Plaza Old City hotel Istanbul. [Breakfast & dinner]
Visit the Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque, with its beautiful Iznik tiles; and the ancient Hippodrome, where chariot and horse races were held. Continue to the iconic Topkapi Palace, which offers a window into the mystique of the Sultans and their harems. A vast complex of pavilions, gardens, towers, monumental gates and spectacular vistas, harboring treasures of gold, silver, precious porcelain and gems including the notorious 85 karat Spoon Makers’ Diamond. Visit archaeological highlights, that relate to the sites toured, at the famous Istanbul Archaeological Museum (time permitting visit the Israel section to see the inscription from Hezekiah’s tunnel and artifacts from Megiddo). Spend the remainder of the day at leisure in Istanbul with time to explore this fascinating city and do some shopping. [Breakfast & dinner]
RETURN TO CANADA
Transfer to the airport for the 6:20am Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt arriving at 8:20am. 3pm Continue on the Air Canada flight to Toronto, arriving at 4:25pm.
JOIN REV. GEOFF ROSS ANDST. ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
What is the deadline for registration?
There is no deadline. We accept registration on a “first-come-first serve” basis. There is always a limited number of spaces available and as soon as we sell them – the group is completed. To avoid disappointment please register as soon as you decide.
When is the final payment?
Usually it is 60 days before departure, but there are some exceptions for non-standard tours. Your invoice will indicate clearly when your payments are due.
What happens with my deposit when you cancel a group?
In a very unlike situation when we have to cancel a group for reasons out of our control, your deposit is protected and fully refundable. When you cancel on your own please make sure that your non-refundable deposit is protected by your own insurance.
Can I request a specific seat on a flight?
For the group reservations the airlines don't give us an option of selecting specific seats. When your ticket is issued your seat is guaranteed, but usually not printed on the e-ticket. However, you can always check-in online 24 hours before departure and change your seat based on availability.
Tell me which hotels we will be staying?
We always book best, first-class hotels. We frequently check them for best quality. Hotels are confirmed about two months before departure and we will give you all details in the final itinerary
I'm traveling alone & don't have a roommate. What should I do?
Please register ASAP. We will take a note of your request and will try to match you with another passenger willing to share. Other options are single room (with a supplement) or forming a triple room if you know another two people willing to share.
I have several food allergies. Can I request a special menu?
Please let us know about your food restrictions. We will order special meals for your flights, if available. All breakfasts and some dinners at the destinations are buffets, so you can select food by yourself. The restaurants at the destinations will do their best to offer you individual alternate to standard set menus for the group. You will need to communicate your needs through tour leaders.
What is eTA? Does it apply to me?
If you are Canadian or US citizen – no need to worry. It applies to citizens of other countries. They will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Be prepared: Apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada. Most applicants get approved within minutes. However, some applications can take several days to process so don’t wait until the last minute. Apply and get help at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start-int.asp
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**THE ITINERARY IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AND MAY VARY IN THE ORDER YOU VISIT**