William Carey University: Study Travel and Excavation Program

STEP 2009 Greece, 21 Oct - 10 Nov 2009

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enroute Sat
31 Oct
(Day 1)

Depart USA from Gulfport (GPT); connections in Atlanta and New York (JFK); overnight flight from JFK to Athens.


1 Nov
(Day 2)

After our morning arrival in Athens; we drove to Sounion Bay for a look at the dramatically sited Temple to Poseidon; then we moved north to the Mycenaean remains and Hellenistic acropolis of Orchomenos--which we climbed with great effort; then it was off to Delphi, where we had a well-earned pizza and good sleep.

See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT: Paige and Amber at the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

RIGHT:  Andrew, Josh, and Luke atop ruins on the citadel of Orchomenos, you can almost make out our vans way down below (you don't get this on the bus tour!)
2 Nov
(Day 3)

In the morning, we visited Delphi, oracle of the god Apollo with dramatic mountainside ruins, the museum, and Temple of Athena Pronaos below; driving north, we stopped at the spring of Thermopylae and the site of the last stand of "The 300;" a rare stop for lunch (at Goody's, a Greek fast-food chain) preceeded a long drive to Meteora, where we enjoyed spectacular vistas (and found a geocache), followed by dinner and overnight in Kalambaka
See it in Google Maps:

the group with the Athenian Treasury at Delphi
AT RIGHT: view of Varlaam at Meteora, where granite columns have supported monasteries for centuries

3 Nov
(Day 4)
The morning brought serious rain and fog Meteora; nevertheless, we made a visit inside Varlaam monastery before departing on a rainy and even snowy drive through mountain tunnels to Thesprotia in northwestern Greece;  the rain cleared just in time for an exploration of the Nekyomanteion of Acheron, an ancient oracle for consultation of the Dead and environs; moving back east along the modern motorway "Egnatia Odos" (built on the route of the Roman highway by the same name) we stopped at Dodona (the oldest oracle in Greece) and Beroea (of Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey; Acts 16); at the latter, we had dinner and a nocturnal visit to the the bema monument to Paul before moving on to overnight above Thessalonica
See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT: in the Nekyomanteion of the Acheron, an Oracle of the Dead

AT RIGHT: the morning view at Varlaam, which should have been approximately the one on Monday, above

4 Nov
(Day 5)

A morning drive east to Kavalla (ancient Neapolis, where Paul first made land in Europe) and its acropolis Castle with spectacular overlook, and a well-preserved Roman road; a short distance away we explored the extensive ruins of Philippi (of Paul's 2nd journey) and some decided to make the tough climb to the acropolis; a visit to the traditional site of Lydia's baptism and the Hellenistic lion statue at Amphipolis punctuated our return west to Jim Grill Place for a Greek dinner; some made a side trip for night pictures of Thessalonica before overnight
See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT, above: in the Castle above Kavalla

AT LEFT, below: photographing Bo on the Via Egnatia, the Roman road taken by Paul to Philippi

AT RIGHT, above: Amber in the theater at Philippi

AT RIGHT, below: Nate in a tower on the acropolis at Philippi

5 Nov
(Day 6)

Early morning saw the stalwart make a pre-breakfast dawn look at ancient Thessalonica among the modern buildings of the city; after breakfast we moved to the Macedonian capital of Pella (home of Alexander the Great) and Aigai/Vergina with its spectacular necropolis, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander; a long van drive to the south, broken by stops at the Platamon Castle and the Mycenaean remains of Gla, brought us to Piraeus, the port of Athens, for our overnight ferry to Crete in deluxe private cabins
See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT, above: Bo inspects the Arch of Galerius--one of the last Emperors to persecute Christians--in Thessalonica
AT LEFT, below: at the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, now part of an underground museum

AT RIGHT: Paige, Amber, Lee, and Danielle on the citadel at Gla

6 Nov
(Day 7)

Off the ferry in Crete at 6:00 am, we headed across the island to the south shore to visit the site of Fair Havens (Acts 27:8); then to the Minoan palace sites of Phaistos and Agios Triada, the classical and early Christian site of Gortys, and McDonalds, before the major Minoan site of Knossos, the "palace of Minos;" after closing, we took in a few minor but impressive Minoan sites before returning to the ferry for the overnight trip back to Pireus and the mainland
See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT, above: Danielle at Fair Havens on the south coast of Crete
AT LEFT, Bo poses for Paige, Amber, and Danielle at Fair Havens

AT RIGHT, above: Nate impresses the girls on the ceremonial steps at Phaistos
AT RIGHT, below: a geocache at a Minoan temple site with evidence for human sacrifice


7 Nov
(Day 8)

Early arrival at Piraeus permitted a stop at Cenchrea, eastern port of Corinth, and entry to Epidaurus, site of the best preserved of all pure Greek theaters and important center of Asklepius, at opening; we continued to ascend the mountain overshadowing Nauplion to visit the Palamidi Fortress and its spectacular views, visit Tiryns, a Mycenaean palace center, and  Mycenae, cultural center of Bronze Age Greece and capital of Agamemnon (legendary king of Achaeans in the Trojan War), and finally to Corinth, important classical center and focus of Paul's 2nd missionary journey;  overnight in Isthmia, near Corinth
See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT, above: Amber and Andrew at Cenchrea

AT LEFT, center: Luke, Josh, and Caldwell take in the scene at the Epidaurus theater

AT LEFT, below: Joah and Charlie overlook Nauplion from the Palamidi Fortress

AT RIGHT, above: at the Lion Gate of Mycenae

AT RIGHT, center:  fleeing some unknown danger at the "Treasury of Atreus," actually a tholos tomb at Mycenae

AT RIGHT, below: Nate and Andrew on Corinth's Lechaion Road, with the Acrocorinth in the background

8 Nov
(Day 9)
Despite rain, we boldly climbed the Acrocorinth to see the foundations of the Temple of Aphrodite and stunning views, but we were above and in the clouds for the most part; with rain clearing, we headed towards Athens via Eleusis, home to the cult of Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries; in Athens, we checked into our hotel and set out for the Archaeological Museum and then for views of the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, and good gyros before bed
See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT, above: Paige on the Acrocorinth
AT LEFT, below: trying for that good picture of the Acropolis

AT RIGHT, above: happiness is a good gyro!
AT RIGHT, below: learning to use the Athens Metro system

9 Nov
(Day 10)

Morning visit to the famous Acropolis with the Parthenon and other temples, the Areopagus ("Mars Hill," Acts 17:19, 22), and the Athenian Agora (the "marketplace" of Acts 17:17); lunch and shopping in the Monastriaki and Plaka districts; afternoon visit to the Temple of Dionysus; night ascent up the Lycabettus hill for vistas (and dinner?); overnight in Athens
See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT, above: behind the Parthenon
AT LEFT, below: the girls at the Hephaisteon in the Athenian Agora
AT RIGHT, above: the whole group at the Hephaisteon
AT RIGHT, below: nighttime exploration with the Acropolis in the background

10 Nov
(Day 11)

Transfer to airport for return flight to the US
See it in Google Maps:

AT LEFT: saying goodbye to Athens . . .
USA Flag
All photos are Daniel C. Browning, Jr., and may only be used elsewhere by permission, unless otherwise noted.
Updated: 29 July 2009