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In The Footsteps of Paul
 Kirk in the Hills

September 10 - 22, 2024

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DAY 1 September 10: DEPART DTW - Begin our pilgrimage with an overnight flight to Greece.


DAY 2 September 11: ATHENS - On arrival in Athens we will be met by our guide and transferred to the fabulous Electra Metropolis Hotel. The Electra Metropolis Hotel is located in the heart of Athens and a mere half mile from the Acropolis. The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax before our Welcome Dinner at the beautiful Kuzina restaurant. D

DAY 3 September 12: ATHENS – After breakfast, we start our tour of Athens with a panoramic tour by coach of the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic games of the modern era were held 1896.  We continue by Zappeion and Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Athens Trilogy which includes the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens, and the National Library.  We will continue passing by the National Garden, Hadrian’s Arch, St. Paul’s Church, House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Palace, Schliemann’s House (Numismatic Museum), the Catholic Cathedral, Old Parliament, Constitution Square, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The panoramic tour concludes at The Acropolis'

The Acropolis is where we will see architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens including The Parthenon, Erechtheion with its female statues of the Caryatides or Maidens dedicated to goddess Athena and god Poseidon, the temple of Athena Nike and Propylaea. We will then visit Philopappos Monument and Areopagus Hill, aka Mars Hill, where Paul gave his important sermon to the people of Athens.  After being invited by the "Epicurean and Stoic philosophers," Paul preached that their "Unknown God" was, in fact, Jesus Christ, who had been raised from the dead.  


Lunch at The Hill restaurant and the rest of the day at leisure with dinner on your own.  B|L

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DAY 4 September 13: CORINTH / ATHENS – This morning we depart Athens for Corinth.  Along the way we will cross the Corinth Canal where the Aegean and Ionian Seas merge. It is a man-made waterway that cuts through the narrow Isthmus and links the Saronic Gulf to the Corinthian Gulf, saving the ships a 430-mile route around Peloponnese. We'll make a short interval to take some photos of this breathtaking view before continuing on to the ancient town of Corinth. Located on the Isthmus that connects Peloponnese to the mainland, it is also surrounded by fertile plains and natural springs. Corinth was an important city in Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman times, which is why it became an important site for Christianity. 

Paul lived and preached in Corinth around 50-52AD, and this is where he worked with Aquila and Priscilla. Corinth is from where St. Paul sailed to Ephesus.  We will visit the Agora where Paul’s trial by Gallio took place, the remains of shops that date back to the first century, the Fountain of Peirene, the temple of Apollo, the Bema, and the ruins of Kehries. 

We return to Athens for dinner at a local restaurant & overnight in Athens. B|L|D

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DAY 5 September 14: EMBARK ON 7 DAY VOYAGE - After breakfast,  we will check out of our hotel in preparation for our 7 day Azamara cruise.   We will have time to on our own to explore Athens and lunch on our own before reconvening at the hotel for transfer to the ship and our 6PM departure.  Dinner will be served onboard.  B | D

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DAY 6 September 15: SANTORINI (8AM to 8PM) - This morning we arrive at the beautiful island of Santorini.  The day is ours to explore Santorini on our own, or if one wishes, they are welcome to join a group excursions offered by Azamara (not included in the cost of the pilgrimage).  The capital, Fira, clings to the rim of the caldera 900 feet above the sea. Take the cable car, or giddy up on a donkey to climb the 588 steps to the top. Hike to nearby Oia, a quintessential Greek village. Head south to the 3,500-year-old Minoan town Akrotiri. Often called Greece’s answer to Pompeii, the well-preserved ruins provide a glimpse into Santorini’s storied (and explosive) past. B |L | D


DAY 7 September 16: CRETE (8AM to 8PM) – This morning we arrive at the island of Crete and will have a have guided tour of the largest of the Greek Isles.  Our tour will take us through the fantastic ruins of the ancient palace complex of Knossos which served as the administrative and religious centers of the whole region. The living quarters of the king and queen and members of the royal court, rooms for state occasions, theater area, store rooms and pottery workshops are all within the palace complex.
Our tour will then continue to nearby Heraklion to visit the outstanding Archeological Museum. Unique in its record of the Minoan civilization, the museum houses the findings and treasures from all the archeological sites of Crete. The displays of idols made of terra-cotta, marble and alabaster and the collections of gold  jewelry, ivory, figurines, sarcophagi, and frescoes will give us an insight into this artistic-minded civilization and complement our visit to Knossos.
During the break after the museum we may wander around the city to see the Venetian buildings and castles, the impressive Cathedral, the fountains, the open street market or just to have lunch.

NOTE: The archeological site of Knossos will be explored on foot and involves walking over uneven pathways. Low-heeled , comfortable shoes are recommended. Clients with physical limitations are requested to take this under consideration.
B | D

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DAY 8 September 17: RHODES (8AM to 10PM) - This morning we arrive at the island of Rhodes.  Paul visited the island while returning to Jerusalem from his third missionary journey. Acts 21:1 (NIV) “After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara.” One tradition says that Paul’s ship landed in a harbor at Lindos on Rhodes, and another tradition says that he traveled throughout the island spreading the gospel. There is no evidence for either tradition. 

Our tour starts as with a picturesque orientation tour of the city highlighting ancient and modern day Rhodes. As we pass by the Mandraki Esplanade, we will see the government buildings, Church of Annunciation built 1925, a replica of the Old Church of the Knights of St John and the deer statues at the entrance of Mandraki port. We will then continue up to Monte Smith for panoramic views and photo opportunities of Rhodes and the Aegean Sea, and the Acropolis of Rhodes with its Ancient stadium built in the 2nd Century BC. 
Next, we will continue on to Rhodes Medieval City. Once our coach reaches the Gate d’Amboise, we will disembark and proceed to the Grand Masters Palace for a guided walking tour. The Palace was built in the 14th century A.D., destroyed in 1856 and rebuilt in 1939 by the Italians in order to accommodate the King of Italy, Emmanuel 11 and Mussolini. 
We will then walk down the Street of the Knights, where we will see the many inns once occupied by the crusaders. At the end of the street, we will arrive at the Archaeological Museum, formerly the Knights Hospital. The museum was built in 1440 A.D., and is the most well preserved building in the Old City. B | D

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DAY 9 September 18: SYMI (8AM to 6PM) - This morning we arrive at the beautiful island of Symi.  Symi is one of the Greece’s most distant Eastern Aegean outposts, far from where the Greek mainland crumbles into the sea. Reputedly the birthplace of the mythical Three Graces and named after the nymph Syme, it lies in the Dodecanese archipelago, the largest island of which is Rhodes. Symi could not feel more different from its neighbour. Too far from Athens for a social scene, with no large hotels, it is small and quietly sophisticated. It has largely remained the preserve of inquisitive island hoppers and sailors bewitched by its harbour. Surrounded by steep slopes forming a natural amphitheatre, Symi harbour greets its travellers with an enchanting tumble of tiered, Neoclassical mansions suggestive of an Italian village in hues of ochre, terracotta, sherbet pink and lemon. Further inland, the island’s mountainous interior is dotted with churches, monasteries, windmills and few roads. B | L | D


DAY 10 September 19: KUSADASI (EPHESUS) (8AM to 10PM) - Today we arrive at one of the most important places in ancient Christendom - Ephesus.  Paul founded the church in Ephesus during his second missionary journey when he arrived with Luke, Silas, Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla after leaving Corinth around 52AD.  He didn't stay long but returned again around 54AD as part of his third missionary journey.  He stayed 2.5 years preaching the Gospel of Jesus.  John arrived just before the destruction of the Temple In Jerusalem in 70AD.  John was exiled to the island of Patmos in 95AD by the Roman emperor Domitian.  It was at Patmos he wrote the last book of the bible, Revelation, before returning to live out the rest of his life in Ephesus.  

This marvelous city, sitting on the hills outside Kusadasi and overlooking the Aegean, is a fabulous open air archaeological wonder founded by the Greeks around 2000 BC. It was one of the most important cities of the region and was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. The Temple built in her honour was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It had more than 100 marble pillars, each standing 56 feet tall and it earned the city the name ‘Servant of the Goddess.’ A single pillar remains standing on the site, found during an excavation in the 1870s. Both Paul and John preached to the worshipers of Artemis the Gospel of Christ, and through power of the Holy Spirit were able convert a large number.  

We will be able to see the Agora, Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marvel-paved Main Street of Curetes, the Baths of Scholastica, Trajan’s Fountain, the Temple of Hadrian and the Houses of Koressus, where the wealthy families of Ancient Ephesus lived. Only 13 per cent of Ephesus has so far been uncovered. The finds from the excavations made so far are housed in the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus in the city of Selcuk. B | L | D

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DAY 11 September 20: MYKONOS (8AM-6PM) - This morning we arrive at the Greek isle of Mykonos where you are free to explore on your own. Mykonos has been known as the island of the winds, and it’s located in the heart of the Cyclades group. Its fame has spread across the world, as a cosmopolitan and luxurious holiday destination. There are, however, two faces to this island that not many people know of. The first one is the obviously intense, shiny and cosmopolitan aspect of it, and the other one is particularly picturesque, with stone-paved alleys, whitewashed houses, country chapels and windmills, that ooze calm and peace. What makes this island special is that it can cover a variety of demands: you can visit it for its archaeological sites;  get to know the local traditions in its picture-perfect villages; and you can explore its amazing beaches, considered by many as the top ones in the Aegean Sea. Chora is quite an impressive and picturesque Cycladic town. You will find top hotels and resorts, designer clothes and goldsmiths boutiques, art galleries, and some of the most famous restaurants and bars in Greece.  Picture perfect is the best way to describe Mykonos. Mykonos is a postcard come to life! B | L | D


DAY 12 September 21: ATHENS – Today we return to Athens and disembark after our incredible 7 day cruise through the Aegean Sea.  After we're transported to our hotel, the rest of the day is free to enjoy Athens before we gather for our Farewell Dinner at the classic Stamatopoulos Tavern. (D)

DAY 13 September 22: ATHENS > DETROIT—Today we transfer to the airport for our flight home after a wonderful journey in the footsteps of Paul.


* double occupancy

Itinerary subject to change

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