Travels in Greece and Crete with Dr. Jim McCoy and George Spiridakis
W.J. (Jim) McCoy taught ancient Greek history, warfare, literature and culture in the Departments of History and Classics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 40+ years and still holds an adjunct academic professorship in the Curriculum of Peace, War, and Defense. He also teaches adult courses in the Community Classroom Series at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. From 1981-2010 he directed the UNC-CH Summer School Study in Greece program, an annual, out-of-suitcase adventure providing first-hand exposure to the diverse landscape, archaeology, history, and culture of Greece, both on the Greek mainland and many of the Aegean and Adriatic islands, including Crete. Over the years hundreds of students and adults participated in programs that were a far cry from typical tourist fare. He continues to direct two-week adult learning programs on the Greek mainland and Crete. The Crete adventure is the only adult program he will offer in 2015.
George Spiridakis has been a guide for 25+ years. Born on Crete and a graduate of the prestigious guide school in Thassaloniki, he is currently recognized as one of the premier guides in all Greece. In fact, he is the English-speaking guide of choice, sought out by government officials and prestigious travel agencies (including Abercrombie & Kent), whenever important dignitaries and artists come to Crete. He and Professor McCoy have worked together since 1988, sculpting fascinating and unusual educational and experiential learning programs appropriate for a variety of audiences. In addition to diverse and unique itinerary, the adult programs feature daily exposure to the intoxicating world of Greek cuisine, wherein George exudes his culinary expertise. No one has ever been disappointed…. or hungry.
Given that the dates of Western and Greek Orthodox Easter coincide in 2017 (specifically, 16 April), the highlight of this one-of-a-kind mainland trip will be spending Easter in Greece. But there’s much more to this program than just Easter. The itinerary will focus on the theme: ‘Searching for the Divine through the Ages’, a search that will provide a tantalizing mix of prehistoric, Greco-Roman, Byzantine, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, and Western Christian elements as we travel from Athens, to Volos, to Thessaloniki, to Amphikleia, to Arachova, to Olympia, to Nafplion, and back to Athens. We will first explore Athena’s city and then, over a period of 12 days, visit the 11th c. Byzantine Monastery at Dafni (now reopened), the Sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis, the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Sounion, the archaeological museum in Volos (with its unparalleled collection of Neolithic goddess figures), the Macedonian Royal Tombs at Vergina, the many churches of Thessaloniki, the Meteora Monasteries, the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, the Middle Byzantine Church of Hosios Loukas, the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai, the citadel of Mycenae, the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea, and ancient Corinth, where we will follow in the footsteps of St, Paul. We will attend Good Friday services at the Church of the Assumption of the Theotokos in Olympia and celebrate the Easter Anastasis at the Church of Panagia in Nafplion. This is a spectacular agenda (the most ambitious and intriguing undertaking I’ve put together in 37 years of directing programs in Greece) as well as a unique and fascinating way to see a good portion of mainland Greece.
As always, my partner will be George Spiridakis. George and I have worked together closely and inseparably for almost 30 years; he is without peer among Greek guides. George will also orchestrate our many private dining experiences. I have selected excellent hotels: all of them 4 and 5 stars, safe, comfortable, and well-located lodgings. We will limit the group to 10 or 12 persons so that we can utilize a 19-seater charter bus, avert audibility and visibility problems, and fit easily around a single table to enjoy at leisure the exquisite cuisine of Greece.
The cost of the program is $5249.00 per person double occupancy BB, based on ten registered persons as well as stable official rates of currency exchange (i.e., between $1.11-$1.14/€); fewer persons and/or a higher exchange rate might increase the cost. This price does not include transatlantic air, trip insurance, passport fees, some lunches and a few dinners, and spending money. The per person cost reflects higher rates for lodgings during the Easter season as well as the anticipated price of charter bus and petrol, keeping in mind that our total journey will involve 1500-2000 kilometers. A single supplement will be based solely on the price difference between a single and per person twin hotel room at the time the reservations are paid. A $100 deposit will secure your registration.
Travel to Mainland Greece: Special Program for 2017
The cost of the program is $5249.00 per person double occupancy BB, based on ten registered persons as well as stable official rates of currency exchange (i.e., between $1.12-$1.15/€); fewer persons and/or a higher exchange rate might increase the cost. This price does not include transatlantic air, trip insurance, passport fees, some lunches and a few dinners, and spending money. The per person cost reflects higher rates for lodgings during the Easter season as well as the anticipated price of charter bus and petrol, keeping in mind that our total journey will involve 1500-2000 kilometers. A single supplement will be based solely on the price difference between a single and per person twin hotel room at the time the reservations are paid. A $100 deposit will secure your registration.
Projected cost: $4950 per person, based on double occupancy and a minimum enrollment of ten persons and a stable US dollar/Euro exchange, to include all expenses save for international air transportation, trip insurance, most lunches and a few dinners in Greece, and personal spending money. [Note: All hotel accommodations are bed and breakfast; single supplement will be based on hotel prices at the time of reservation.]
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