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Footsteps of St Paul (Greece)

DAY 1 – USA…Greece
Evening departure from USA to Salonica via Frankfurt.  Dinner and overnight aloft.

Welcome to SALONICA (modern name for St. Paul’s city of Thessolanica), the second largest city in Greece and built in 315 BC. A representative from RENAISSANCE TRAVEL will be waiting for you after the passport control to transfer you to your hotel, your home for the next three nights.  Dinner will follow Mass, to be scheduled, at your hotel.

After breakfast, your RENAISSANCE escort will take you on a sightseeing tour of visits to St. George Church; the Galerius Arch, which rises over the famous Via Egnatia; St. Demitrius, the most beautiful basilica in the city; and St. Sophia Basilica.  You will also visit the ramparts of the city and the Archeological Museum.  St. Paul preached and founded a church here, and wrote to these people in his Letters to the Thessalonians.  In the afternoon you will visit Berea where he retreated from Salonica after being accused of “turning the world upside down.”  Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.  Mass to be scheduled.

After breakfast you will depart for PHILIPPI (named after Philip of Macedonia) where St. Paul preached the gospel for the first time in Europe.  It was there that St. Paul preached to a group of women who had gathered around him, baptizing Lydia and her whole household who became his first converts.  Here you will see the ruins of the great Acropolis, the Market Place, Theater and Forum.  You will also visit the place where St. Paul was jailed after being accused of disturbing the city, and continue on to a short visit to KAVALA, site of the ancient Neopolis where Paul, Timothy, and Silas first set foot on European soil.  Return to SALONICA  for dinner and overnight.  Mass to be scheduled.  Lunch is being planned and dinner will be on your own.

Depart early in the morning from your hotel for the drive along the coastal route and through the six-mile long valley to METEORA.  Here is where the world-famous Byzantine monasteries are perched on top of weird rock formations of varied and beautiful shapes.  Of the original twenty-four imposing monasteries, only seven remain.  Today you will visit two of them, one for men and one for women.  You will check into your hotel in KALAMBAKA for dinner and overnight.  Mass to be scheduled. Lunch is being planned and dinner will be on your own.

Depart early in the morning for your visit to DELPHI  , located on the southern slope of Mt. Parnassus, which was the place where ancient Greeks believed was the point at which earth touched the divine and thus called it the “Naval of the World.”  It gained renown throughout the ancient world and influenced the actions of the great and politicians who flocked there to consult the Oracle.  You will visit the sixth-century temple of Apollo, the Theater, and the Museum which contains, among other archeological treasures, the unique Bronze Charioteer.  Dinner and overnight in your hotel in Delphi.  Mass to be scheduled. Lunch is being planned and dinner will be on your own.

After a short visit to Ossios Loukas, one of the oldest Byzantine churches, you will continue to PATRAS, the third largest city of Greece.  The Apostle Andrew was crucified there at the age of eighty on an x-shaped cross, which has come to be known as St. Andrew’s Cross.  You will continue to Corinth, one of the oldest towns of Greece, where St. Paul came after he left Athens and where he remained for a year-and-a-half “teaching the people the word of God.” You will visit the Archeological Museum, Bema, the Market Place and famous temples.  After a brief stop at the CORINTH Canal, started by Nero in 666 AD and finished in the 19th century, you will continue on to ATHENS.  Dinner and overnight in your hotel in Athens.  Mass to be scheduled.  Lunch and a cocktail reception for Saint Patrick’s Day are being planned.

This morning you will visit the Acropolis and more of Athens on foot.  Here you will find the splendid ruins of the Parthenon, Erchthelon with its six Caryatids, the complex Propylea, and much more.  You will ascend to Mars Hill where St. Paul stood to address the Athenians, and view the Agora, ancient marketplace and former center for Athenian public life. In the modern section of Athens you will see the house of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Palace.  In the afternoon you will visit the remarkable Archeological Museum, one of the finest in the world.  Dinner and overnight are at your hotel.  Mass to be scheduled.  

Today is left as a full-day of leisure to pursue your individual interests. You can explore Plaka, the old quarter of the city for last-minute shopping, or you can take an optional one-day cruise to the islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina.  Dinner and overnight are at your hotel.  Mass to be scheduled.  

Today you will say goodbye to your friends and take with you your memories and a new appreciation for the message and the ministry of St. Paul.  Depart Athens Airport for your return flight where you will arrive the same afternoon.


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