11 Days Steps of Paul with 3 night Aegean Cruise and Rome
Day 1: USA – EUROPE. Tour members gather at the ticket counter at the airport three hours prior to our departure to Europe. Dinner & breakfast are served in-flight.
Day 2: ATHENS. Upon arrival in Athens, we are met and taken on a panoramic tour of Athens on the way to our accommodations. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 3: ATHENS.
Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you . . .” Acts 17:22-23
Today, we visit Athens – one of the most glorious cities in the world and the cradle of western civilization as we know it today. For twenty five centuries, the panorama of this city is dominated by the rock of the Acropolis; we see the ruins of the Parthenon, the Erechtheum and the Propylaea. Afterwards, we ascend Mars Hill where Paul spoke to the ancient Athenians about the one and only God. From here, we have an excellent view of the ancient agora; former center of the Athenian public life. We continue for a drive through the city to see the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square, the Evzones in their picturesque uniforms guarding the Presidential Palace and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We also see the Library, the University, the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympics of the modern era were held, the temple of the Olympian Zeus and Adrian’s Arch. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 4: ATHENS – CRUISE. We transfer this morning to the port and embark our cruise ship for a 3-day cruise. Our first port of call is the island of Mykonos; cubic white houses and those world famous windmills. Free time to explore this lovely island.
Day 5: CRUISE – HERAKLION (Crete) – SANTORINI. This morning, we visit the Palace of Knossos, once the capital city of the prehistoric Minoan civilization. Knossos, with its hundreds of apartments and intricate passageways, is thought to be the basis for the original Labyrinth housing the mythological Minotaur. Next, we sail to Santorini – one of the most beautiful of the Greek Islands. Here, we visit Akrotiri on our own. Often compared to Pompeii, Akrotiri boasts a much earlier age and preserves amazing ruins dating from the second millennium BC. See beautiful pottery, the two and three story houses, once decorated with renowned wall paintings, staircases and a great variety of rooms; the roads and the squares of a city 3,500 years old.
Day 6: KUSADASI – PATMOS.
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples. (Acts 19:1)
Our next stop is Kusadasi, a lively Turkish port and gateway to ancient Ephesus – the Greek colony founded by the Athenians. Here, history truly comes to life; walking towards the ancient harbor down a marble road rutted by the wheels of countless chariots. We pass architectural masterpieces like the Magnesian Gate and the Library of Celsus before arriving to the Great Amphitheater where Paul spoke to the Ephesians. We continue our cruise to the island of Patmos; considered a holy island for the Christian religion. It was here that John the Divine, while in exile, wrote the Apocalyptic Revelation that constitute the last part of the New Testament. Our tour takes us up to the monastery ofJohn which still keeps its character of a medieval fortress. Inside the walls we are able to admire the Byzantine wealth of the Christian Orthodox religion, while from its ramparts, we have the most stunning panoramic view of the luminous sea.
Day 7: PIRAEUS – ATHENS.
Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:9-10)
After we disembark our ship, we board our coach for Corinth, taking the coastal road along the Saronic Gulf to the Corinth Canal, which connects the Aegean Sea with the Ionian Sea. Short stop for pictures and continue to the site of ancient Corinth, Paul’s beloved city and site of his most extensive ministry. Dominated by the Acro-Corinth rising 1,700 feet above the ruins, the marketplace is laid out exactly as it stood in the days of the great Apostle. We see the bema (the judgment seat) where Paul stood before Gallio and preached (Acts 18). The museum here contains a superb collection of artifacts portraying life in ancient Corinth. Return to Athens for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 8: ATHENS – ROME. This morning, we transfer to the Athens airport for our flight to Rome. Upon arrival, we visit the Catacombs, the Appian Way, Capitoline Hill, St. Peter in Chains, Coliseum, Arch of Constantine, Circus Maximus, and Palazzo Venezia. We also visit three of the four major basilicas in Rome (the other being St. Peter’s Basilica ). These basilicas include St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, and St. Paul Outside the Walls. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 9: ROME. Our morning visit to the Vatican City includes the Museum, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square, Church of St. Peter, Basilica of St. Paul, the ancient Appian Way and the catacombs of St. Caliztus. Afternoon sightseeing includes Moses’ Fountain, Quirinale Palace, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Arch of Titus, the Coliseum – site of early Christian martyrdom, and Mamertine Prison – possibly the final place of confinement of the Apostle Paul before his execution. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 10: ROME. Today is a day at leisure to enjoy as we please. Dinner on our own tonight to sample the local cuisine of Rome. Overnight at our hotel.
Day 11: ROME – USA. After our breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight home – the end of an unforgettable journey.