A Journey to Greece
Last month I visited Greece on a whirlwind tour of sites visited by Paul of Tarsus, and other ancient and modern sites.
We had an excellent guide, and I learned so much about Greek history and myth. Some of it was the more modern history that might have impacted a young Georgian-era man making his Grand Tour.
I’m still sorting through pictures and adding them to my new Pinterest board, Travels in Greece. As time goes by, I’ll add more pictures there, but for now, I wanted to share some of my photos here:
Outskirts of Philippi
As recounted in the Christian Bible’s Acts of the Apostles, Lydia was the first Greek and the first European woman to be baptized in the Christian faith. She was a wealthy dealer in purple cloth. This is the stream where Paul baptized her.
This setting is far lusher and greener than what I’ve pictured when reading Lydia’s story.
The Meteora region is filled with Greek Orthodox monasteries and convents perched atop these enormously high rocks. We made the hike up the stairs to one on a very warm Sunday afternoon and visited the Greek Orthodox church there.
The walls and ceilings of Greek Orthodox churches are filled with centuries-old icons. Photography was not allowed.
The city of Thessaloniki in Greek Macedonia was our base for the first three days of the tour. It’s the second largest city in Greece after Athens. The inhabitants are proud of their ancient conqueror, Alexander the Great, depicted her in a statue on the city’s Aegean Sea waterfront.
We visited the narrow coastal passage between two high elevations that is the site of the battle between Greeks and Persians depicted in the movie, 300, with Gerard Butler.
This statue honors Leonides and his three hundred Spartans who fought to the death. A little farther down is another monument to the Thespians (residents of Thespiae, not actors) who stayed, fought, and died, as well.
Delphi was the “navel” of the ancient world, where visitors bearing gifts could consult with the sacred oracle.
To the left is one of the treasure houses, where offerings were stored. To the right is one of the few intact statues displayed in the museum at Delphi. This is a fourth century B.C. charioteer in bronze, and the detail on the figure is amazing.
The Areopagus and the Parthenon
Christian and ancient history come together in this picture I took from the top of the Areopagus, or “Mars Hill” where Paul spoke to the Greeks about the “unknown God”. The hill stands just below the Acropolis of Athens with a beautiful view of the Parthenon and the buildings around it.
We had a chance to see the ceremonial guards outside the Presidential Palace. According to our guide, the uniforms are modeled after those worn by the Greek Revolutionaries, though the kilt is shorter than what would have been worn in battle. Their manner of marching is very distinctive, mimicking the movements of a horse, supposedly. I’ve posted a video of the marching on Facebook. Hopefully you can link to it!
The island of Patmos was about eight hours away from Athens by ferry. If you’re familiar with the Book of Revelation in the Bible, you’ll have heard of it.
Exiled to an island without a natural source of water or food, the Apostle John lived in a grotto on the hillside. It was on Patmos that John dictated the Book of Revelation.
This fenced area is said to be the place where the very elderly John rested his head as he received the scripture and conveyed it to his scribe.
The colors of Greece
Did you notice the fabulous blue sky in my photos?
Even on blustery days, we had beautiful blue skies under fast moving white clouds that matched the colors of the Greek flag.
There were many more things that we missed: Corinth, for one, the statue of Lord Byron in Athens, and more of the islands. Maybe someday I’ll go back!