NOV 10 CHECK-IN AT NAIA TERMINAL 3 AT
1800hrs / DEPARTURE FROM MANILA TO ISTANBUL, TURKEY
NOV 11 ISTANBUL / IZMIR (fly) / PERGAMON / KUSADASI (-LD)
Meet and assist upon arrival in Istanbul. After immigration formalities, we take our domestic flight to Izmir. Visit the Church of St. Policarp in Izmir. Then we continue to drive north to the hauntingly beautiful Pergamon. Among the impressive structures of this city, dating from 299 BC, we will see the Trajaneum, Altar of Zeus, Temple of Dionysus, Theater and the 200,000 volume library which was surpassed only by that found in Alexandria at the time. The Asclepieum of Pergamon was a famous health center where methods of treatment included blood transfusions, music therapy and meditation. Transfer to Kusadasi. Check-in, dinner and overnight at the hotel.
NOV 12 KUSADASI / EPHESUS / KUSADASI (BLD)
Breakfast at the hotel. We travel to Selcuk for a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary on top of Mt. Coressos. It is believed that she spent years in this area. On August 18, 1961, Pope John XXII proclaimed this place as sacred. We continue our visit in Ephesus, the once thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today, you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city including the view of the Library of Celcius, Agora, Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan, the Theatre, colorful mosaics. You can also see the panoramic view of the surrounding ancient port area including a wealth of church history and cultural insight. Then we will also visit the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospels in Ephesus. Return to our hotel in Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.
NOV 13 KUSADASI / THYATEIRA / SARDIS / PHILADELPHIA / PAMUKKALE (BLD)
Breakfast and check-out at the hotel. We will have s short stop in Thyatira to view the ancient roadway and period columns. This is one of the principal towns where Christianity spread quickly. Then we drive to Sardis. Sardis was berated by John for its façade of strength when in reality, it was weak (Rev. 3:1-6). Here, coins were minted and the dyeing of wood originated. We’ll visit the Temple of Artemis to see the gymnasium and synagogue. Our next stop is nearby Philadelphia which was referred to as the “New Jerusalem” (Rev. 3:7-13) in the Book of Revelation. Not much is left of the city except for the ancient wall and the remains of a Byzantine Basilica in the modern city of Alasehir. Then proceed to Pamukkale. Transfer to hotel for check-in, dinner and overnight.
NOV 14 PAMUKKALE / HIERAPOLIS / LAODICEA / ISTANBUL (fly) (BLD)
Breakfast and check-out at the hotel. We will visit Hierapolis, meaning “Sacred City”, was an ancient center for pagan cults until it was transformed into a Christian center in the first century. According to tradition, the Apostle Philip lived and was martyred in Hierapolis. It was likely the hot springs of Hierapolis in contrast to the cold mountain springs near Colossae that combined to bring application to the “lukewarm” Laodeceans (Rev. 3:14-22). This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col. 4:13). See the famous white calcium cascades of Pamukkale (the white “Cotton Castles”. Continue on to Laodicea, a city that contains many acres of ruins including a stadium and remnants of a sophisticated water system. Christianity came during the time of St. Paul, brought by Epharas of Colossae. Laodicea became the seat of Bishopric and hosted an important Ecumenical Council in the 4th century AD. It was named in the Revelations as one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. Then we drive to Denizli airport to catch flight to Istanbul. Check-in, dinner and overnight at the hotel.
NOV 15 ISTANBUL / ATHENS (fly) (BL-)
Breakfast and check-out at the hotel. We will have a full-day guided tour of Istanbul. We will see its unusual combination of Greek Orthodox, Roman Ottoman and modern day Islam. We will visit the St. Sophia Church, one of the great architectural marvels of the ancient world, and the famed Blue Mosque, facing St. Sophia, famous with its blue Iznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet; the Hippodrome, the sportive and political center of the Old City; and the fascinating Topkapi Palace, housing the many priceless treasures and colorful stories of Ottoman Sultans. This huge complex commands views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn. If time permits, we will visit the Spice Bazaar. Transfer to Istanbul airport to catch flight Athens. Dinner will be the inflight meal service. Meet at the arrival hall at Athens airport and transfer to the city and proceed to hotel for check-in and overnight. Dinner will be on board flight to Athens.
NOV 16 ATHENS / SANTORINI (B-D)
After early (or boxed) breakfast and check-out at the hotel, transfer to the Athens Port and take a ferry ride going to Santorini. Lunch on Ferry on your own account. This island was formed by the eruption of the volcano on 1600 BC. Meet and greet at Santorini port. Proceed to hotel for check-in. Have a guided tour to visit the Black Beach and the Profitis Ilias. Then head to spectacular location of Pyrgos where “Santo Wines” winery is located. We will have wine-tasting as well as an introduction to the history of Santorinian wines. Rest of the time is free at your own leisure. Discover the main town with its shops and boutiques, or sit in a café and enjoy the view to the volcano. Dinner at a local restaurant. Return to hotel for overnight.
NOV 17 SANTORINI (BLD)
After breakfast at the hotel, we will have a full-day tour of the island. We will experience a short cable car ride to the old port. Take a walking tour of Fira town, the capital town of the island. Wondering through the white cobbled streets of Fira, a town of about 2,000 inhabitants, one gets the feel of the old-world charm, blended in with the modern day comforts. You will also find the Gold Street where someone can pick the most interesting jewelries. Then we will visit one of the black beaches of the island at Kamari, Perivolos or Perissa and the Monolithos Village. After lunch, depart and drive north to the traditional settlement of Oia. Oia hosts the most magnificent views on Santorini and a picturesque road with cliffs on one side and sea on the other leads to this attractive town. Walk around and discover the typical Santorinian architecture with houses sunk deep into the volcanic soil, their whitewashed walls and blue domes sparkling under the sunlight. Proceed to Fira, Have some free time at your own leisure. Return to Santorini. Dinner at a local restaurant. Walk back to the hotel for overnight stay.
NOV 18 SANTORINI / ATHENS (B–)
Breakfast and check-out at the hotel. Have some free time for leisure and shopping. Lunch and dinner on Ferry on your own account. At the given time, we will transfer to Santorini port for our boat ride back to Athens. Proceed to hotel for check-in, dinner and overnight.
NOV 19 ATHENS / MANILA (BL-)
Breakfast and check-out at the hotel. Commence our guided tour of the city to see the famous sights including the Syntagma Square (Constitution Square), the House of Parliament, the National Library, and the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier guarded by the Evzones in their traditional costume. Stop at the Pan Athenaic Olympic Stadium, where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896. Pass by the archeological site of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. Visit the Acropolis and see the Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, Erechtheion and finally “the harmony between material and spirit”, the Parthenon. Down from the Acropolis is Areopagos, where St. Paul preached the gospel. Opposite the Acropolis, see Mars Hill. Discover Plaka, the old quarter with its cafes and various shops. Transfer to Athens airport to catch flight back to Manila.
NOV 20 MANILA
“HOME SWEET HOME!!!”