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July 18 – July 27, 2014
Day 1 – Friday
Early morning arrival at the legendary luxury King George II Palace in Athens with limousine service from Athens International Airport provided by the hotel. Awarded the “Guest Recognition Award of Excellence”, this hotel combines the grace of a historic landmark with ultra-modern amenities and personal attention that put guests’ comfort above all else. All of our Goddesses receive an individually designed and decorated suites for your stay.
To eliminate your jet lag it is a day of relaxation at the Palace Day Spa. As a welcome gift, there will be late afternoon appointments with a Grecian Style Consultant, specializing in color coordination, hair, make-up and nails. Measurements will also be taken for your personally designed handmade, Goddess sandals by Claudia’s nephew, Strato Parellis—a master cobbler for the high-end fashion boutiques of Athens.
This evening, everyone gets together for a private “Meet and Greet” Cocktail Reception in the Royal Penthouse next to the infinity pool with a spectacular view of the Acropolis. Hosted by your Tour Connoisseur, Claudia von Kielich, you will be introduced to the General Manager, Mr. Panagiotis Almyrantis, for your entire hotel needs. You will receive a “Goddess Within Questionnaire” and a “Goddess Journal” to record your “Goddesses Go to Greece” journey.
We will gather for a Goddess breakfast specially prepared by the hotel Chef in the Royal Tudor Hall Restaurant, overlooking Syntagma Square and the House of Parliament. Please bring your completed “Goddess Within Questionnaire” to the mid-morning repast. An Athenian Scholar escorts us for a day of private touring. After breakfast you head out to experience one of Athens’ bravura achievements: the Athens Metro. A magnificent marriage of high-tech transportation and archeology, this rapid transit system is a museum in of itself with its marble surroundings, displays of antiquities uncovered during construction and glass-encased artifact exhibits. Nowhere else in the world can one experience the glory of one civilization simultaneously within the urbanity of another.
After exiting the Metro we pass by the hill where St. Paul spoke to the Athenians on our way to the top of the Acropolis, home of the Parthenon, dedicated to Athena–the Goddess of Wisdom and Patron Goddess of Athens–the Erechtheion, the Temple Of Athena Nike and the Propylae. Descending, our next stop is the Theater of HerodusAtticus as we make our way to the New Acropolis Museum.
Walking into the museum the 3rd century comes alive from a downward view of an ancient Athenian neighborhood encased in the museum floor. Intended, as “the ultimate showcase of classical civilization”, the museum, which cost $200 million, is one of the highest-profile cultural projects undertaken in Europe in this decade.
For lunch we stop at the prominent DionysosRestaurant—famed for its spectacular view of the Acropolis, exquisite décor, Greek and International cuisine with impeccable service. Named after the Greek God of wine, this culinary enchantment is a must-do while in Athens. While at lunch, Claudia will introduce you to your personal Greek Goddess and give out special gifts reflecting your individual divinity.
Then it’s onward to the Hadrian’s Gate and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, husband to Goddess Hera, Father to Goddesses Artemis, Athena and Afroditi. Later we return tothe King George II Palace—for a quick rest prior to our evening activity.
Now that we are rested, primped and ready to go, we meet in the Tudor Palace Lounge Bar. Claudia’s nephew, Theo, escorts us to a special treat. We make our way through the Plaka to the famous Gero tou Moria with live ethnic Greek music, dancing and plate throwing. Acclaimed as one of the best restaurants for anyone to begin the Greek food adventure with its traditional cuisine, we sit down for a cultural fare and further our Goddess discourse. So be prepared to be surprised, cut-loose and get those Goddesses’ mojos a going!
This morning we all gather for a light Greek breakfast on the balcony of the Royal Tudor Restaurant to partake in one of the city’s most popular and distinguished traditions. In the streets below a full regiment of Evzones executes the Changing of the National Guard in front of the House of Parliament. Joining us is Kosta, an Evzone by trade, to describe the ceremony and the history of this national custom.
For Athenians the place to be on Sunday is the Plaka and the Monastiraki Flea Market. It’s a must-see while in Athens with an eclectic mix of sights, sounds and smells that has a tantalizing effect on the senses. Not to mention it’s a great place to bargain and pick-up fabulous gifts or keepsakes for family and friends.
From the market we visit the Tower of Winds, the Roman Agora and Ancient Agora along our way toward the world famous Diogenes Restaurant for lunch. Known for its authentic Greek cuisine, it is the perfect place to myth gossip and discover more about our Goddesses. Claudia’s brother-in-law, an Athenian Aristocrat and Greek mythology scholar, will reveal the unknown facts of your divine personas.
Our final stop will be at the world-renowned Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum–aunique museum devoted to the art of jewelry and the decorative arts. Founded in 1993 the Museum’s permanent collection includes over 4000 pieces of jewelry and micro sculptures from over 50 collections. All designed by the museum’s founder, Ilias Lalaounis, between 1940 and 2000. Afterwards we return tothe King George II Palace—for a quick rest prior to our evening activity.
Characterized as “the last Greek Goddess”, Melina Mercouri, is Greece’s most admired, modern female and an inspiration to all women in the 20th century. She was a many-sided vibrant personality. Known as a theatre and film actress of international fame, Melina played a leading role in the struggle against the Colonel’s Junta in 1967 – 1974. A politician who left her mark on the Greek culture, Melina brought Greece into the spotlight of the media and deemed her the inspirer of the “Cultural Capital Of Europe”.
It is only fitting we go to the Melina Cafe for drinks and a light meal to draw upon the muse from one of the world’s greatest iconic female figures. A tribute to Melina, the café combines the classic European cultural atmosphere with the magic of live jazz and folk art music. Dominated by Melina’s aura, inspiration and passion for life, it is the ideal place for us to reflect on our Goddesses heartened by this magnificent woman.
Day 4 – Monday
Once again we meet for our breakfast in the Royal Tudor Restaurant. Then join our chauffer for another trip out of the city. Make sure you bring your bathing suits, suntan lotion and beach gear because today we spend a glorious day in the sun replenishing our mind, body and soul in a organic health spa. Traveling in our private chauffeured limo we take scenic drive out of the city.
Just a short distance in the southern coast of Attica lies the magical and mysterious Lake Voulliagmeni–a small fresh-water lake fed by an underground hot spring current seeping through the mass of Mount Hymettus, creating a ecologic mineral spa. Recognized as a natural wonder because of its unique appearance and pictorial surroundings, millions of years ago it was originally a vast cavern with a countless number of hot springs. Due to the high temperatures and moisture from the hot spring the cavern’s roof caved in crating the lake. An extended part of the cave is still underwater with numerous unexplored, bottomless channels and waterways.
Anastasios Christomanos, a Professor of Chemistry from the University of Athens, discovered the therapeutic quality of the lake in 1889. Voulliagmeni contains a plethora of minerals–potassium, natrium, lithium, ammonium, calcium, ferrium, chloride and iodine–creating a slight radioactive properties that heals a variety of diseases, from rheumatic, gynecological and skin disorders. For us Goddesses it is heaven on earth as we take the entire day to swim, soak, sunbathe and feast on a gourmet seafood lunch provided by the En Plo restaurant. After our day of Goddess rejuvenation we return to the hotel for another special evening occasion.
One of the most cherished activities that Athenians claim to do best and a must-try experience, while visiting Athens in the summer, is the Open-Air Cinema. It is a unique experience, as outdoor movies are one of the Greek people’s most popular forms of entertainment during late spring and summer. These cinemas are an inextricable part of the country’s culture that touches the memories, hearts and souls of past and present Greek generations.
Home of more than 30 open-air cinemas, located on terraces, gardens or jammed between apartment blocks, the most prestigious of these cinemas is the Aigli Cinema, next to the Zappion in the National Gardens with its impressive location, exceptional sound and gourmet snacks, including grilled souvlaki, fresh salads, seasonal fruits, yummy deserts, wine and brandy. So if you loved the film “Cinema Paradiso”, now you will experience it in a first-class Grecian manner.
Day 5 – Tuesday
After breakfast, we board a private chartered yacht, the DIONI, traveling to Aegina one of the most cherished islands of the Greek people. The beauty of chartered yachting is that it allows us to discover hidden coves, ocean arches, remote ruins and cliff villages known only to the Greek citizens.
The island of Aegina is a priceless jewel in the Saronic Gulf, rich with ancient Greek mythology. After docking, we are met by a private chauffeured Mercedes limo for our journey to the Temple of Aphaea—a daughter of Zeus and half sister to Artemis. This local Goddess was originally named Briomartis. Along our stunning coastline journey we encounter the medieval village of Palaiochora, home to 37 churches dating to 896 AD.
Built in 480 BC, the Temple of Aphaea, the foremost ancient site of the Saronic Gulf isles, sits on a pine-covered hillside of Aegina. Looking out over the Saronic Gulf from this pictorial, well-preserved temple, considered the forerunner of the Parthenon, one can see across the aqua-hued sea to the far distant Cape Sounion.
Returning back to the town and port of Aegina, we stop by the ruins of the famous Temple of Apollo. This is a key Archaeological site, not so much for the temple or it’s other structures, but rather due to it containing the remains of ten successive prehistoric settlements dating from the late Neolithic period (5th century BC) to the Mycenaean period (1600 – 1100 BC). Most of the ruins have not withstood time, however of those that have, the most noteworthy for us is the altar from the Temple of Artemis.
Near the altar is a secluded beach perfect for us to take a swim and have a private lunch of Greek delicacies from the region, catered by the well-known Taverna Zeus. Walking back to town and the port we stop for coffee and deserts at a quaint seaside café, Stin Paralia, prior to our departure. Then it is back to the DIONI and onto the unspoiled, cosmopolitan isle of Hydra.
The seductive landscape of Hydra with the most picturesque port in the Mediterranean is a safe haven for international artists, writers, politicians and the jet-setting elite. Sheltered deep in a naturally formed harbor, its traditional-styled 18th century architecture fans-out amphitheatrically over two hills leaving an eternal mark on the island.
Arriving in early afternoon affords a perfect time for our private sightseeing through the village’s untouched traditional old-world monasteries and mansions. Then wandering through the narrow landscaped paths, we make are way to the outskirt of town for dinner at Yaponeta with an awe-inspiring view of the Aegean at an Ouzerie overlooking the crystal blue sea.
Day 6 – Wednesday
Taking time to sleep in, we’ll gather on balcony of the Royal Tudor Restaurant for a typical light Greek breakfast. Escorted by our driver we depart via our private limousine for another day of sightseeing, heading to Nafplio.
Originally the first capital of Greece after Independence, Nafplio has been a major port since the Bronze Age. Located on a small harbor beneath the towering vastness of the Palamidi Fortress, it is one of the favorite locales for weekending Athenians. As you behold it attractive narrow streets, elegant Venetian houses and neo-classical mansions, you’ll know why Athenians claim Nafplio as Greece’s prettiest and most romantic towns.
Our visit to the Old Town with its charming tavernas, craft shops and posh, trendy boutiques, zigzags us across a maze of trellised alleyways and plateias that extend to the waterfront promenade. Shopping until we drop, we’ll stop for a late lunch at a lively quayside café.
By late afternoon we are once again motoring off to Epidavors, eminently recognized in the ancient world as the center of medicine. The prestige of its ancient health center, the Sanctuary, attracted people for over 700 years traveling from all across the Mediterranean for medicinal and mystical cures.
Our first stop in Epidavors takes us to the remains of this extensive, spiritual ancient health center set amongst the green foothills and pine trees of Mt. Arahneo. An Asclepius scholar joins us to reveal the Sanctuary’s ancient secrets of divine health and beauty as we wander this massive ruin complex.
Whereas in ancient times Epidavors was known for the Sanctuary, today most visitors flock to the Epidavros Theater.
Built in the 3rd century into a hillside with a backdrop of a half-forested, half-flaxen mountainside, the amphitheater’s view is only out paralleled by its perfected acoustics–producing the precise sound of a coin drop or a whisper from center stage that can be heard in the theater’s last 55th row.
At the Theater we will watch one of the annual Hellenic Festival’s stage performances, featuring the National Theater of Greece in a classical ancient Greek drama. After the evening program we’ll re-board the DIONI for a starry night motor ride back to Athens.
Day 7 – Thursday
The most energized ‘spirit of place’ in all of Greece is the ancient ruins of Delphi. Traveling out of Athens in our private chauffeured Mercedes limousine we take a morning ride to experience what the ancient Greeks regarded as the centre of the world. Built on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos, overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, Delphi’s allure lies in its stunning setting and inspirational sites.
One cannot visit Delphi without taking in the Sanctuary of Apollo with its steps leading into the Sacred Way that gradually winds up to the foundation of the Temple of Apollo. Academics of Delphi will join us to reveal the site’s historical details and accolades dedicated to this imperial sacred homage to the Greek God, Apollo.
The female Delphi Oracles’ prophecies altered the course of nations. The revered site from where they spoke, The Delphic Oracle, was the most influential source of sacred wisdom in the ancient world. Many who walk this hallowed ground make claim of life-altering experiences. If you are open to the experience, hopefully our visit will ignite your Goddess aspect into fruition.
After a light lunch in Delphi we will return to Athens taking a different route to explore the local villages along the scenic coastline. This leisurely drive will afford stops along the way to take in the charms of Nafpaktos, the beautiful Galaxidi and the Corinth Canal, which separates the Peloponnese from mainland Greece connecting the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf.
During our return to Athens we will stop for dinner at a celebrated family-owned taverna for a classical country meal under the stars in Amhrova–an ancient local village. Here we will share the insights and personal experiences we learned about our Goddesses while at Delphi.
Taking time to sleep in, we meet for a late breakfast at the Royal Tudor Restaurant. Claudia’s sister—a 25-year Athens resident—joins us for her customized tour of the least tourist-invaded, yet illustrious, areas of the city. Known as the “Walk of the Millenniums”, she takes us down the legendary Ermou Street for journey through time.
In the heart of central Ermou lies charming 11th Century Byzantine Church traditionally called the Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea. A tribute to the Virgin Mary, the church was built on a temple ruin site dedicated to the Goddess Demetra during the Middle-Byzantine period and is also known as the Church of the Princess.
From the 11th Century AD we move back in time to 11th Century BC and the most historic burial area in ancient Athens for over a thousand years. Keremikos with its revered Street of Tombs was the final resting place for prominent Athenians in Ancient Athens. Named after Kermos the son of the God Dionysus and Goddess Adriadne, he was also a famed hero to the Athenian potters.
Continuing down Ermou street, we enter into the Gazi District named after the Gas (Gaz) Factory established in 1857 until deserted in 1984. This 3-acre site that originally blanketed the sky with soot from its factory’s gas-producing furnaces is now an incomparable architectural, industrial museum and multi-purpose cultural center. Crowned as Technopolis with its restaurants, cafes, music and unique graffiti art alleyways, the area is hailed as one of the most innovative and happening places in Europe.
For dinner we will dine in one of the modern tavernas in the area and will be joined by Claudia’s niece, Katerina. An award winning swimmer, Katerina was Greece’s first female jockey and an Athenian Councilwoman. During our meal she will enlighten us on Greece’s current trials and accomplishments to reinvent itself as a major cultural society.
Day 9 – Saturday