Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Northern Greece, Albania, and Macedonia: Ancient Lands of Alexander the Great

From Nov 2 - 19 I joined OAT's tour to the above ancient land of which I knew very little.  The excitement was built up even before the trip,  since Alex was very much into Greek mythology and can recite many legends and historical events of this ancient land.  It was great talking to him about Phillip II prior to the tour, and I promised to talk to him about my trip after my return.

We had a wonderful Program Director, Amaryllis who has a PhD in Political Science and History but could not find a job in her field under current Greece economy.  Our driver Tassos drives carefully, and plays piano, accordion, and sings.  These two people have provided us most wonderful experience during the time we were together.  Below is a map of our trip, me with these dynamic duo, and a group picture of 14 fellow travelers with Amaryllis and Tassoso. 

I flew into Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece, and flew out from Skopje, the capital of Macedonia.  The land tour passed through Thesalloniki (a port city facing Aegean Sea), Vergina (the royal tombs), Meteora (monasteries on top of towering rocks), Metsovo (meat pie cooking lesson), Loannina (silver smith workshop visit), Zagoria (hiking by the Vikos Gorge), Butrint (the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city, and a bishopric of the Byzantine Empire), Gjirokaster (Ottoman era mansions), Dhoksat (home visit), Tirana (capital of Albania, Berat Castle, Bunk's Art Museum), Ohrid (Ohrid trout, Macedonian Ruby, and water museum), and ended up in Skopje ( Macedonia struggle, city center, and Matka Canyon hike).

I truly enjoyed this learning and discovery tour, and also tasted much delicious food and wine!

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