An easy overnight flight from Los Angeles brings us to our first stop, Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city and often referred to as the jewel of the north. After Constantinople it was the most important city of the Byzantine Empire. Because of its strategic location it became an important commercial, political, and cultural center of the Balkan Peninsula. Over the centuries its streets have supported pockets of affluent minorities, and its port acted as the sea gate of Central Europe to the Aegean and the markets of the Near East. Today this modern city is famous for its lively streets, vibrant night life and cultural attractions.
A short drive brings us to the city of Vergina which was the ancient capital of Macedonia and home of Phillip II who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli including that of Philip II. The museum contains a magnificent collection of gold treasures and pottery from the royal tombs.
A picturesque drive through small villages and farm land brings us to Meteora which means suspended in air. The giant rocks have eroded into fantastic peaks upon which medieval monks built monasteries, six of which are still active. The isolated monasteries of Meteora helped keep alive Greek Orthodox religious traditions and Hellenic culture during the turbulent Middle Ages and Ottoman Turk occupation of Greece. A visit to the monasteries is both a pilgrimage and an opportunity to see incomparable Byzantine art. The overnight stay in the village of Kalambaka gives us the rare opportunity to see both sunset and sunrise illuminating the craggy rocks and the monasteries.
For the next four days we will enjoy the beauty, splendor and history of the islands of Santorini and Mykonos. Santorini is fabled to be the lost Kingdom of Atlantis. Through times Santorini has been settled by Minoans, Dorians and Venetians. At Akrotiri, a Minoan city buried for 3,500 years under tons of volcanic ash, excavators have uncovered homes filled with beautiful frescoes and mosaic floors. An elevated walkway allows us to see the town layout with its sophisticated drainage system.
In addition to the ancient wonders there are wonderful museums, charming villages, excellent beaches and a highly respected wine industry.
A leisurely boat ride weaving between small islands of the Cyclades bring us to the picturesque island of Mykonos. The whitewashed houses, lazily turning windmills and narrow alleyways attract painters, poets and party-goers. The museums, monasteries, hidden coves and quaint mountain hamlets offer tantalizing choices.
Just minutes from the harbor of Mykonos is the sacred island of Delos. It is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. By the time of the Odyssey the island was already famous as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis.
Our last stop is Athens. There we will visit the Acropolis, the Archeological Museum, Syntagma Square,Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathenian Stadium (site of 1st Modern Olympic Games in 1896). The last day is free for you to choose among many options such as an one day trip to Corinth and Mycenae, Delphi and the Sanctuary of Apollo, or a cruise to three islands of the Saronic Gulf. You might also just choose to see some of the many wonderful sights and museums of Athens.
|TRIP FACTS AND FIGURES|
Cost: $ 3,595*
This figure includes transportation, four star hotels, all breakfasts and entrance fees
Minimum: 15 participants
Payment: To secure the above price the deposit must be received by 12/28/07
After that date the is subject to fare increases by the airline
$375 deposit by 12/28/07
This trip can be taken for 3 units of credit through the Weekend College or the Graduate Humanities Program
This trip is open to students, alumnae, family and friends.
During spring break of 2008, twenty students and faculty participated in a Travel Study program sponsored by the Business Administration Department in cooperation with the Weekend College. The group visited Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay learning about business and social conditions as well as local art and culture. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro where artist and entrepreneur Jorge Selaron has decorated over 250 steps originally using the colors of the flag of Brazil: green, blue and yellow. The tiles are broken with a hammer to obtain a style known as Byzantine mosaic, mixing pieces of tile, mirrors, crystals, and porcelain to achieve the effect. Whenever he receives prettier and more sophisticated tiles he places them on the steps so that the appearance of the steps is constantly changing. Today there are a vast array of tile from over 50 countries including Portugal, Italy, France, Belgian, Russia, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey and Mexico. Besides their artistic value the steps are famous as they have appeared in many music videos, films and print advertisements. The artist, Mr. Selaron, gave the group some details of his ongoing work and posed with us in our photo.
During the 2006-2007 academic year the Business Administration Department in cooperation with the Weekend College sponsored two travel study trips. In March 2007 a group of 24 students, faculty and alums took a 12 day trip to South East Asia. The first stop was Vietnam where we visited Saigon and the Mekong Delta. We witnessed the amazing economic progress of area along with many cultural and culinary tradition. The second destination was Cambodia where the highlight was a visit to the Angkor Wat Complex. Cambodia is a country recovering from the ravages of civil war and has just begun to rebuild its political and economic institutions.
Bangkok Thailand offers the visitor an opportunity to see opulent temple complexes, river markets and giant high rise buildings. Its economic is rapidly developing and the Thai Investment Board gave the group an excellent overview of the current economic situation and future prospects and challenges. Our last stop was Singapore, a country not much bigger than Los Angeles, which is vibrant multi racial and full of energy.