Posts Tagged ‘italy cruise’

A Day in the Land of Gods & Heroes

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Kris Trego, Smithsonian Journeys Study LeaderKris Trego is an assistant professor of classics at Bucknell University. For the past 11 years, she has spent her summers working with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology excavating ancient shipwrecks off the coast of Turkey. Additionally, Kris lectures and publishes on narrative and rhetorical techniques used by ancient Greek and Roman authors.  This summer, Kris led a Journeys family cruise adventure tour around Italy’s beautiful coastline, visiting some of the ancient world’s most remarkable and best preserved Greek and Roman sites. See her post from the trip below:

* * *

For the rest of the world it may have been a normal Thursday morning, but for those of us aboard the Corinthian II the day had brought wonder, adventure, and exuberant joy. After disembarking from our ship, which was anchored in the caldera off the cliffs of Santorini, the adults spent the morning exploring the Bronze Age site of Akrotiri. This site had been buried in darkness for thousands of years by the violent eruption of the Thira volcano that created the caldera, and we walked in hushed awe over the ancient

A Bronze Age fresco of a fisherman in Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini

A Bronze Age fresco of a fisherman in Akrotiri. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia.)

streets that had been brought back into the light. We looked into the houses, abandoned eons ago by their caretakers, strewn with pottery that lay were it fell when the inhabitants fled the island, warned by earthquakes of the impending eruption.

As we explored the results of the volcano’s past, the Young Explorers from Corinthian II traversed its living presence. The Young Explorers hiked to Nea Kameni, the volcano at the center of the caldera, and felt the heat still rising from the ground. The groups, young and adult, reunited for a delectable lunch on Santorini perched high on the cliffs overlooking the caldera. Breathless stories of riding the donkeys up the cliffs, feeling the steam from the volcano, and marveling at the colorful and detailed frescoes from Akrotiri at the museum were shared over an endless array of Greek dishes. Our laughter echoed down the cliffs, and our smiles rivaled the sun for their brilliance. Could this day be any more amazing, we wondered? After exploring the island a bit more that afternoon, we returned to the Corinthian II for dinner, which never failed to delight with exquisite flavors. But the adventure was not over for the day yet! After sailing out of the caldera, the captain found a calm, sapphire blue anchorage, and we went for a pre-dinner dip in the Aegean from the ship’s stern. The sun sparkled on the waters, and the waters responded with twinkling reflections, all flashing over the faces of the splashing, laughing bathers. Over dinner, we talked of how we shared many adventures over the course of the trip and how we transformed from fellow adventurers into friends, as we sailed through these lands of gods and heroes. Each day brought new sites, new tastes, and new reasons to smile and laugh.


Santorini. (Photo by Kris Trego.)

Smithsonian Journeys Group, Italy

Smithsonian Journeys group. (Photo by John Frick.)

 * * *

Kris will be leading two upcoming trips this fall and coming spring. Check them out here:

Greek Island Cruise Update – Possible Palace of Odysseus found on Ithaca

Monday, March 28th, 2011
Vase depicting Odysseus and a Siren

Vase depicting Odysseus and a Siren.

We are thrilled to announce that our Journey of Odysseus tour, which visits islands and cultural sites throughout Greece and Italy, will now include a new archaeological site on the island of Ithaca.  Smithsonian travelers will be among the very first travelers to visit this exciting new excavation!

The three-story structure, unearthed by Greek archaeologists last October, is believed by the excavators to be the palace of Odysseus and Penelope.

We have specially arranged for the leader of the team that made this remarkable discovery, Professor Thanasis Papadopoulos, to lecture aboard ship and lead us on an excursion of the palace. Being among the first to visit this site in Ithaca, Odysseus’s home, will be a fitting and exciting end to our own odyssey.

Like being first? Click to see details about our Journey of Odysseus cruise around Greece and Italy aboard Corinthian II, June 2011, and make your reservation today.

What do you think? Was Homer’s Odyssey a work of fiction or history? Is the palace Odysseus’ home, or did it belong to someone else?