A Classic Greek Journey – 12th April – 22nd April 2011
Most people in Britain think that Greece is hot, dry and full of cats. The latter is certainly true but mainland Greece in April is awash with colour, benign with its heat and still a couple of months from being arid. In short, it is a wonderful time of the year to visit this most fascinating of countries. Plus it is perfect for decent walking and sightseeing.
This was our third Ramblers Worldwide Holidays trip. The first, last October, took us to Samos, and our return to Greek territory renewed our acquaintance with Rupert, most hellenophile of group leaders and long domiciled in his adopted country. His arrangements were polished and the entire holiday went like clockwork.
We flew into Athens and were driven north to Delphi. The Oracle site is superb, but even better was the walk across Alpine meadows bewitched with a plethora of Spring flowers and a backcloth of a snow-capped Mount Parnassus. From Delphi we took the new elegant bridge across the Gulf of Corinth to an Olympia drowned in mauve blossom. Yes: there were lots of ruins there, but the colours brought the ancient place vividly to life again.Discovering the Greatness of Greece
From Sparta we explored my favourite Greek location, Mystra. It’s a big palimpsest of Byzantine culture, religion and architecture on a huge hill. And it has more than its quota of cats too, so my son’s camera shutter was very busy. We arrived in an eerie mist and departed in warm sunshine two hundred photographs later.
From Sparta to elegant Nafplion, where it rained and the taverna food was especially good, and then on to magnificent Epidauros. Here the Greeks created a huge theatre in a wonderful natural setting; the Romans, never satisfied with anything done by others, extended it upwards another vast tier so that it seems even today to touch the sky. Via Agamemnon’s Mycenae and Roman Corinth we arrived in Athens to absorb the incomparable sight of the Acropolis and the capital’s range of world-class museums. And the traditional tavernas there were simply sublime. I’ve come to the conclusion that the archaeologists will never finish digging up Greece.
A group can make or break a holiday like this: places are interesting but people bring places to life. We were lucky in that our group was a good one with some of the very best sort of people. I can thoroughly recommend this holiday to anyone: Greece is great, and Greece in April is a very astute move. Thanks to the group for the company, Rupert for his wise leadership and to Ramblers Worldwide Holidays for this most fabulous of destinations!