1. Eleni Petroutsou, Road Scholar Instructor: “Why Greece is so special to me!”

    Eleni Petroutsou studied archaeology and art history before becoming a learning group instructor 36 years ago. Eleni mainly instructs Road Scholar groups that sail with Voyages to Antiquity.

    In addition to her work as an instructor, Eleni has a keen interest in Greek cuisine, running an Athens-based catering company, and researching the benefits of olive oil and studying Greek wines. Here she shares with us how she feels about the heritage of her home country.

    Eleni Petroutsou, Road Scholar Instructor

    “A natural barrier between East and West, Greece has experienced centuries of invasions and occupations by many different civilizations: Persians, Romans, Goths, Slavs, Venetians, Genoese and Turks. Each of them may have left their mark, but never really touched the soul of this amazing country and its people.

    Anyone visiting Greece for the first time must experience Athens: a modern metropolis with an ancient heart and soul built around the eternal Acropolis, as well as the new Acropolis Museum with its modern glass structure, allowing visitors superb views of the Parthenon and the city beneath.

    The Acropolis in Athens with the famous Caryatid porch.

    There is plenty to explore in Athens. The old quarter of Plaka and central market with its spices and fresh produce give visitors an idea about a way of life which has remained unchanged for centuries, as well as a chance to sample one of the richest but healthiest cuisines on the planet.

    For most, the beauty of Greece can be found away from Athens. To the south on the Peloponnesus there is so much to explore: archaeological and biblical sites, excellent wineries, picturesque port towns such as Nauplia and Monemvasia. Further inland, Byzantine cities, mighty fortresses and sanctuaries have influenced the destiny of the Greek world and await discovery.

    Old Byzantine Church in Monemvasia, Greece

    At the centre of the Aegean world are the islands which seem like dreams floating in the blue waters of the Aegean! In his book, The Colossus of Maroussi, Henry Millersaid, “Marvelous good things can happen to one nowhere else on earth.”

    The Greeks have always survived; whilst life was often uncertain, we still knew how to enjoy it! We’re very proud of our country and its traditions and it’s this pride that guides us through today’s troubles. I really hope that you will discover my Greece sometime soon.”

    Eleni has served as an instructor for the Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program, Voyages to Antiquity: Athens to Athens, and will be leading the Athens to Istanbul program in 2012. Many of the wondrous Greek locations that she shared with us can be experienced through Road Scholar’s collection of Greek learning adventures. For more information on this and other programs, click here!

    Reposted from Voyage to Antiquity’s Blog

    Have you ever been to Greece? What was YOUR experience like? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page!

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