“Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for.”
— C. P. Cavafy
Take a journey 3,000 years back in time to the roots of classical Greece and forward to the modern Mediterranean of magnificent land and seascapes, splendid museums, and sublime cuisine.
This carefully and lovingly designed tour is the result of Peter de Kuster’s lifelong fascination with the Odyssey, and aims to combine visits to sites associated with Homer’s epic with readings and discussions that explore the too-long-neglected roles in the epic played by Penelope, Circe, Calypso, Nausicaa, Athena, and Aphrodite.
Our pilgrimage to Homeric Greece will be augmented by Peter’s innovative style of exploring the stories you tell yourself about yourself. Each day will also be highlighted by conversations that evoke the spell of arguably the most influential story in Western civilization.
Our journey will begin in Athens with a welcome drink at our hotel and dinner at a traditional Greek tavern in the vibrant Plaka neighbourhood. We then visit the citadel of Corinth, long associated with King Sisyphus, her school of navigation, and the famous canal, which connects the Greek mainland with the Peloponnesus. Nearby are the ruins of Ancient Sparta, where Odysseus’ son Telemachus ventured to find news about his father from King Menelaus. We will also visit the Menelaion, a sanctuary that encouraged the worship of Menelaus and Helen into late antiquity, and the beautiful seaport of Kranai, from where, according to the poets, Helen and Paris left for Troy. Over a wonderful portside lunch, we will read from several different accounts of the infamous abduction, which ignited the Trojan War.
At Olympia we will learn about the relationship between athletics and spirituality, and the parallels between training for war and sports. Our visit to the melancholic beauty of this ancient site is designed to help us understand the significance of Homer’s vivid description in the Odyssey of the Funeral Games for Patroclus, often regarded as the first instance of sports writing in history.
From the seaport town of Patras, we take the ferry to “rocky, low-lying, mountainous” Ithaka, as Homer described the home of King Odysseus and Queen Penelope. During our three marvel-filled days on this mythic island we will visit what locals call “Homer’s School,” the ruins of a mighty Mycenean palace long associated with Odysseus and Penelope; the Loizas Cave, where fascinating artefacts have been uncovered; the Cave of the Nymphs, where Odysseus is believed to have hidden the gifts given to him by the Phaeacians; and the Archaeological Museum of Stavros. Every morning on the island we will read passages from several different translations, ranging from Alexander Pope to Robert Fitzgerald and Emily Watson, as well as poems and stories associated with the island.
After our stay on Ithaka, we continue to Ammoudia, the mouth of the River Acheron, where, according to legend, Odysseus took Circe’s advice and descended into the Underworld to meet with the soothsayer Tiresias. Nearby is one of the least visited and most mysterious sites in Greece, the Nekromanteion, the Temple of the Dead, where Persephone and Hades were worshipped, and pilgrims were led by a priestess through subterranean chambers to experience their own death and rebirth.
The final stop of our own odyssey will be Corfu, the Homeric island of Scheria, Island of the mythical Phaeacians, those magical masters of the sea, and the last stop for Odysseus on his long and winding way back home to Ithaka. We will visit the Palaiokastritsa Beach, where the shipwrecked Odysseus was rescued by the princess Naussica, who escorted him to the palace of her parents, the hospitable King Alkinoos and Queen Arete, who built a magical ship for the final leg of our hero’s journey back to Ithaka.
We welcome you to join us on this journey to connect with the mythic power of the ancient gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters, as rendered by Homer, the Blind Bard of Samos, and be graced with all the magic and haunting beauty this mythic world has to offer.
- 11 nights’ accommodation in 3* and 4* star hotels based on double/shared occupancy
- Breakfast daily, 6 lunches
- 5 dinners, incl. Welcome Dinner & Farewell Dinner
- Arrival transfers in Athens and departure transfers in Corfu
- Transportation by deluxe A/C private coach
- Admission to all sites as per itinerary
- Ferry tickets Patras to Ithaca, Ithaca to Astakos & Igoumenitsa to Corfu
- Local boat ride from Palaiokastritsa Beach to “Nausicaa’s Cave” (weather dependent)
- Travel with storyteller and founder of the Hero’s Journey Peter de Kuster
- Insightful conversations
- Escorted tour of the Paleokastritsa in Corfu
- Local English-speaking guide in Olympia
- Guide from the Odyssean Studies Center in Ithaka
- Visits to ancient sites associated with Homer’s the Odyssey
- Readings of poems, stories and passages associated with the sites we visit
Tour Does Not Include:
- Airfare to Athens and return from Corfu
- Cancellation & Medical Insurance (ask us for a quote)
- Meals and drinks not specified
- Cost to obtain valid passport
- Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel staff
- Any items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks and telephone calls. Any item that is not specifically detailed on our website or in the final retreat itinerary
- Double Room: Euro 4,500 per person
- Single Supplement: Euro 975
Book this Journey by sending us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call us on
0031-6-33661772 to help you make your reservation