"Exploring Macedonia" is our first new itinerary in Greece since 2018. On this occasion, to give an impression of the experience, we are providing a kind of travel diary on our blog, following precedents from Greece, Ireland and Turkey. Rather than describing every day in detail (you can check our itineraries on www.petersommer.com for that), every day we will pick one image we took that day, accompanied by some explanations and thoughts.
I always struggle a bit when winding up a tour. We, Maria and I, have spent our eleven days with many returning guests who knew me and Maria from previous trips, and also with new guests who had not experienced Peter Sommer Travels' offerings before. They were all welcome.
We fervently intend for our "Exploring..." tours to be the best-prepared cultural experiences available in the areas we travel, and we work very hard and very painstakingly to make them so, based on our own profound knowledge of the areas and places we present, but also on our extremely detailed preparation - and on our love and passion for the regions and places we share with our guests.
We have shared our knowledge and passion with our guests, and also the experience of travelling through a historic region and visiting its sites and museums - that's what we do. Our "Exploring..." tours are, essentially, a shared version of how we would approach and discover these places if we were travelling to discover them for ourselves.
We hope to have presented Macedonia, the northern region of Greece, in such a way that our guests feel they have gained a deep understanding of the area and its history; and we also hope that they might want to come back to Macedonia to see more of it, or that they might come back to join us on more tours in Greece, to discover other regions. Ideally both! And of course, we just want to see them all again and share more with them.
For us, it has been thrilling to tell the story of Macedonia, from its prehistoric origins to its modern life, from the harsh mountains of Upper Macedon via the fertile Central Macedonian Plain, from the slopes of Mount Olympus to the Aegean island of Thasos. We have shared so many landscapes and so many sites: villages, citadels, cities, noble and royal tombs (some painted), shrines, temples and churches. We have seen extraordinary pieces of art, ranging from Neolithic painted pots via Iron Age metalwork and the elaborate goldwork of Classical Macedon to the fantastic Byzantine frescoes and mosaics of Thessaloniki.
We've also shared the region's culinary delights with our guests - because they are another expression of history and culture. The aromas and flavours of Macedonia are unforgettable and we hope to have offered their full gamut to our group.
And we have told so many stories, illustrating the many things that have happened in this historic region. Today, our guests are returning to their various homes, and we, the guides, feel a little bereft. Until our next tours, of course!
There is more to be said about Macedonia, so watch this space.
(Our image is a view of the Old Town of Kavala, our home on two nights of "Exploring Macedonia".)