This fall I joined a Road Scholar trip to Rome, Athens and Istanbul. Though I’ve been on several organized vacations, I rarely go on a fully guided trip and wasn’t sure what to expect. It was GREAT! I traveled for two weeks with a very companionable group of folks from all over the US. We had lectures almost every morning after breakfast and experienced ancient history up close and personal.
Friends as “what was the best part”? Easy. Walking through ancient history.
I could not get over the awe of seeing the first civilized malls of ancient Rome and walking the same tavertine paving stones from the reign of Augustus!
Then there was the actual shopping that did not involve modern malls. Open air markets! I could have spent days wandering between stalls of produce, books and antiques. What a wonderful experience!!
Awe was the overwhelming state of being as I followed, stared and listened. Hagia Sophia has been continually occupied since it was built in 537. It is not a ruin, though it is in a state of continuous repair.
I am easily impressed by beautiful art and skillful creation of art. Well, the art throughout this trip was beyond comprehension especially when you consider the limited tools and total lack of technology that ancient artisans had available. Everyday I was surrounded by such glorious beauty. I had a camera at ready to record the work that took others years to create. Paintings, mosaics. weavings, sculptures, architecture that has survived hundreds of years, where my insignificant photos might make it to the next generation.
The image that comes to mind first when I think of this wonderful trip is that of the Acropolis at night. Sitting in the hotel bar testing another dirty martini with a full moon, the scene is as dramatic as it was when the Parthenon was completed in 438 BC.
I will never be able to travel as often as I dream of travel. There are SO many places that I need to experience. As my closest friends know, I plan many more trips than I take. But I’m sure that this trip will always be high on my list of top 10s.