Thank you for your interest in the Journeys of Paul trip, October 8-20, 2024. Since you have traveled with us on trips in the past, we want you to know at the outset that Jim will not be traveling on this trip. He is very disappointed that he will not be able to go, but we are fortunate to have Mark Turman take his place. Here is a message from Jim -
I am grateful to introduce Dr. Mark Turman to you as you consider joining the "Footsteps of Paul" trip this fall. Dr. Turman serves with me as Executive Director of Denison Forum and has been a friend and colleague for more than three decades. He is a brilliant teacher and a caring minister. His insights into biblical passages relevant to the various sites of the tour will be memorable and faith-building. Dr. Turman and Dr. Mike Fanning will lead the tour with excellence as you experience this fascinating and beautiful part of the world. I hope you'll join the group for a pilgrimage you will long remember.
Dr. Jim Denison
While we are disappointed that Jim will not be with us, this is going to be one incredible trip! To be able to visit the sites of Athens and Corinth, board a ship and cruise through the Greek islands to Thessaloniki, Philippi, Istanbul, Troas, Pergamon, Ephesus and Patmos is a once in a lifetime experience. As with all the trips we have done in the past, we have included almost everything you can think of on this trip – air from Dallas, most meals, special nights out for dinner at local Athens restaurants, all the sightseeing, deluxe cabins on the ship, most tips, etc. I really don’t think we could add anything else to this trip. The itinerary and all the details are below.
We hope that you will take this opportunity to go with us on this Journeys of Paul trip.
Tuesday October 8 - Dallas-Ft. Worth – Athens
The group will depart Dallas in the late afternoon on our flight to Athens.
Wednesday October 9 - Athens
When we arrive in Athens, we will be met by our hosts and transfer to our hotel, the Royal Olympic Hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the famous Plaka (the main shopping district in Athens), visit some sites or museums of the city (the National Archaeological or the Benaki Museum) or take the cable-car to the top of Lycabetus Hill (the tallest in Greece) and enjoy the great view. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at the Royal Olympic Hotel.
Thursday October 10 – Athens
In the morning, admire the architectural miracles of ancient Athens, as we follow our guide to the world famous Acropolis to see the Propylea, the Erectheum and the Parthenon. We will also visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his speech on the “Unknown God,” as well as view the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. During the bus tour, we will see Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the Neoclassical buildings of Athens. Dinner at a local Athens restaurant and overnight at the Royal Olympic Hotel.
Friday October 11 – Corinth
Today we will visit the southern part of Greece, beginning with Ancient Corinth. This is the once glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year and a half preaching the Gospel. We will visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio, accused by the Jews of Corinth. We will return to Athens in the afternoon. Dinner at a local Athens restaurant and overnight at the Royal Olympic Hotel.
Saturday October 12 – Athens – Cruise
The group will depart Athens and transfer to the port of Lavrion where we will board our ship, the Louis Journey, and begin the cruise portion of our tour.
Sunday October 13 – Thessaloniki, Greece
We arrive in the morning at the incredible city of Thessaloniki, the city where Paul, Silas and Timothy visited on the 2nd missionary journey and established a church. Paul later wrote a letter to that church that we know as the book of Thessalonians. We will spend the entire day on a historic, full-day excursion combining the glories of Pella with those of Vergina, and it includes lunch overlooking the stunning Aliakmon Valley. We will begin with a 45-minute drive by air-conditioned motor coach to Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great and the second capital of ancient Macedonia. Alexander, Emperor in the 4th Century BC, was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history’s most successful military commanders. For 250 years Pella was the cultural center of the Ancient Greek world and as the seat of the royal family, enjoyed its greatest prosperity during the reign of Alexander. Archaeological excavations have uncovered public buildings and luxurious private homes with intricate marble-floor mosaics along with a plethora of delicate clay figurines and vases. Our next stop is Vergina, where we visit the tomb of King Philip II of Macedonia. Dating from 335 BC, the bones of the king are covered with a golden wreath of oak leaves. Also here are the king’s iron helmet and a cache of weapons. As well as King Philip’s tomb and personal effects, we will see well-preserved examples of large-scale classical painting and numerous carved, painted steles of ordinary citizens. We will then drive back to the ship.
Monday October 14 - Philippi, Greece
We arrive in the morning at the port of Kavala, the ancient site of Neapolis, which is the place where St. Paul set foot on the European continent during his 2nd missionary journey. We will leave the port and travel along the famous Egnatian road, which once ran from Adriatic Sea to Byzantium (today Constantinople), to see the aqueduct built by Suleiman the Magnificent. From here, we will cross the city, passing by St. Silas monastery, named after one of St. Paul’s traveling companions. We will then travel to the famous city of Philippi, one of the most interesting biblical and historical ancient cities. The city, once known as Krinides, was renamed “Philippi” after King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. It is the place where Brutus and Cassius were defeated by Mark Antony and Octavian Augustus, granting the city of Philippi a great many privileges. From here, we will drive a short distance to the baptistery and the river where Lydia, the first European convert, was baptized. We will then return to the archaeological site for a guided tour through the excavations, marveling at the upper and lower parts of the city, as well as the Forum, the walls of the city, the two basilicas, the theatre and the possible site of the jail where Paul and Silas were in prison and where the Philippian jailor was converted. We will drive back to Kavala, but before returning to the ship we will stop at the monument commemorating the place where Paul landed in Neapolis.
Tuesday October 15 – Istanbul, Turkey
We arrive in the morning and immediately begin our tour of Istanbul (Constantinople), the city which straddles two continents. The capital of the Byzantine Empire for more than 1000 years and of the Ottoman Empire for more than 500 years, Istanbul is famous for many beautiful places and museums, which we will have the opportunity to see. We will depart from the Karakoy Ship port to the Old City area. On the way to the Old City we will see Galata District which was a capital of commerce during the Ottoman Empire, the Galata Tower, Galata Bridge, Eminonu Square and New Mosque. Our first stop will be the ancient Hippodrome, which was a sporting and social centre of Constantinople (Capital of Byzantine Empire). After visiting the Hippodrome, we will continue to the fabulous Blue Mosque, the most splendid mosque in the city, distinguished by six slender minarets and the interior decorated with blue Iznik tile. We will then visit St. Sophia (Divine Wisdom), one of the greatest churches in the world, built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. After the conquest of the city in 1453, it was transformed into a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror and in 1934 into a museum by Ataturk. Before lunch we will visit the Topkapi Palace, where the rich collection of Ottoman Treasures can be seen. The palace with a base area of 700,000 square meters is spread over the promontory called the Seraglio Point from where you can view the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara. This legendary maze of buildings was the residence of the Ottoman sultans and the administrative heart of the Empire. You will have your lunch at fourth courtyard of the palace at the Konyali Restaurant with a stunning view of the Bosphorus. In the afternoon, we will visit the amazing Grand Bazaar, which is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3000 shops. After some time for shopping, we will return to our ship at the Karakoy ship port.
Wednesday October 16 – Dikili (Troas), Turkey
We arrive in the morning at the Dikili port and our first stop will be at Acropolis at the ancient town of Pergamon. This was the location of the northernmost of the seven churches of Asia Minor according to the book of Revelation in the New Testament. Pergamon means fortress or acropolis and the city was at the heart of a powerful kingdom and held the reputation as a political and cultural center in the Byzantine era. We will drive to the remains of the Asklepion, one of the world’s first hospitals. It’s a complex of mostly open- air buildings connected by porticoes dedicated to the god of Healing, Asclepius. Excavations date the construction of the temple to the 4th century BC, but it mainly flourished during the Roman period, thanks to the efforts of Hadrian. As well as facilities for the care of patients, the Asklepion also included a theatre for up to 3,500 spectators, lecture halls and a library. After our tour of the Asklepion, we return the port of Dikili and to the ship.
Thursday October 17 – Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
We arrive at the Kusadasi port in the morning and set out for Ephesus, the trade centre of the ancient world, a religious centre of the early Christianity and the site where Paul spent three years during his ministry. This is the city where both Paul and John preached and lived (Acts 19) and the city to which Paul wrote the book of Ephesians. Ephesus is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. For a few hours you will feel like a Roman citizen living in the history of the ancient site of Ephesus. We will explore the site, entering through the Magnesian Gate and continuing to visit the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre, the largest one in antiquity with a capacity of 24,000 seats where St. Paul preached. We will walk back to the bus along the Arcadian Way, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession. We will then drive to the Rug Village for a lunch and free carpet demonstration. Our final stop will be at the ancient city of Miletus, another of the greatest and wealthiest cities in Ancient Greece and one of the first to mint coins. Homer mentioned Miletus in The Iliad and Paul preached here on the way back to Jerusalem. There are many well preserved ruins here, including the Temple of Apollo and a Byzantine church. We then head back to the port and our ship.
Friday October 18 – Patmos
We arrive at the small port of Patmos is the morning and travel through the picturesque alleyways as they wind up the hill towards the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist, founded in 1088 by St. Christodoulos. We will visit the monastery’s yard, the place where the monks take their meals, the old bakery and the Byzantine Church of St. John, which is adorned with a wood-carved icon screen, important frescoes from several periods, mosaic and other icons. We will visit the small museum, which hosts religious treasures of inestimable value, manuscripts, medieval textiles and sacerdotal vestments. The highlight of the tour will be our visit to the Chapel of St. Anne and the Grotto of the Apocalypse, where traditions states is the place where John lived in exile and where he wrote the book of Revelation.
Saturday October 19 – Athens
We will arrive back to Athens in the morning and be taken to Old Athens where we will have a walking tour of the city. At the end of the walking tour, we will have a guided tour of the new Acropolis Museum. After a visit to the museum, we will have the rest of the day free. We will have dinner out at a local Athens restaurant followed by overnight at the Royal Olympic Hotel.
Sunday October 20 – Athens - Depart
We will transfer to the Athens airport where we will board our flight for the U.S. We will arrive back in Dallas/Ft. Worth later the same day.
INCLUDED IN THE TOUR COST
** AIRFARE: Roundtrip air from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Athens.
** HOTEL: 4 nights in Athens at Royal Olympic Hotel (https://www.royalolympic.com) or similar on HB basis (breakfast and dinner daily). A few single rooms are available at an additional cost. If a passenger cannot supply a roommate and MBF Enterprises, Inc. is unable to do so, the passenger will have to pay the supplemental charge.
** CRUISE: 7 day / 7 night cruise on FB basis (breakfast, lunch and dinner daily).
** CRUISE CABINS: Inside Cabin category IC included on the ship. Upgrades available.
** MEALS: Breakfast and dinner are included on the land portion of the tour and breakfast, lunch and dinner are included on the cruise portion of the tour. Note: Meal times and locations are subject to change on a day-by-day basis.
** RESTAURANT DINNERS: We have planned four special dinners in local Athens restaurants.
** SIGHTSEEING: English speaking professional guide for sightseeing and touring as per itinerary.
** TRANSPORTATION: Deluxe motor coach for all transfers and touring as per itinerary.
** FEES: Entrance fees to all archaeological sites as per itinerary.
** PORT TAXES AND TIPS: Cruise port taxes and cruise tips ($339.00 per person) are included in the tour cost.
** SHORE EXCURSIONS: The following shore excursions ($637.00 per person) are included in the tour cost:
** TRANSFERS: All transfers between airports and hotels.
** PORTERAGE: Porterage and handling of one (1) bag per person.
** TAXES: All taxes on the hotels, meals and other tour services.
Not included in tour price:
** Airline Taxes (Note: They are currently running around $100 per person and they may increase or decrease before departure)
** Trip cancellation insurance (strongly recommended)
** Drinks during meals during the land portion of the tour (the cruise included the all-inclusive drink package)
** Shore excursions during cruise (except those listed above)
** Lunches during land portion of the trip (except the Land of Alexander the Great & Istanbul excursion)
** Tips for the guides and drivers on the daily tours
** Personal expenses (laundry, phone calls, etc.)
** Excessive baggage charges, such as overweight charges or the porterage of more than (1) suitcase
** Individual services apart from group
** Expenses due to flight delays, strikes, bad weather or other irregularities
** Cost of passport
Registration and deposits: An initial deposit of $600.00 per person is required to secure definite reservations. We regret that no space may be reserved without a deposit.
Credit Card Payments: To make your deposit by credit card, please contact me by email. NOTE: All credit card transactions will be conducted through PayPal and we must pass along the 3.5% fee that they charge us. Payment via Zelle is available through your local bank.
Final payment: Balance of payment is due on July 9, 2024.
Cancellations and refunds: If the trip is canceled in its entirety after a deposit has been made, there will be cancellation penalties based on the following schedule:
- More than 120 days prior to departure – Full refund
- 119-90 days prior to departure - $300.00
- 90-60 days prior to departure - $300.00
- 60 days prior to departure – No refund
Cancellations must be made in writing; verbal cancellations, whether in person or by phone, are not valid. A special optional trip cancellation insurance policy is available.
Travel and Health Documents: A valid passport is required for all tours. No special inoculations are required unless specifically notified.
Participant Guidelines: International travel, while rewarding, can be physically difficult. The following information will help you understand the nature of this Bible study tour and the level of physical activity you can expect. Participants should be able to:
- Walk for ½ mile on cobblestone or uneven surfaces, and uphill for ¼ mile on gravel roads
- Walk up and down stairs without assistance, often without railings
- Stand for 20 minutes in an outdoor location (to listen to lectures and Bible studies)
- Travel via airplane for 10 to 12 hours
- Travel via bus for up to two hours at a time. We will load/unload from a bus at least 4 times a day
- Carry all personal luggage through airport terminals without assistance (porters will be available at all hotels)
- Go through international passport control and customs without assistance
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the level of physical activity, please do not hesitate to contact Mike Fanning or Jeff Byrd (email@example.com).
Tour price: The price of the tour is based on a minimum of 30 passengers. Should the final membership fall below this number, MBF Enterprises, Inc. reserves the right to increase the tour price.
Responsibility: This tour is planned and operated by MBF Enterprises, Inc. by contracting for services from other suppliers. MBF Enterprises, Inc. and/or its agents, acting as agents for the tour members, shall be responsible to tour members for supplying services and accommodations as set forth in this brochure, except to the extent such services and accommodations cannot be supplied due to force of nature, delays, or other causes beyond the control of MBF Enterprises, Inc. If the service and accommodations set forth in this brochure cannot be supplied due to delays or other causes beyond the control of MBF Enterprises, Inc., best efforts will be made to supply comparable services and accommodations. If such services and accommodation cannot be provided due to the above reasons, or if the services are not used due to voluntary omission by the tour member, refunds will not be granted.
By becoming a member of the tour, a participant waives any claim against MBF Enterprises, Inc. for any damages to or loss of property, or any injury to or death of persons due to any act of negligence of any hotels or any other persons rendering any of the services and accommodations included in the ground portion of the itinerary. MBF Enterprises, Inc. shall not be responsible for any delays, substitutions of equipment, or any act or omission whatsoever by any air or surface carrier, its agents, servants and employees; and a participant, by becoming a member of the tour, waives any claim arising there from. MBF Enterprises, Inc. and/or its agents is not responsible for loss or damage to participants baggage (baggage insurance highly recommended). The liability of the Airlines for the loss or damage to the baggage of the participant shall be limited in accordance with the carrier's liability insurance coverage, unless a higher value has been declared with respect hereto and additional payment made to the airline.
MBF Enterprises, Inc. reserves the right to decline, accept or retain any participant as a member of this tour at any time. If a participant is removed from the tour, a proportionate refund will be made. MBF Enterprises, Inc. reserves the right to cancel the tour prior to departure and if the tour is canceled, MBF Enterprises, Inc. shall have no responsibility beyond the refund of monies paid by the participant to MBF Enterprises, Inc. NOTE: If, because of war, or an act of God, or any reasonably unavoidable catastrophic circumstances, MBF Enterprises, Inc. and/or the tour hosts are forced to cancel the tour after funds are advanced to the airlines, ground service agents or other such vendors, MBF Enterprises, Inc. and/or the tour hosts are only obligated to return moneys advanced by the passengers in this tour which MBF Enterprises, Inc. and/or the tour hosts are successful in recovering from those vendors.