Greece: A Circumnavigation of the Peloponnese May 16—25, 2018

Posted by Barry Lyon


Barry Lyon

Barry Lyon's passion for the outdoors and birding has its roots in his childhood in southern California. During his teenage years, he attended several VENT/ABA youth birdin...

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Sun-drenched islands, Athens and its iconic Acropolis, and the wine-dark Aegean Sea are evocative images that capture the allure of Greece. For others, particularly those who have previously traveled in Greece, it is the large multi-fingered Peloponnese Peninsula that is the preferred destination. Far removed from the sprawling capital city, the Peloponnese is a land of pastoral settings, beautiful coastlines, and remarkable historical sites that rival, even surpass, those of the mainland. It was against this backdrop that we conducted our latest cruise in Greece: A Circumnavigation of the Peloponnese.


Delphi— Photo: David & Kathy Barton


Under the banner of Birds & History, we performed a complete circuit of the Peloponnese, a six-day journey that incorporated visits to five major archaeological sites, the charming seacliff settlement of Byzantine-era Monemvassia, the wonderful and lightly visited island of Kythira, and several photogenic ports of call. Add to this an impressive assortment of birds and natural history, engaging presentations by Dr. Paul Woodruff, and a grand finale transit of the Canal of Corinth.

Visits to renowned historical sites formed the core of the program. In succession, we visited Epidaurus, Mycenae, Nestor’s Palace, Olympia, and Delphi. Each of these sites merits a visit on its own, but together they provide a grand sweep of ancient Greek history from Mycenaean times to the Roman era, a period spanning more than thirteen-hundred years. Each location offered something unique or especially memorable. Among the highlights was seeing the well-preserved theater at Epidaurus, the Lion’s Gate and beehive tomb at Mycenae, the ancient stadium at Olympia, and Delphi for its cliffside position and scenic surroundings. Time at several of the on-site museums enhanced our understanding and appreciation of civilizations long gone. Among the treasure-troves of artifacts on display at all sites, most over two-thousand years old, were standout pieces such as the linear B samples at Mycenae, the helmet of Miltiades and statue of Hermes at Olympia, and the Charioteer sculpture in bronze at Delphi.

Read Barry’s full report in his Field Report.