Rebetika: Music: Food: Art: Nature: ANZAC
A most unique tour - we do not know anyone who has combined the elements of Greek Music: Greek Hisotry and Art: PLF and ANZAC history into one tour programme. Led by a master of Greek Rebetika Music you will absorb a Greece that is not imaged by the cliche ruins and beaches. Yes you can still include these, but our tour will open Greece up and display many other aspects of this stunning country.
Day 1: 15 May 2018: Arrive Athens and check into group hotel. Balance of day free. Participants will be arriving at differing times of the day and with different levels of jetlag.
Day 2: 16 May: AM - Your musical experience starts with a visit to the, “Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments’. Here we will meet Christina Arnold for a guided tour of Athens Street Art. PM – time to visit the STUNNING new Acropolis Musuem. It is essential to explore this museum before exploring the Acropolis itself. Evening - Music performance Venue
Day 3: 17 May: AM – Visit the Museum of Greek Instruments. In addition, you will taken to an assortment of local record shops. This wander will take in parts of ‘Old Athens’, eventually reaching the famous (PM) Acropolis where you can explore one of the great wonders of the world. Balance of day free.
Evening – Music performance venue.
Day 4: 18 May: AM – Museum of Greek Popular Music and Pireaus, to explore what were known as the Asia Minor Suburbs. The sweep of the harbour bay is adorned with chic cafes for dining. It is also interesting visuals to see part of the harbour breakwater is festooned with parts of ancient Greek columns. These actually form part of the wall!
PM – For those who have not been to Athens before, and those that wish to repeat, a general sightseeing tour by bus to take in the major highlights.
Evening – Music performance venue.
Day 5: 19 May: AM- Visit to the instrument maker – Rapakousios. PM – Time to explore the Athens Flea Market – bargain hunting. It is planned to have a ‘House Concert’ today – details closer to the date. Perhaps you will have time for a personal visit to the Museum of the History of the Greek Costume.
Evening – Music performance venue.
Day 6: 20 May: AM – Visit to the instrument maker – Giorgos Karellas.
PM – A visit to Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery. The building belonged to the artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika who donated it to the Benaki Museum. Commissioned by Alexander Hadjikyriakos in 1932, comprised a ground floor and five upper floors. it is a typical example of an interwar apartment block. In the mid-1950s, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika decided to live in the building, which belonged to his family, on a permanent basis. The artist lived on the fifth floor of the building, using the unusually spacious and well-lit space on the sixth floor as a studio and library. He lived and worked there continuously for almost forty years until his death in September 1994. After his death these areas were preserved as they had been decorated and arranged during the artist’s lifetime.
Day 7: 21 May: A full day excursion to the nearby island of Hydra. We make our way to the port of Piraeus to catch the 09:00 Flying Cat to Hydra. Arrival Hydra 10:30.
Departure from Hydra port at 16:25 back to Piraeus arriving 18:00 – the night is still young!
There are no vehicles on the island. Why go? This is where Leonard Cohen had his house and it became, from the 1950’s though the 60’s to the 70’s, a gathering point for the bohemia of both Greece and the world. Ghika had a house there. Paddy Leigh Fermor wrote the bulk of his famous book, ‘The Mani’ whilst living in Ghikas house for 2 years. Our plan is to make a walking tour (only way) along the atmospheric small lanes that are the roads on this island. All ‘freight’ moves by donkey train. It is planned to have lunch at a particular Taverna , overlooking the water, that is not situated in the main port where the ferries all come, but below Gikas house, it being the favoured Taverna of Paddy during his residence on the island. The walk back from here, along the coast track, passes many swimming spots, so bring the bathers!
There is also a strong link to Australian writers and the bohemia movement..
From Leonard Cohen to Allen Ginsberg, Sidney Nolan to Peter Finch, artists gravitated around the glamorous Australian literary couple, George Johnston and Charmian Clift, on this tiny Aegean island in a time of rebellion, romance and creativity. It was a time of great inspiration and camaraderie as the expat artists drank, argued, dreamed and created. It was here that Johnston wrote his novel, My Brother Jack, and his close friend Cohen penned the musical masterpieces Suzanne, Bird on a Wire and So Long Marianne
Three important artists and close friends, Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Nikos (1906-1994), John Craxton (1922-2009) and Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011), from the first years of their acquaintance, in the mid-40s to the end of their lives. Craxton and Fermor, despite being born in Britain, spent the bulk of their post WW2 lives in Greece, Hania (Crete) and Kardamill (The Mani) respectively. Paddy Leigh Fermor is regarded by many as the greatest travelogue writer of the 20th century. Craxton and Ghika were mostly known for their art work, Ghika is regarded as Greece’s greatest 20th century artist. In 2017 there is a major exhibition about this group, at the Benaki. During our complete tour we will touch on various aspects of what they are remembered for.
Day 8: 22 May: AM – We pay our respects at the final resting place of Vassilis Tsitsanis and Soteria Vellou. We may meet with a local Rebetika historian.
Balance of day free. Perhaps you will find time to visit the main Benaki Musuem building and step into a wider range of Greek art and history leading into the current century. Evening – Music performance venue.
Probable Athens Music Venues
Panikarea Venue - Kapnikarea
Day 9: 23 May: AM: After checkout we travel to the island of Syros – either by flight, or ferry. At the time of publication the timetables are not available for this period.
PM - Visit the museum of Markos Vamvakaris.
Evening – live music venue.
Day 10: 24 May: Free day to explore the island as you feel.
Day 11: 25 May: Depart Syros (flights via Athens) to Crete. Arrive and check into hotel at Heraklion.
Day 12: 26 May: AM - Walking tour of old city and visit to the Heraklion Historial museum. A visit will also be made to the most well known and well stocked music store in Herkalion. PM – A short drive out of Herkalion brings us to one of the most significant ruins relating to the start of modern European society – the Minoan capital of Knossos. A guided tour will conclude with a possible (external areas) visit inside the grounds of Ariadne Villa. This was built by Arthur Evans the eminent archaeologist, considered by some to be the father of modern archaeological technique, as his base for the excavation of Knossos. After the evacuation of the Greek mainland in WW2 it was briefly the home of the Greek government, then a British hospital and finally the residence of the German General occupying Crete. It is currently a base for archaeologists – subject to local authority being given.
Day 13: 27 May: Possible visit to Ross Daley and his music school.
Day 14: 28 May: Today is a rather different and special day, where we will explore high into the Cretan Mountains and follow the famed escape route of Paddy Leigh Fermor, Billy Moss and the Cretan resistance, as they ‘escorted’ the kidnapped German General Kriepe to the southern coast for eventual extraction to Cairo. This, one of the most daring SOE (Special Operations Executive) operations of WW2, was immortalised in the book, ‘Ill Met By Moonlight’, which became a classic 1958 movie staring Dirk Bogart. It also became the basis of one of the immortal Goon Show radio scripts (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan etc) – Ill Met By Goonlight’.
We depart Heraklion, with our local expert guide, first visiting the road intersection of Anogia where the actual kidnap took place (Crete has erected a large memorial to the event) before following mountain roads passing small villages through the Amari Valley. Sites include the Arkadi Monastery, villages associated with the Resistance (view some of the sobering memorials to the village reprisals by German forces), and hiding places used by PLF (Paddy Leigh Fermor), Billy Moss, Xan Fielding, Tom Dunbabin, George Psychoundakis (author of the book, ‘The Cretan Runner’), and General Kriepe. Lunch will be taken at a small village high in the mountains and we plan to enjoy some local village mountain musicians (TBA). During the day you will see some of the most beautiful scenery obtainable in Crete, along a route the general tourist does not follow. The day concludes with arrival at the ancient ‘Venetian Empire’ town of Hania and our hotel.
Possible local music venue and visit to the local musical instrument shop.
Day 15: 29 May: AM We are off for a tour of the local area featuring its, Very old Venetian past and also its deep connection with Australia and New Zealand – the last time the two nations fought as an ANZAC division – during the battle of Crete. The evacuation of Crete is one of the most significant events in WW2 ANZAC history. This defeat is something that touched so many families due, not only deaths incurred, but the large numbers that became POW’s. The ANZAC name (as actual fighting units in action) began at Gallipoli and concluded at Crete.
Highlights will include;
Our final night for a group dinner and some music.
Day 16: 30 May: For those that need to depart we wave farewell. For those that wish to experience more we have an active and historical option available.
Depart Hania and follow, by road, the arduous route taken by many of the retreating ANZACS to the south coast. At approximately the mid point we will trek through a section of one of the famous mountain gorges – Imbros Gorge. Not only is this a stunning walk, but it is actually part of the route taken by many of the exhausted troops. We finally reach the small coastal village of Safagia which became the focal point and HQ (in caves) for the evacuation. Many got away, but thousands entered captivity. Return to Hania.
All can extend their time in either Crete, or other parts of Greece, or move on to other parts of the world. We can assist with all departure options, be it ferry or air, from Hania, or Heraklion.
We will offer to introduce people who wish to share, to others with a similar aim. The price is based on an EU$/AU$ exchange rate as of September 2017. Until the balance is paid we reserve the right to amend the above cost (up or down) due to changes in the exchange rate. The minimum group size will be 14 and the maximum is 16. Please don't, 'wait and see' if we get the minimum numbers. We need the deposit in to be counted. Your booking, if held back, may be the one the makes it go ahead. Naturally if the tour does not operate a full refund of the deposit is made.
Private Transportation as per itinerary :
Heraklion airport to hotel
Private bus for desinated sightseeing days in Crete.
Private, professional, licensed English speaking guide for the guided visits :
Specialist guides in Crete
Entrance Fees : Acropolis site, New Acropolis Museum.
Ferry Tickets :
All local taxes & VAT
Specialist Music and culture host throughot tour - Mr Con Kalamaris.
Flights - see below.
Drinks and meals other than breakfast.
Personal expenses and tips
Any services not mentioned in main itinerary
Starting from 01/01/2018 there will be a new tax called, 'Overnight stay tax", which has to be paid directly at the hotel. For 3 star hotelsit is as follows;
All part of the 'rescue the Greek economy' plan. In 2016 when Brent was in Greece they increased the GST on coffee only - hit them at the cafes!!! Now days they have to have electronic processing of payments at cafes, with receipts - trying to catch the 'famous 'black economy' of Greece.
We can organise all flights. Who really knows what flight deals will be for this time. We will set a designated airline (once minimum numbers are reached) and those that arrive on this can avail themselves of the included transfers. It is best to lock in your airfare once we know we have the minimum numbers.
You can book other airlines - some may wish to use frequent flyer points. The start point for those people would then be the first night hotel. You can get an idea of what flights will be by using our web flight enquiry/booking engine. Take the link that says 'Advanced Search'.
Domestic flight Syros to Crete. We wil not be 100% certain of the timetable and price until a bit later, but if its stays like it is in 2017...read on.
SKYEXPRESS: SYROS → ATHENS → HERAKLIO : Per person all taxes included €131 inc 25kg baggage.
SYROS → ATHENS / Dep. 14:05 – Arrv. 14:45
We can assist with this, either online, or with a human. You must have insurance. Which policy? This depends on yuor personal circumstcances - age, any pre-exisiting medical conditions etc. Be careful so many online insureres and credit card inclusive insurance have glaring gaps in their levels and range of covers.
We have noted copies of our personally designed tours appearing elsewhere, yes copying is the highest accolade - but....