Ancient Macedonia reviewed


A water-snake approaches us in Debar (picture by Sue)

Well on the whole I thought that Explore’s Ancient Macedonia tour was pretty good!  I think that the highlights for me were the Macedonian royal tombs at Vergina, The Caucasian Chalk Circle in Macedonian and the bizarre experience of taking pictures of Mount Athos from the boat just because everyone else was.

I certainly enjoyed the experience of visiting Macedonia (the republic).  I was surprised to find how much of a tour entitled ‘Ancient Macedonia’ was taken up with monasteries and icons, and I didn’t really see the point of the time we spent in Bulgaria. I think it would make more sense to start from Thessaloniki and with a visit to the Archaeological and Byzantine Museums, which would give as good a picture of the relationship between the Classical and Byzantine eras and sites (or sights) as one is going to get without a lecture on the subject. Then the monasteries and icons would make more sense.

I did get a bit bored with explanations from people who didn’t know that much about what they were talking about.  One guide was adamant that Greek drama developed from religious ritual, which is the simple and obvious theory but not much held these days.  Another insisted that Dionysus was the ‘god of balance’, without introducing Apollo for him to balance out.

Maybe for an old pedant like me either the Andante Travels offering or the Balkan Heritage Field School might have been more the thing…

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