Welcome to The Greek Project
It’s time for a new beginning! To the two years of covid which have defeated our study-tour plans, we have also felt Greece’s own suffering, not least in a 200th anniversary year which should have been one of riotous, glorious celebration but instead is more likely to be remembered for its devastating forest fires.
In 2022 we will both return to Greece and reaffirm our love, solidarity with, and commitment to its peoples. As we anticipate the exciting possibilities that this new year will bring we are also very much looking forward to new vistas. Behind us are a cluster of cultural and culinary tours with the once great multicultural city of Salonika, our first and constant love. And Salonika will continue to be at the heart of our unashamed aim to combine the pleasures of Aegean sun, sea, good food, wine and atmospheric surroundings with a more flavoursome, even pungent recipe: study-tour holidays with intellectual bite.
With that in view, we’ll be overhauling (by way of a Victoria Hislop novel) our ever popular cultural tour of Salonika into something both more literary-focused yet exuberant. We’ll also for the first time be enjoying the world of Greek cinema in Salonika, in a special autumn weekend. Reaffirming too our commitment to and pleasure in Greek language learning in late May we’ll also be running our regular Greek language course for intermediate and more advanced learners. But this year with a difference. For the first time, it will take place in Ellie’s home town of Xanthi, in Thrace. This will also be base for our spring ‘Thracian Homecoming’ tour (repeated again in September) of town, coast and dramatic hill country and Ellie’s ‘very special ‘how to cook like Greeks do’ extravaganza, from her very own mother’s kitchen!
Xanthi offers something rather different to Salonika: a much smaller city with a beautiful old town, where the sound of the muezzin’s call to prayer harmonises evocatively with the bells from countless Orthodox churches. Xanthi, thus, is genuinely multi-ethnic, at the centre of a part-mountainous, part delta region where diversity, natural and human, is the norm. Head up into Pomakochoria, as we will, and the sense of a Greece as a sum of many parts, is tantalising.
We conceived our first not-for-profit study-tours to express solidarity with a country in adversity. That intention has not diminished. Each tour throws up aspects of a country – and peoples – whose physical beauty, cultural depth and exuberance for life have to be set against an often troubled recent past and austere present. But instead of shying away from these realities our head-on engagement with the histories, languages, cultures, cuisines and precious yet fragile environment of the region has paid dividends in the rewards to our participants.
Our featured tours for 2022 are yours for the viewing. And don’t forget too to have a look at our tailor-made tours aimed at realising your own educational, recreational or fact-finding passions and agendas.
We look forward to your company!
Ellie and Mark
What makes us different?
The Greek Project began as a conversation between friends. Partly that was about the economic crisis, and how we might do something small to promote ordinary Greek people in their hour of need to an audience that already knew that there was something more to Greece than its negative press.
But that proposition raised a more general question about the nature of modern travel. How does one get to know any country in a more than a skin-deep way? Why is it, for instance, that when one goes on a guided visit of some really stunning place, what one invariably gets to hear is banal, the resulting impression being that ‘tourism’ nearly always plays safe, shying away from the difficult, problematic – but often most seriously interesting things about a country’s past? And why is it always so difficult to genuinely encounter its living people other than in a superficial manner?
If you have an idea for a study-tour tailor-made to your group, circle or college department, why not get in touch with us by clicking on the enquiry form below? We will scope your idea on request and while we can organise a bespoke tour for any number of people however small, prices become comparable with our featured tours with a minimum of ten guaranteed participants. Tailor-made tours can be organised as a long-weekend, a short or full week, or longer.