Dr Heather Sebo, Mycenae.            Helen at the Temple of Hera, Olympia

 

Homer Literary Tour: In the Footsteps of Odysseus from Turkey to Ancient Greece

The journey took us around the rim of the ancient Mediterranean world to places that were luminous in the imagination of the poet we call Homer.

From the windy walls of Troy… to mighty Athena at Assos, Pergamon to Ephesus, across to Crete and Phaestos, resplendent Knossos and the fortress of Mycenae.

Our twenty intrepid trekkers left no stone unturned as we followed, step by step, Odysseus’ 10 year journey from the battlefields of Troy… through the tremendum.. to his home — Ithaka.
The brilliant Dr Heather Sebo led us, each day weaving stories and evoking images of the Bronze Age to the Age of Homer.. the end of the Heroic age to the beginnings of the Classical age.
Art, history, philosophy and myth… at every turn we found stunning archaeological sites, ancient artefacts, sculpture and palaces.
All the while looking down onto the sparkling blue of the Mediterranean sea.

Odysseus’ final task before reaching home was to visit the World of the Dead. So we raced north from ancient Olympia to the Acheron River, sailed on a boat upstream…
And arrived at Hades, the Underworld. Clambering down into its inner chambers we, like Odysseus, remembered Achilles and The War, back at Troy where it all began.
Then a ferry to Ithaka — Odysseus’ island stronghold.  Yet alas, we were told the main road to the palace, the archaeological site, was closed due to earthquakes. We were devastated. To have come so far, without seeing Odysseus’ and Penelope’s home.
We regroup. Our Greek guide, Adonis, texts the heavens for help. And answer there came: Spiros Kouvaras, a local Homer sage.
Spiros took us in hand and on foot to a hidden pathway. We veered off the main road and down a 1000-year-old goat track. The next twenty hazardous minutes were spent in precarious single file, stepping carefully down the mountain, along the narrow path.
We suddenly spied the palace remains slumbering in the sun.

Spiros showed us his maps and walks along the edge of the suitors’ rooms (maybe)… the steps leading to Penelope’s rooms (possibly)… where she and Odysseus found each other after twenty years. Homer wrote of the famous night they spent together, “the longest night in the history of the universe.”

Gazing up at the fabled Cyclopean Walls, we wondered whether Odysseus, the war torn soldier, had found the answers to his questions: “How do I live a life, stay the course and reach home?”

After twenty-two epic days our little band of wayfarers found ourselves in Corfu. And our minds turned southwards and home. 

Plotting our course – Adonis and Spiros.   The evidence. Cyclopean walls – Odysseus’ palace.