Our new land excursions travel to private homes, farms, villas and more to experience authentic culture as it unfolds. Small groups mix and mingle with welcoming locals for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the destinations we visit.
Discover the authentic country life of Turkey’s Aegean coast. Travel through the verdant countryside surrounding Kusadasi to the home and culinary workshop of a local family. Upon arrival, meet the hosts and share fresh lemonade with them during a conversation about the locality’s history and traditions. Relax on an open-air terrace set against mountains next to the family’s bountiful garden before joining the family in the preparation of Turkish cuisine. Using the freshest produce, some of which comes from the nearby garden, create local delicacies and enjoy them with the family.
Go inside the all-female Monastery of Evangelismos, established in 1937 on a spiritually significant site that has featured a hermitage for centuries. Visit the private gardens and see nuns go about their daily lives. In addition to devoting themselves to prayer and good works, they make honey and fruit-based liqueurs, and paint religious icons. Learn how the nuns also use a Byzantine needlework technique called “spitha” (spark) in their hand-sewn embroidery and fabrics.
Create pottery alongside a master of Rhodian ceramics. Start your day with a beautiful drive through the countryside, soaking in panoramas of villages, citrus groves, vineyards and olive trees. Upon arrival at the ceramics workshop, Savvas, meet the grandson of the original potter, who was considered a pioneer of modern Greek ceramics. Learn the techniques and materials used in this delightful craft. After a demonstration of how ceramics are made, select a plate or vase from the workshop and paint it while enjoying Greek mezes—small, savory plates—with local wine.
Discuss the significance of events in the Middle East with an esteemed scholar who is one of the world’s foremost experts on Iraq. Dr. Amatzia Baram is professor emeritus of the University of Haifa who has also taught at Oxford University’s St. Antony’s College, the National Defense College in Israel and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Baram and his wife Bonnie welcome Azamara guests to their home, an apartment filled with handmade furniture, each piece of which has its own story.
Learn about the faith, culture and cuisine of one of Israel’s ethnic minorities during a hands-on culinary workshop held in a villager’s home. Arabic-speaking Druze are Muslims whose denomination was established in the 11th century as a branch of Shia Islam. Sit down with family members and talk about their distinct traditions, practices and community.
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