IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?
If you're interested in health and longevity, active travel, hiking, food, culture and folklore - then yes.
Having said that, this is not a plastic-wrapped tour of Greece. The trip involves physical training and several moderately-difficult hikes. All levels of fitness are welcome, although some existing base of physical ability is expected. While not strict requirements, the following self-assessment may help you decide if this trip is right for you (you don't have to be able to do them all, but the more you can do -- the better):
- you can hike on uphill, uneven terrain
- you can run/walk 5k at a comfortable pace;
- you can deadlift your own bodyweight (men) or half of your bodyweight (women);
- you can do at least 3 pullups (men) or 7 assisted/jumping pullups (women);
- you can do at least 10 pushups (men), or with knees on the floor (women);
- you can high-jump at least 20 inches (men), or at least 12 inches (women);
- you can perform at least 15 walking lunges while maintaining stability and control; and,
- you have a positive, flexible attitude.
You should have an interest in physical fitness, but also be willing to explore local traditions. You will want to learn the folkdances specific to the area, and to attend a festival that may go late into the night. You'll be eager to hike the mountains, not only to view the gorgeous panoramas but to see the local flora and fauna. You would never be apprehensive about eating with the locals and trying the traditional foods. In short, you're looking to explore the "real" Greece, while keeping up with your physical activities.
WHAT TYPE OF PHYSICAL TRAINING WILL WE DO?
Supervised workouts will be led outdoors -- in the village, on the trail, and in the odd park. We will focus on mobility, bodyweight exercises, rock lifting and swinging, sprinting, climbing, and more. You'll learn how to take advantage of the natural landscape to find unique training opportunities and how to construct your own workouts at home. Workouts are scalable for all levels, and how much you do is up to you. It's a holiday, after all.
WHAT TYPES OF MEALS ARE INCLUDED?
Almost all meals are included and will consist of seasonal and traditional foods from the region. Meals are shared at the table, and served at our hotel, in local estatoria and tavernas, or may even be picnic-style when we are hiking or at a festival. Food in Greece is based on olive oil, vegetables and herbs, meat and poultry, legumes, grains and local wine. Also important are olives, cheeses, yogurt, honey, eggplant and zucchini.
The traditional diet in Greece serves as the prototype of the Mediterranean Food Pyramid - well known as a contributor to good health and longevity. The cuisine is also a central part of Greek culture and we hope you experience all it has to offer. If you have food sensitivities or allergies , we will do our best to accommodate as long as you inform us in advance.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK?
Participants will receive a welcome package prior to departure that includes a recommended packing list along with useful information about the region. In general, expect lots of sunshine and some hot weather, so you won't need much more than casual workout clothes, shorts, t-shirts, and a pair of minimalist or flat-soled training shoes. Nevertheless, weather can change in the mountains quite suddenly and it can get cool at night. Be sure to include a hoodie or sweater for those occasions. You'll also need a daypack, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen and bug repellent.
WHERE DO WE MEET?
Our adventure starts and finishes in Athens. You'll fly into Athens "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport (ATH), and transfer to our hotel. Paragon Travel can assist you with your international travel details if required.
WHAT ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE?
We'll be staying in smaller hotels and guesthouses known for their quality and traditional character. We'll spend our last night at the luxurious Sofitel Airport Athens. This 5-star hotel overlooks the Mesoghaia valley and is just steps away from the departure terminals at Athens International.
HOW BIG IS THE GROUP?
Group size is limited to 12 people. We prefer a more intimate group to retain flexibility in the program and take advantage of spontaneous local happenings.
WILL I HAVE SOME TIME ON MY OWN?
The trip is not regimented, and on most days you will have enough individual freedom to get in some down-time or to explore on your own.
IS THERE A DEADLINE FOR BOOKING?
Space is limited and past trips sold out rapidly. It is in your best interest to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
WHAT IS THE COST?
Join us this June for Cdn$2985 if booked and paid prior to July 1st, 2018 (a savings of $400). The includes hotel accommodations, most meals, ground transfers, return airfare from Athens to Ikaria, guides and activities. Note that international air is not included.
IS THERE A SINGLE SUPPLEMENT?
All accommodations are standard twin/double rooms and based on double occupancy. If a single traveller would like to have their own room, this may be arranged (depending on availability) for a surcharge of Cdn$695.
ARE THERE EXTRA CHARGES?
International air is not included. Participants are also responsible to cover wine and alcohol, sundries, insurance, site admission fees, gratuities and personal items. Finally, we reserve the right to alter the final trip price due to itinerary changes, foreign currency fluctuations, and other unforeseen circumstances beyond our control.
IS MY TRIP REFUNDABLE?
Registration for this active travel and longevity retreat is fully transferable, but not refundable. The purchase of travel insurance and trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended. Trip details are handled by our agents Paragon Travel, who are registered with TICO (reg 1011988).
WHAT CURRENCY WILL I NEED?
In Greece, you will need euros for your own expenses. Note that almost all transactions in Ikaria are done in cash -- credit cards are not popular. There are ATMs that will allow you to withdraw euro notes once in Greece.