• Stone Alleyway With Green Plants, Greece

    Seeking Greek Origins

    Even though Classic Journeys’ guest and frequent traveler Achilles is Greek to the core, his younger generations had never been to the homeland. So he enlisted the team at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: none;">Classic Journeys</span></a> to arrange a few days on their ancestral island of Lesbos, so the grandfather could reveal their origins to his family. <br><br>Achilles tells his own story beautifully. “My wife and I enjoy taking our family on visits around the world. We’ve decided that for one of those trips it would be cool to show them where my mother was born, and Classic Journeys helped us make that happen.” <br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002Ixlm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000papD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>“My mother was born in a little town named Andissa on the island of Lesbos. When she left the island to come to the United States, Andissa had a population of 5,000. Today it is less than 1,000. My mother was sent to the United States because her family could not afford to provide for her and her older sister at home. Thanks to the planning that <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> helped us do, we explored the village, had lunch in the town square and found my mother’s childhood home. Almost all of the buildings, including my mother’s house, are well over 100 years old. There is a wonderful old tree that sits in the middle of the square, surrounded by benches and old men chatting. Quite different from the way our children and grandchildren live, in New York and Connecticut. <br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002Ixlm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000papI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>We spent about a week on the island of Lesbos. A special place was the petrified forest on Lesbos, one of the largest in the world. Our favorite activity was to explore different little beaches. In my opinion, the ideal beach has warm water, soft sand and a taverna; where I can sit and have Kefthedis (Greek meatballs) and a beer while my grandchildren swim. We found that special time by returning to our<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/heritage-travel/" target="_blank"> </a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/heritage-travel/" target="_blank">family’s roots</a>.&quot;<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002Ixlm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000pap8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Achilles&#39; family returned home with a deeper understanding of their Greek heritage and of each other. If you want to explore the land of your ancestors, give us a call at 800.200.3887. We&#39;ll be happy to see what discoveries we can help unfold for you! <br><br> 

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  • View from Flam Railway, Norway

    Roots on a Norwegian Farm

    While on tour with Classic Journeys in Norway, sisters Mary and Sydney asked if we could help them arrange a visit to an ancestral family farm. Without missing a beat, our team in-country jumped into action to facilitate a remarkable step into the past.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002IxmB&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000pasb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank">Local guide</a>, Vibeke, networked and pulled a few strings to find the farm in the tiny village of Kvale gård… and even took them there! Vibeke knew the current owners of the farm, making it possible to visit the property. With a little online research, Vibeke also located an article about a man who was born on the farm along with pictures that we were able to share with the guests.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002IxmB&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000parn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002IxmB&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000pas2" style="height: 356px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Mary raves that “Vibeke exceeded all our hopes. She arranged opportunities for us to hear about the life and times of our ancestors’ immigration to the U.S.” And as Sydney notes, “we not only visited the ancestral farm in the stunningly beautiful countryside but also an emigrant departure wharf in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: none;">Bergen</span></a>.” The sisters came home with closer connections to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: none;">Norwegian </span></a>family and to each other.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002IxmB&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000pars" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img>

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  • Pink Car in a Street, Cuba

    Back Home to Cuba

    Mary’s family emigrated from <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Cuba </a>in 1959. On her first return visit since then, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> tour leader, Eric, helped her reconnect with family members with whom she’d been out of touch for more than five decades.<br><br>Her day of discovery started when she and a friend hopped into a classic 1950’s car with Eric to a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Havana neighborhood</a> that she barely remembered. She thought her father’s younger sister might still live there, but there had been no contact since the family went into exile.​<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002IxmQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000patK" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Mary’s grandfather, Lucilo de la Peña, was once President of the Cuban Senate and owned a newspaper. Eric stopped at a friend of his who lived in the neighborhood to ask if she knew the family. Though the friend wasn’t familiar with the family, she directed them to an area full of elegant old homes and there, they lucked into a conversation with someone who’d known the family for generations.<br> <br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002IxmQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000patZ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>With that additional information, they got directions to the family home nearby. Though her aunt and her husband were on vacation, Mary managed to connect with another member of the younger generation who welcomed her warmly where the fourth generation of her family still lives. Remarkably, the home was much as she remembered it, with original furnishings and colonial-era décor. There were even portraits of her grandparents on the wall.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002IxmQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000patP" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img><br> <br>Thanks to the detective work that she pulled off with Eric’s help, the family has been reconnected after 56 years apart. Mary hopes to return soon with Classic Journeys to visit her aunt.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000002IxmQ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000patj" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img><br>​

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