The Acropolis in Athens

The Acropolis in Athens

“The June-July 2011 cruise from Istanbul to Athens was my second with Voyages to Antiquity, and every bit as enjoyable as the first in 2010. My only disappointment was that I wish it had been longer! It was amazing how much we packed into a week.

The entrance of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

The entrance of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

The team on board Aegean Odyssey fitted in my three lectures and the three by my colleague Candace Weddle, a first-rate lecturer and delightful company, over the seven night cruise. The passengers were again very friendly and interested in our specialisms. My lecture on Mount Athos produced more questions than any I’ve ever given including those at university. The Mount is inaccessible to women and one guest wanted to know what happens if a female bird flies over the Holy Mountain? Our cruise along the coast gave us an amazing opportunity to view the various monasteries.

The Filipino staff on board the ship were as wonderful as before, and the only problem with the food and drink was my own self-discipline to avoid excess. It was particularly good to visit Ephesus after Candace’s lecture, in which she encouraged us to think of the tourist crowds as suitably evocative of the packed ancient city. The Terrace Houses were fascinating (I’m old enough to remember reading about them in the Illustrated London News when they were first excavated).

Restoration of wall paintings, terrace house, Ephesus

Restoration of wall paintings, Terrace Houses, Ephesus

The long drive to Aphrodisias, in its beautiful situation, was well worth it, and enjoyable in itself. The new extension to the museum, to show the reliefs from the Sebasteion, is a real treat. The shore excursions all went very smoothly, thanks to Zoe and her staff who really help make the whole touring experience so enjoyable.

And finally, I’m hoping that I’ll be invited to lecture again next year.”

Dr Peter Howell


Peter Howell taught Classics for 35 years in the University of London, first at Bedford College, then at Royal Holloway. His teaching covered not just Latin language and literature, but art and architecture. He has published three books on Martial, whose epigrams give a vivid insight into social life at Rome. He is now working on a book on triumphal arches. He has always had a strong interest in architectural history, and has published and lectured, especially on Victorian architecture.

As a member, for nearly fifty years, of the Victorian Society, he has given many lectures and guided many visits. He was joint author of two Companion Guides to Wales.