“Geeking Out with Miniatures in the UK: Sparta and Ancient Greece” Tour 2016

geek nation tours - geeking out with miniatures tour - greece and sparta 2016 - frank millaer 300 styled spartan warrior with happyface shield - 300 x 300Geek Nation Tours is proud to announce that we have divided our Miniatures in the UK tour into two parts. We now offer an Optional England Pre-Tour and our Main tour to Greece and Sparta.

Further to this GNT has contacted good family friends in Greece and thus we can expect this to be a spectacular tour.  We will often head to areas and restaurants not frequented by tourists and if uncle Nikos is not there with us he will most certainly be guiding us every step of the way from afar….

Every second year Geek Nation Tours takes a journey to the United Kingdom to celebrate miniature gaming. We use this opportunity to discover a country in Europe and to explore some history and a battlefield or two.  In 2016 we will be headed off to Greece to see the land of Sparta and to visit its battlefields, drink Greek wine, eat well and to game.  There will be time to take in Greece’s stellar natural beauty and even have time for a long walks on the beach, so bring your Non-Geek Spouse! This tour will be perfect for everyone.

We will start our Greece tour just outside of Athens on the Athenian Riviera and thus we will be headed straight for the beach. A Historical tour to Marathon, Thermopylae, Delphi, Plataea and Elefsian will follow. Of course no visit to Athens can be complete without a visit to the Acropolis so that will be included as well… Then we will be on the road to visit the Acrocorinth, the Epidaurus Theater, Ancient Mycenae, the Palace of Agamemnon for just a start. We will even end up in Sparta! We will stop there and see the outdoor museum of Mystras, the local Archaeological Museum and of course even pose for a photo with the King Leonidas statue. Our final destination will bring us to Ancient Olympia and the history of the Olympic Games. We might even force you to run the ancient marathon track for more prizes from Red Republic Games. Throughout we will be privileged to see the stunning countryside and beautiful harbours of Greece.Arena Rex Minis

All this and gaming with Red Republic Games. Some of their crew will be joining us on the tour and each tour participant will receive a free Arena Rex starter box set of their choice upon registering for this tour. Make sure you get them painted by the fall however, as we will have Gladiator battles throughout. Bring your models and join the tournaments as there will be plenty of booty to be fought over and prizes for only the very best of our contestants. RRG might even be bringing some new release miniatures with them, so you will be able to get your hands on a new Ludus before anyone else.

But what about the miniatures part of the tour? Every miniature wargaming Geek’s dream is to visit one of the birth places of wargaming – Nottingham England. If you are a fan of 40K, all things Fantasy, Historical Wargaming or some good old fashioned Martian Invasions – then this is the tour for you. Join us on our Pre-Tour to Nottingham and see Warhammer World, Warlord Games, Mantic Games, Battlefront Miniatures (also the home of Wargames Illustrated) – and new to this year’s line up – Wargames Foundry. Explore these wargaming sites while being surrounded by people of like mind, who are just as enthusiastic about miniature wargaming as you are. We may even have a drink and a meal at a local pub in Nottingham and maybe even meet a wargame celebrity or two.6-sights-by-the-sea-athens-11106

OPTIONAL NOTTINGHAM WARGAMING PRE-TOUR

Day 1 – Sunday September 4th

foundry_shopToday we will arrive from all around the world to Nottingham. You will most likely be landing in Birmingham and we will have a motor coach transfer waiting to take you to Nottingham later that evening. You will however, be given detailed instructions on how to meet up with the rest of the tour participants at our hotel (note that you’ll always be in constant contact with our representative) if you would like to make the journey by yourself. Once in Nottingham will have a free day to explore all that it has to offer, or to just take it easy and hang out at one of the many Nottingham Pubs, head off to Warhammer World for a pint and a game, or try Nottingham’s newest rage – the puzzle-base room escape games of Cryptology, Escapologic or Logiclock. Or for those of you more interested in a bit of History you could always visit Nottingham Castle…

You will want to return from your explorations to the hotel by 5:30 pm this evening – or arrive from all places international – as Geek Nation Tours will host our Welcome Dinner.  It will be a great opportunity to meet your fellow tour participants and discuss what we are doing in the coming days. We have a special treat for you today – we will dine at Wargames Foundry . Established in 1976 Wargames Foundry produces miniatures, paints and other gaming supplements and has deep roots in Wargaming history. Bryan Ansell of the Foundry helped create Warhammer Fantasy Battle and was once the Managing Director of Games Workshop and had a direct hand in the Warhammer boom of the 1980s. We will start our dinner late to allow everyone to arrive or have a short rest, as we suspect that we may have a late night of gaming instore for us… Not only that – Bryan will join us for dinner and a tour of the casting rooms!

While in Nottingham we will be staying at the Jury’s Inn Nottingham. Trip Advisor Review

Day 2 – Monday September 5th

UK2010photo1After a nice breakfast we head off to see some local Wargame Companies. You will be welcome to stay behind to get a bit of relaxing in if you wish, however for those interested we will visit Warlord Games, Mantic Games and Battlefront Miniatures (home of Wargames Illustrated magazine) for a quick look at their production areas and perhaps a demo or two. Our past visits with them were not only very interesting but highly enjoyable… And normally we get a bonus discount or two when we loot their stores….

For those of you wanting to retire to the hotel – you could go for a quick stroll to Nottingham Castle and a tour of the castle ruins, museums and the warrens beneath the castle itself…Here is where Richard the Lionhearted reclaimed the castle from Prince John – and where the legendary Robin Hood let the odd arrow fly.

Trip_to_J-002Today is also the day for our traditional outing to “Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem” pub. Our return to the “Trip” will allow us a few beers and a tour of the pub’s secret warren of caves alot of hidey holes in Nottingham….We will also dine at the “Trip” and settle in for a night at the pub. Not only that, GNT will be inviting tonnes of guests to our dinner. Be sure to have a beer with a Wargaming celebrity and join in our pub quiz and other pub fun. John Stallard from Warlord Games and Ronnie Renton from Mantic Games have both already said they will join us for a “pint” or two and many other guests have been invited. In the past Rick Priestly, Jervis Johnson, Andy Chambers, Alessio Cavatore, the Perry Twins – to mention only a few – have joined tour participants for a great evening.

Day 3 – Tuesday September 6th

Today is our visit to the all new Warhammer World. Revamped in 2014 and 2015 WHW now sports three stores – we can now see a Games Workshop store, and also separate stores for Black Library and Forge World. Not only that, WHW now also has a brand new Exhibition Centre which displays many of those beautifully ‘Eavy Metal painted miniatures you have seen in White Dwarf. But the big news is that they now have specially build dioramas including the largest diorama that Games Workshop has ever built. We are told it is huge and fills a room in itself.

All tour members will have the opportunity to play friendly 40K, Fantasy or Age of Sigmar games. We suggest you bring a 1500-point army or so but past tour participants have loaded up their trunks to play massive games this day. Participants can come and go to Bugman’s bar and even have a pint or two when they play – but lunch will be on Geek Nation Tours. So just call our representative when you are ready to eat and we will take care of the tab. (Transfers to Warhammer world will be included).

We will depart Warhammer World at around 5:00pm for the London Heathrow airport and our red eye flight to Athens.Vouliagemni

MAIN GREECE AND SPARTA TOUR

Day 1 –Wednesday September 7th

Today we will arrive from all around the world to Athens. You will be given detailed instructions on how to meet up with the rest of the tour participants at our beach hotel in Vouliagemni (note that you’ll always be in constant contact with our representative). From there you will have a free day to head back and explore all that Athens has to offer, or to just take it easy and hang out at the beach taking in the beauty of the Athenian waters.

You will want to return from your explorations to the hotel by mid-evening – or arrive from all places international – as Geek Nation Tours will host our Welcome Dinner.  It will be a great opportunity to meet your fellow tour participants and discuss what we are doing in the coming days. We will dine at our beach hotel to better enjoy the surroundings and we might even get some late night gaming in.

We will be staying at our beach hotel the Divani Apollon Palace right in Vouliagemni.  Trip Advisor Review

Day 2 – Thursday September 8th 

Today we will visit perhaps the most famous archeological site in Greece and the most fantastic view of all of Athens. We will spend the full day exploring the Acropolis (if we can we will even try to get a game in while we explore… Perhaps everyone should bring a gladiator – but more on that later). We will visit the Parthenon, the North and South Slopes and the Agora (plus the Agora museum), Erechtheion, Athena Nike, and the Temple of Hephaestus. Plus, we will see at least two sites outside of Acropolis – the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Acropolis Museum. We will have a local guide that will help us explore the area and allow us to get a better understanding of Ancient times and the importance of this site.

Acropolis-of-Athens

We will stop for lunch sometime during the day’s adventures and when we return to our hotel we will gather for a group dinner.

Day 3 – Friday September 9th

sounion_450We will start today’s explorations at Marathon where the Persian Empire was met and defeated and what would eventually lead to Xerxes invasion 10 years later. We will discuss how a small democratic city-state opposed an empire many times its size and allowed for the development of much of Western civilization. But that is not all, we will explore the battlefield in detail and visit the tombs of the Athenian soldiers who died at that battle.

We will lunch near Marathon, and then make our way to perhaps one of the most romantic places in all of Greece – the Temple of Poseidon at Sounio. The drive itself is worth the trip as we will see incredible views of blue sea, cliffs, secluded beaches, and at the end of the road, the temple of Poseidon! The view of the Aegean Sea from this southernmost tip of Attica is breath taking in and of itself, however, we hope to be there at sunset to see a truly wondrous sight.

We will round off the day with a authentic Greek meal in the small village of Fokaia before returning to our hotel for a final night at our beach hotel for a glass or wine and perhaps some gaming.

Day 4 – Saturday September 10th

greek-thermopylae-warrior-statue-outside-kamena-vourlaToday we will depart Athens early for Plataeae. Here we will see the final battlefield of the Persian Wars where the united Greek city-states defeated the Persian empire at the battle of Plataeae.

From here we will travel to Thermopylae to discover where king Leonidas led the 300 in a stoic last stand to curb the Persian advance into Greece. While the land has changed greatly since the battle we will get as close as we can to where the Hot Gates where held and see the Leonidas Monument. We will then leave Thermopylae and have some time in Kamena Vourla to perhaps take in the healing waters of the local thermal Hot Springs. When we leave the area we will take the route to Delphi which Ephialtes offered to the Persians as a way around the 300 and their allies.

We will be staying right in Delphi at the Kastalia HotelTrip Advisor Review

Day 5 – Sunday September 11th 

DelphiThe Oracle of Delphi will be the first stop of the day and we will see the natural beauty of what was once thought of as the center of the world and where heaven and earth met. Where the son of Zeus, Apollo, was worshiped and the oracle or Pythia was asked for the god’s guidance of matters of politics, love and war. We will discover Mount Parnassus and its stunning natural beauty. We will visit the Temple of Apollo Pythios, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and a local museum which exhibits the Bronze Charioteer and the famous statue of Aghias. From here we will explore the Gymnasium and the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaea prior to departing for Nafpaktos and our ferry on our journey to Olympia.

When we arrive in Olympia there will be time for many of us will game, but you are welcome to explore the city of Olympia on your own or to travel to the many beaches in the area. Geek Nation Tours will be happy to help you with whatever you decide to do with your day. We will however, gather for a group hotel’s garden for a Greek Barbecue and continue gaming well into the night.

We will be staying at the Europa Hotel just outside of Olympia.  Trip Advisor Review

Day 6 – Monday September 12th

image32029[3041]Today we explore Ancient Olympia and the history of the Olympic games with a visit to the Ancient Olympic Games Museum. We will also take in the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of the History of the Excavations at Olympia – one of the most important museum sites in all of Greece. The Archaeological Museum even boasts the beautifully reconstructed statues – including the metopes – of the Temple of Zeus and one of the wonders of the ancient world – the statues of Hermes by Praxiteles and the Nike by Paeonius. Plus, we will also, of course, visit the Temple of Hera and Temple of Zeus. After we explore the ruins we will run the track where ancient Greeks started the games. Not sure if you are counting but this is the last of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites that we will visit while in Greece. Gamers will have a special treat at this site as we will even see a model of the ancient grounds in miniature.

You will be free for lunch this day to visit one of the Olympia taverns for a some Greek wine and a local meal. On our way back to our hotel we will stop at the small out-of-the-way village of Miraka for a dinner with the locals.

Day 7 – Tuesday September 13th

We will leave Olympia today to discover the first site of Greece’s great monuments to be named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  The temple of Apollo Epicurius at Vasses is remote and often not visited but will make the important journey here. This temple is one of the most studied ancient Greek temples because of its multitude of unusual features with a combination of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian elements. Its single Corinthian capital is the oldest known in the world.Ancient Greek Helmet Spartan Style on White

From here we will proceed to the small village of Karitena for another locally made lunch, and then to Kalamata for a group meal and some gaming.

Once in Kalamata we will be staying at the Pharae Palace Hotel.  Note that the hotel has thrown in 8 pounds of free laundry service this day! Trip Advisor Review

Day 8 – Wednesday September 14th

Diros_Cave,_GreeceToday we will travel to Sparta and but first we will visit the Caves of Diros. We will travel this underground maze of caves via boat and float down the river to see its Stalagmites and stalactites. We hope that you all come back however, as this is the fabled entrance to the underworld. Hopefully Hades does not have his eyes on you….

We will then explore Sparta but while not much remains of the Spartan civilizations – the warriors were not much for monuments – we will dive into the history and principles of their warrior culture. We will talk about how they prepared for war and how they came to the battlefield. All along we will remind you that we will be very close to where the 300 left from for their fateful last stand. We will have some fun also however, and start the day with a photo op with the King Leonidas Statue outside the local football stadium. We hope to see some of the ruins of ancient Sparta on the way to the Museum of Olive and Greek Oil. We will also visit the biggest historical site in the area the Byzantine outdoor museum of Mystras. We will explore its Byzantine church and fortress and explore the history behind this marvelous architectural wonder.

We will gather together to game tonight, but you will be on your own to explore Kalamata and its many restaurants for dinner.

Day 9 – Thursday September 15th

ba0166c7a50d96eb270097f3f911e08a_XLToday we will travel to the ruins of ancient Messini who were noted war enemies of the Spartans.  These local rivals build a network of fortifications under the leadership of Epaminodas which encircled its city and enough land and springs so the city could withstand any siege. The fortifications are among the longest in Greece and one can also not only see a functioning Cyclopean gate, sanctuaries, public buildings, homes and tombs, but also a well preserved ancient stadium.

From Messini we will continue to Nemea for a wine tasting and lunch at a local winery. We will then head south and stay overnight in Nafplio – one of the most beautiful harbour towns of area and touted as one of the most romantic places to visit while in Greece. We hope to have time to stroll the harbor area or perhaps even roll some dice in the evening.

Today we will stay at the beautiful Amfitrion Hotel… Please check it out.  Trip Advisor Review

Day 10 – Friday September 16th

grecian paradise the ancient theater of epidaurus Hans HeintzToday we will take a short ride to the Epidauros Theater, Stadium and Asklepios plus Epidaurus Archaeological Museum. This area was once dedicated to Asklepios the god of medicine and is considered one of the purest masterpieces of Geek architecture. We will take our time at this site and relax on the seats of the theater. Oh and there is again an awesome view….

We will then be off to Ancient Mycenae and the Palace of Agamemnon. This fortified city was said to be founded by Perseus and was the centre of the Mycenae civilization. Mycenae was described in Homer’s Iliad and was the home of Agamemnon who was instrumental in the Trojan War to recapture Helen.

As the city was said to have been built by the Cyclops perhaps we will even see one to do battle with….

We will end the day’s journey across the Peloponnese a final free evening in Nafplio.

Day 11 – Saturday September 17th

2178731-719311_0_464_1599_927_317_184Akrokorinth_Looking_NorthToday we will leave Nafplio to travel to Corinth to visit and hike to the Acrocorinth and Ancient Corinth (and of course the Temple of Apollo) with Local Guide. This often forgotten archeological site is one of the Greece’s best preserved sites and has a more relaxed feel then the Athens Acropolis. The site has a huge history from Ancient Greece to Roman and Medieval times and we will learn of its long history. Plus, we will get yet another stunning view of the countryside – with olive groves, modern Corinth and the Aegean stretching out to the horizon.

We will then return to Athens proper for our final night in Greece. Once we arrive you will be able to explore the city as this time we will have a hotel right near the Acropolis. Return from your final explorations by the early evening however, as we will host our Farewell Dinner and hand out prizes and maybe roll the dice one last time prior to heading out to a Greek pub or two for a glass of the local wine.

We will stay right in Athens today at the Athenaeum Intercontinental. Trip Advisor Review

Day 12 – Sunday September 18th

All good things must end, unfortunately, and today we return to the airport and depart for home. The photos, memories and friendships you made are yours to keep forever!

Sparta and Greece Main Tour Price: $3999.00 + $480.00 taxes and fees

Nottingham Miniatures Pre-Tour Price: $999.00 taxes and fees

Don’t have a friend to get the double occupancy rate? That is what Geek Nation Tours does. Book as a double occupancy and we will match you up a roommate. This way you get the best of both worlds – some one to BS about the tour with – and more cash to spend!

Deposit: $1000.00 – due upon booking and securing your spot. Book soon to take full advantage of our traditional Titanic promotion (see below).

Final: Due June 15th

Single Supplement Main Tour: $750.00 taxes and fees if you would like a room on your own.

Single Supplement Pre-Tour Tour: $100.00 taxes and fees if you would like a room on your own.

What is included: All accommodations, all transfers, all breakfasts, “Welcome Dinner” and many others as per above. All Museum Entrance fees and all taxes.

Remember that the “Geeking Out with Miniatures in the UK” Tour will have a maximum guest space of 35 passengers, so space is VERY limited. Book now to secure your spot.

Gaming while on tour – there will be many chances for spontaneous gaming throughout the tour. In the past the hotels have supplied us with tables and gaming areas and we were happy to be able to game to our hearts content after returning to our hotel in the evening

Promotions!: Geek Nation Tours and Red Republic Games have partnered up to bring you prizes and cool free stuff throughout the tour.  More details to follow!

Additional Options: Want a few extra days in the UK or Greece to chill out or want to go to other places in Europe after the tour? Geek Nation Tours will be more than happy to arrange it for you.

AIRFARE NOTE: Geek Nation Tours does not offer air to and from our tours.  We are more than happy to help you with your itinerary however, so please feel free to contact us about this for advice on air travel.  Further please note that this tour requires three air “legs”.  You must purchase air to the UK and departing home from Athens from your city of origin as well as air from London to Athens.

Non-Geek Spousal Argument: “But think of the historical sites…and the beaches. We can take long walks on the beach between gaming”

Departs from: All around the world

Want to see some photos of our last trip?

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