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We will travel to the beautiful island of Crete where we will tour the cities of Iraklion, Rethymnon, and Chania before traveling to the Amari Valley to visit the Vlastos' oil farm.

The Vlastos family has been growing olives and making olive oil at this same farm for centuries. You will learn how farmers tend to their olive trees, harvest the olives, and extract oil from the olives.

We also will take several day trips to local attractions including ancient ruins, a monastery, museums, and beach communities, weather permitting. We will spend the last couple of days of the trip in Athens, before departing for home.

For more information, contact:

GW 408 F

GW 408 B

  • Information
  • Itinerary
  • Registration
  • FAQs
This trip is not a tour; it is an adventure to a special place on a special island at a special time for people who are interested in something different. I conceived the idea for this venture from my yearly sojourns to Crete.

The Valstos family has owned olive trees on Crete for centuries and our olive oil enterprise, Vlastos Farma, has evolved over many years. One can get a hint of the magic in this valley by enjoying the olive oil we bottle and sell here in Casper. Our family farmhouse is located in the village of Vizari, which sits in the heart of the Amari Valley in central Crete. When I venture to the island, I am an olive farmer, and for a long time I have wanted to share my association with the land and culture and its deep connection to the past. Every winter during Christmas break I take my sons, Pavlo and Lucas, to the farm to get acquainted with the island’s culture and we kick off the olive harvest. Friends often accompany us on these yearly sojourns, so showing folks around the island has evolved naturally.

Although the Amari Valley is part of Europe, the Renaissance did not influence it, and this ancient place waits to charm and impress anyone willing to travel to its environs. People compare the valley to Tuscany, Italy, although, it is less developed and refined than Tuscany. As one travels through the valley, a medieval landscape unfolds complete with clustered white stucco villages set against the cliffs in a sea of ancient olive groves. Here the 21st century is just beginning to show its face within a 12th century Mediterranean setting. The large coastal cities still have a Venetian influence from the 1400s and the “wine dark sea” that engulfs the island is the same as Homer described in the Odyssey.

Recently, I have taught a few olive oil cooking classes at Casper College. My association with the college generated the idea for a winter trip to Crete. I believe there is a window of opportunity for a group of “like-minded” travelers to experience this special place that has been lost in time for centuries. We will visit Minoan palaces that mark the first great culture on the island dating back to 3,000 B.C., learn about different types of olive oil production—from the trees to the mill—, and dine at little family run cafes and taverns complete with local wines, fresh fruit, and Greek specialties. Since January is the middle of the rainy season, we have designed an itinerary with both planned and spontaneous activities to take advantage of whatever the weather throws at us, and that is just the way Zorba the Greek would have explain this venture.

Come join us and make this adventure a personal odyssey.

Monday, January 2, 2012
  Leave Casper
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
  Arrive Iraklio late afternoon
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
  Day to explore Iraklio - visit Knossos
Thursday, January 5, 2012
  Travel to Rethimno
Friday, January 6, 2012
  Travel to Hania
Saturday, January 7, 2012
  Travel to Vizari - Amari Valley
Sunday, January 8, 2012
  A day to explore the town, the village and relax
Monday, January 9, 2012
  A day to learn about the olive oil production - hands on day
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
  A bus trip to Gortyn, Vori, Agia Galini, the ocean, and Timbaki
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
  Learn more about olive oil production and enjoy our last evening on Crete
Thursday, January 12, 2012

Leave Iraklio and fly to Athens - evening in Athens

We will be staying at this hotel in Athens:

Friday, January 13, 2012
  Day to explore Athens - the Acropolis a must!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
  Leave Athens to return to Casper
Registration Form: Crete

Following are questions most asked about this upcoming trip to Crete as well as general questions about international travel.

  • Where can I find out more information about Crete?
  • How much does the trip cost?
    • The cost for the trip is $3990.00. This price includes airfare from Casper, hotels, land transfers, 9 meals, entrance into museums, transportation on Crete, travel insurance and a good time had by all.
    • Surcharges: Although unlikely, the cost could increase slightly between now and the ticketing date.

  • Are there any requirements for this trip?
    • Participants must be able to handle their own luggage and must be able to climb a few flights of stairs and walk on uneven surfaces up to two-three miles over the course of a day.

  • Can I purchase my own airline ticket?
    • In order for the group to stay together, we are consolidating all travel expenses into one price.
  • Do I need a passport or visa?
    • Yes and no. You will need a passport and if you are a U.S. citizen, a visa is not required for entry.

  • Is there a deposit required?
    • Yes. A $500.00 deposit is required at time of registration. The deposit is 100% refundable if you cancel by August 31.

  • When is full payment due by?
    • Full payment for this trip will be due by Friday, September 30, 2011.

  • Cancellation fees, after Thursday, September 1, 2011 are as follows:
    • If you cancel between September 1 - October 15, 2011, 50% refunded
    • If you cancel between October 16 - November 15, 2011, 25% refunded
    • If you cancel between November 16 - January 2, 1012, 0% refunded
    • If trip is canceled by Casper College, 100% refund will be issued

  • What should I pack?
    • Pack smart and light. We recommend bringing two pairs of shoes, a warm jacket and a light weight rain coat. It is likely that it will rain while we are on the island.

  • Before Departure please review the following sources:

U.S State Department Travel Advisory

U.S. State Department Country Background Notes

MedEx Country Threat Ratings



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