Archive for Oktober, 2014

Hiking Trails and Adventurers

In Allgemein by Francesca / 16. Oktober 2014 / 0 Comments

Our time at the Adventure Travel World Summit in Ireland was all it promised to be, and more. We loved our day of adventure, where we went boating to the Skellig islands. We were hoping to be able to get on to the island and visit the grey and taciturn remains of round and beehive-shaped stone buildings that used to be part of a monastery. Here monks would retreat, who thought even the rural and sparsely populated coast of Kerry too much of a distraction. We couldn’t land on the island that day, it was too windy. So perhaps, we got an even better taste of the isolation in which these monks would have lived. Atop some of the most jagged cliffs, into which they had laboriously hewn some slim and winding steps, sitting on an isolated rock and meditating over the sea.

Since it wasn’t possible to land, we made it a big trek along the coast, after a steaming glass of hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows. It was great to get so close to the Irish sheep, as illustrated by our #DoA video. And on the very top of the hill, though we were on the mainland, we were once again on a big jagged cliff with a 360 degree sea view, with only an abandoned house for company.

Our meetings schedule was completely packed, and we both really loved the adventure travel crowd, people were youthful and fun-loving, and there seemed to be an approximately even distribution of men and women in the industry, which is quite a healthy sign! Ireland as a host country made it a wonderful stay for us, with flawless conference logistics and wonderful evening programs. Can’t argue with a night in a medieval castle and trays of Jameson’s at every corner.

We also knew we were in the right place when we saw that the Lycian Way has been a trending destination in the community ever since it was opened a few years back. So our big news was that last year, the Carian Trail opened its gates also, also in Turkey. Hikers can hike several hundreds of km from the Mediterranean to the Aegean, get lost in scented pine forests on the hills, and bathe in secret beaches. All along the way are ruins of the ancient Carian civilization, which have not been sighted since the 1500s – and as with the Lycian way, we know someone who not only knows about the Carians, but has written a whole book about the path, and its history. More soon!


photo: Cnidus in Caria

Via Antiqua to Go to Adventure Travel World Summit 2014!

In Allgemein by Francesca / 2. Oktober 2014 / 0 Comments

Starting a company after years of training as a classical scholar is something of an adventure in itself. This is what Via Antiqua CEO Dr. Anke Tietz decided to do after finishing her Classics PhD at Yale and working in excavations at the Xanthos valley in Turkey for a year. Classical learning has always gone hand in hand with travel. From the days of the Grand Tour, when English gentlemen of the 18th century would go on what can only be described as a high-class gap year to discover the stunning remains of ancient civilizations from Rome, Greece and Turkey, until now that Classics departments the world around put together study trips and treks.

It’s one thing conveying our knowledge about ancient culture through the medium of academic articles and classes. It’s another starting up a tours operator that aims to incorporate high-quality educational offerings into the leisure and excitement of vacation trips! It’s been a huge learning curve full of entrepreneurial seminars and industry mentoring sessions, drawing up a team of media wizzards, business experts and hospitality contacts as well as, of course, historians and classicists, out of a big handful of Classical Studies alumni.

Melanie Heinle, an archaeologist from our team, has written a brand new guide book for the Lycian Way, an ancient hiking trail in Turkey, and we based our tour schedule on her incredibly detailed knowledge. And then, thanks to the Yale connections, we have many learned friends in museums, academies and historical sites around the world whom we work with to open doors that would normally stay closed to the public.

But we were wary of those run-of-the-mill sightseeing tours offered to most people, and wanted to build something immersive and challenging, like a grand-scale treasure hunt for travelers unafraid of clambering down age-old, forlorn grave shafts with a torch in hand, and find art works that haven’t been sighted since they were last described in an out-of-print book in the early 1900s – travelers who can find their way out of fabled mazes, and who want to see mysterious sculptures in the middle of nowhere, that even historians can’t quite explain. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. We really think it’s about time that historical travel was shaken up and mixed with psychological time-travel, adventure feelings, and outdoor sports!

We’re brimming with ideas, and can’t wait to be inspired and learn lots of new things from our time at the Adventure Travel World Summit next week, where we’ve also booked in to a magical boating trip to the Skellig Islands.