you are getting a lot of advice and suggestions of places to visit and see and they are all worthy of the time one would spend on them. The history is so complex and there are so many aspects to it that it can seem overwhelming. My own advice, which you certainly don't need, would be to continue your "survey" and enjoy the ride. Then maybe concentrate on some part of the journey that moves you at a later date.
Just my two cents worth
Anyone can take the helm when the seas are calm.