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El Camino (The Way of St. James)
This route, the St. James’ Way, is a major Christian pilgrimage route that has existed for over a thousand years. During Medieval times, it was considered as one of the three pilgrimages on which all sins could be forgiven. Pilgrims walk for weeks or months ending in the northwestern part of Spain, where St. James the Great is buried in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This route was declared the first European cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1993.
Lourdes, "El Camino de Santiago",
Santiago de Compostela and Madrid
10 Days - France and Spain
Itinerary
Day 1: Depart the USA on an international flight to Lourdes, France. Meals will be served on our overnight flight.
Day 2: Our Tour Director welcomes us with a beautiful smile and escorts us to Lourdes, one of the greatest pilgrimage shrines in the world. It was here at the Grotto of Massabielle, in February 1858, that Our Blessed Mother appeared 18 times to a young, sickly child named Bernadette Soubirous and later proclaimed to her that She was the Immaculate Conception. Dinner and overnight in Lourdes.
Day 3: After breakfast, we celebrate Mass and then participate in the walking tour of Lourdes, where we visit the places associated with the life of St. Bernadette. The afternoon may be spent for private devotion at the Way of the Cross, with its life-size statues on the hill, Eucharistic Adoration, confession or take part in the Miraculous Baths to experience the message of Our Lady. After dinner, we participate in the Candlelight Procession or simply spend some more private time at the "Grotto". Dinner and overnight in Lourdes.
Day 4: Travelling to Spain, we head to the Ibaneta Pass, the traditional route most frequently used from the 11th century. At this point, a monk used to ring the bells to show the pilgrims the way. Enroute, we will be passing Roncesvalles, then to the town of Pamplona, famous for the running of the bulls which starts at the 7th hour on the 7th day on the 7th month and lasts for 7 days. Dinner and overnight in Logrono or nearby area.
Day 5: After breakfast, we begin our journey passing through Puente la Reina, the site where two pilgrimage routes, coming from Aragon and Navarra, converge to a single road (Codex Calixtinus). Heading west through vineyards, we encounter a town called Estella, in honor of the star that indicated the tomb of St. James. Then we stop at the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, which owes its name to a hermit named Dominic, who built a stretch of the road from Najera to Redecilla to help pilgrims on their way to Santiago. This town is also famous for the legend of "the cock & hen" which signifies good luck for the remainder of your journey. Then we continue to Leon and finally to Astorga, encircled by walls. Dinner and overnight in Astorga.
Day 6: We continue our journey today to the medieval town of Santiago de Compostela. Enroute, we make a brief stop at Labacolla, a very important site where pilgrims washed to cleanse and purify themselves before they could enter Santiago. Upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela, we will celebrate Mass at the spectacular Basilica which houses the tomb of St. James the Apostle. It was at this spot that a very large, bright star led Pelagius, a holy hermit, to the body of St. James; this act inspired King Alphonso II to build a church over the tomb. After several years, a town grew around it known as Campus de la Stella, later shortened to Compostela. One of the highlights of visiting this site is witnessing the botafumeiro, the silver iron incenser that is suspended by a 200 ft. rope and swung by eight men controlling and maneuvering the rope over the heads of the congregation. Learn more about the history of this medieval town when we start our walking tour at the Plaza del Obradoiro, one of the famous squares. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Day 7: Free day to explore Santiago de Compostela on one's own. An optional day excursion to the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Covadonga can be arranged upon request. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Day 8: Early morning departure as we travel to Valladolid. Dinner and overnight in Valladolid.
Day 9: Today, we journey to Madrid, the capital of Spain. Dinner and overnight in Madrid.
Day 10: We bid farewell to Spain as we depart for the airport to catch our return flight to the U.S. for a same day arrival.
Please enjoy the trailer for the recent movie "The Way".
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Telephone: 310-832-FIAT (3428) with 24/7 text capability, or 310-328-FIAT (3428) Fax: 310-781-9070
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