9 Day Pilgrimage to Spain
*** DAILY MASSES INCLUDED ***
Day 1: USA - MADRID. Tour members meet at the airport three hours prior to departure. Dinner and breakfast are served in flight. In the Europe of the Middle Ages, the Way of St. James turned into the most important pilgrimage route after the discovery of his Tomb in Compostela in the Ninth Century. The path of countless pilgrims who, encouraged by their faith, headed to Compostela and the starting point of a huge artistic, social and economic development that left unforgettable memories along the Way. Making the Way of St. James is a unique experience.
Day 2: MADRID - PAMPLONA. Upon arrival in Madrid, we are met by our tour escort and board our motor coach for the city of Pamplona - our starting point to begin The Way of St. James. After a short stop in Lerma, we continue to Pamplona, the first city of the Way of St. James. Our walking tour begins throughout the narrow streets of the three old quarters and their assigned churches: “Navarrería” including St. Mary the Royal, “San Nicolás” with its homonymous parish and “San Saturnino” with the church of St. Cernin. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 3: PAMPLONA - RONCESVALLES - LOGROÑO. After breakfast, our pilgrimage continues to “Roncesvalles”, first official stage of the French route of The Way of St. James. In order to help the pilgrims on their Jacobean route after crossing the Pyrenees Mountains, the Bishop of Pamplona founded the Hospitality Institution of Roncesvalles. At the beginning of Thirteenth Century, the Monarch of Navarra, Sancho VII, built a church called the Royal Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles, where the Pilgrim Blessing is historically given. We then continue to Logroño and enroute, we stop at the Fountain of Gambellacos, usually known as “La Reniega”. Legend has it that in this very same place, the Devil offered fresh water to a thirsty pilgrim in return for renouncing his faith in God, the Virgin Mary and St. James. The pilgrim, close to death’s door, rejected the water and prayed until the Devil went away and the Fountain appeared to quench his thirst. Continue to “Puente la Reina” and the Romanesque Bridge crossing the “Arga” river, built by Queen “Doña Mayor” to help the pilgrims cross the river. Upon arrival in Logroño, we enter the city by the stone bridge over the “Ebro” river. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 4: LOGROÑO - SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA - BURGOS. After breakfast, we begin our guided tour of Logroño, the second largest city of the Way of St. James (French route) and visit of the Church of Saint Mary, built between 1250 and 1312 and extended between the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Then, we depart by the legendary Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the village of the Miracle of the Hen that crowed after being roasted. The cathedral was erected upon the grave of Saint Domingo, the most characteristic building of town. Just in front of the Sepulcher, we see a vaulted Niche where a cock and a hen live together in memoriam of the miracle. Continue toward Burgos with stop in San Juan de Ortega and the Santiago Apóstol church where we can see a holy water stoup made with the biggest shell of “The Way” and an exceptional phenomenon of the Christian world. Every year during Spring and Autumn equinox, a beam of light from the setting sun shines through a large window and on to a Romanesque capital where a beautiful representation of the Virgin Mary appears. Upon arrival in Burgos, we have a guided tour of the city and visit the famous Cathedral. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 5: BURGOS - FROMISTA - ASTORGA - PONFERRADA. Breakfast and then depart for a stop at “The Way” to admire the Romanesque church of San Martin de Fromista. We continue to the mythical land of “La Maragateria” and its capital Astorga. Free time to visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria or “Episcopal Palace”, where now is located The Way Museum, designed by Gaudi. Continue to Ponferrada for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: PONFERRADA - SARRIA - SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA. After breakfast, we depart for Sarria and visit its Monastery de la Magdalene. Continue to Santiago de Compostela and upon arrival, we enter the city by foot from the path of Juan XXIII up to the cathedral, the finishing point of “The Way”. Visit the cathedral and we may embrace the Saint once inside, following the tradition. Free time at leisure before dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 7: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA - LEON. Breakfast this morning and then visit the city of Santiago de Compostela. Our visit starts with a walking tour on the Cathedral roofs to enjoy a unique view of the city from this different perspective. Afterwards, we go to the Pilgrim’s Mass. In the afternoon, we depart for Leon for dinner and overnight.
Day 8: LEON - SEGOVIA - MADRID. After breakfast, we visit the city of Leon - one of the main cities that we find on “The Way”. This city had its origin as a Roman camp and the valuable architectural sites are countless including the cathedral and the Royal Basilica of San Isidro, one of the most important treasures of the Spanish Romanesque. Continue to Segovia for a short stop on our way to Madrid for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: MADRID - USA. Early morning, we depart to the airport for our return flight to North America and home - the end of our memorable pilgrimage.