11-Days: Spain & Portugal: Santiago & Fatima

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DAY 1: DEPART

We depart the USA en route to Lisbon, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

DAY 2: LISBON / FATIMA

We arrive in Lisbon and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative, who will accompany us throughout the tour. We transfer to our hotel in Fatima. Dinner is at the hotel. (D)

DAY 3: FATIMA: VISIT OF SHRINE

Today we join in the liturgical celebrations of the day, including Mass. We will also visit the Tombs of Francisco, Jacinto, and Lucia; the Aljustrel where the children lived; and the Valinhos, where Our Lady appeared after the children’s return from prison. We have the option of praying the Stations of the Cross, plus we have time for our own devotions. Tonight we enjoy a festive welcome dinner at Ourem Castle, with the show of the ancient kings and queens. (B, D)

DAY 4: FATIMA / PORTO / SANTIAGO

We make our way to Santiago de Compostela, stopping en route in the town of Oporto, famous for its wine. Then we arrive in Santiago and check-in to our hotel, followed by Mass. (B, D)

DAY 5: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

We will have our full day at Spain’s Patron Saint’s and the most famous of the Spanish Shrines. The name “Compostela” from the Latin “field of the star” was named after the tradition of St. James (Santiago), the Patron Saint of Spain. This city has been the third major site visited by Christian pilgrims and visitors (after Jerusalem and Rome) and is the present capital of Galicia.

This morning we visit to Cathedral of St. James the Apostle, housing the remains of the Saint. The Cathedral’s facades reflect the architectural glories of both the Romanesque and Baroque periods. We celebrate Mass in the Cathedral. Across from the Cathedral is the

Rajoy Palace, built in the 18th century as a Seminary. We enjoy a walking tour of the town, highlighting its rich heritage as a centre of pilgrimage. Friendly, narrow streets and interesting shops await us. Tonight we enjoy dinner at a typical restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 6: SANTIAGO / SALAMANCA

After our spiritually exhilarating experience in Santiago de Compostela, we proceed towards Salamanca, stopping over first in the city Ourense, the capital of the province bearing the same name. One of the most outstanding monuments of our tour is the XII century Romanesque style cathedral. Our journey next takes us to the city of Zamora by the Duero River, where we visit the extraordinary XII century Cathedral whose unique fish scales look reminiscent of Byzantine-oriental architecture. After lunch on our own we continue our journey to our hotel in Salamanca. (B, D)

DAY 7: SALAMANCA / AVILA / MADRID

In the morning we enjoy a tour of the town, including the University of Salamanca, founded in the year 1218 by King Alfonso IX of León. For many years it was one of Europe’s major universities. There is still a common saying in Spain which one addresses to someone who is asking too many questions: “Go find out in Salamanca!” (“Vete a saber a Salamanca!”). Our visit also includes the Church of San Esteban and the old cathedral, started in 1152. We proceed towards Avila, where one breathes the spirit of St. Teresa of Avila, the mystic saint, one of three women Doctors of the Church. Our visit begins at the Monastery of St. Joseph, Teresa’s first foundation. Then we visit the Monastery of the Incarnation where St. Teresa spent many years of her life in solitude, deepening her insights into the spiritual life. We will celebrate the Eucharist here. We then make our way to Madrid for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 08: MADRID: CITY VISIT

Our sightseeing tour this morning is highlighted by visits to the Royal Palace and the Cathedral, where we celebrate Mass. We make our way to the grand Plaza Mayor, the main square in Madrid, a place that teems with activity. The afternoon is at leisure. For those interested in visiting the famous Prado Museum, our motor coach will drop you at the Museum’s entrance. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 09: MADRID: TOLEDO EXCURSION

Toledo is a magical walled town. Crossing its Moorish Bridge, we visit the Synagogue and St. Tome Church with the famous El Greco paintings. We may visit as well the House of El Greco. Our visit also includes two notable edifices: the gothic Cathedral and The Monastery of St. John of the Kings. The outside walls of this latter edifice are adorned with chains once worn by Christian slaves of the Moors. We return to Madrid, with dinner at our hotel. Tonight we have the option of attending a Flamenco Show. (B, D)

DAY 10: MADRID: SEGOVIA & VALLEY OF THE FALLEN

Today we make a full day’s excursion to Segovia. Segovia is a charmer, and most visitors remember it for the Roman aqueduct which bisects the town. After a visit to the dramatic cathedral here, we make our way across the river to visit the sepulchre of St. John of the Cross, one of the Doctors of the Church. En route back to Madrid we stop at the Valley of the Fallen, a striking memorial to those who died in the Spanish Civil War. A basilica is built into the mountainside here, housing tombs of soldiers from both sides of the conflict. Here we celebrate the final Mass of our pilgrimage. Our farewell dinner is at a local restaurant in Madrid. (B, D)

DAY 11: RETURN

This morning we transfer to the Madrid airport for our return flight to the USA. (B)

NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.