13-Days: Marian Shrines of Spain

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

We depart en route to Madrid, Spain. Complimentary meals and beverages are served aloft.

DAY 2: ARRIVE MADRID

We arrive in Madrid and are met by our representative of Catholic Travel Centre. We proceed to downtown Madrid via private motorcoach to our hotel where we check-in. Dinner is at the hotel. (D)

DAY 3: MADRID: VISIT OF THE CITY

Our sightseeing tour this morning will orient us to some of the major tourist sites in Madrid, including the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum, housing one of the world’s premier art collections. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant during our sightseeing. Later this afternoon at the completion of our tour our motorcoach will return us to our hotel. Those wishing to do so are free to browse at the Plaza Mayor or Plaza del Sol, a prime shopping area. Or perhaps you prefer to stroll in the famous park – Parco de Buen Retiro. (B, L)

DAY 4: MADRID: EXCURSION TO TOLEDO

This morning we embark to the city of Toledo, a magical walled town about an hour or so from Madrid. Here we visit the stunning cathedral and the house of the famous painter, El Greco. We also take in the Monastery of St. John of the Kings. After Mass, we enjoy lunch at a restaurant overlooking Toledo. We return to Madrid for the evening and are free to explore the city’s restaurant scene on our own. Our tour escort will have some suggestions for us on where to dine. (B, L)

DAY 5: MADRID / BURGOS / SAN SEBASTIAN

We depart Madrid north en route to Burgos. El Cid, probably Spain’s most famous national hero, was born just north of this charming city. He is buried in the Cathedral of Burgos, the third largest church of Spain and one of the country’s most striking for its beautiful Spanish gothic style. We stop here, then make our way to San Sebastian for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

DAY 6: SAN SEBASTIAN: EXCURSION TO LOYOLA & ARANZAZU

Today we make an excursion south to the area of Azpeitia. Here, in 1491 Iñigo Lopez de Loyola Oñaz was born in the Castle of Loyola. We know
him better as Ignatius of Loyola. We visit his former house and the museum. We include a visit to Aranzazu, a popular shrine to Our Lady at the time of Ignatius and where we know Ignatius prayed for strength to overcome the temptations to which he had formerly yielded. Our lunch is in Loyola. We return to San Sebastian for the evening. Dinner is on our own. (B, L)

DAY 7: SAN SEBASTIAN / LOURDES

We have breakfast at our hotel and spend the morning strolling along the seaside promenade and taking in the flavor of the town. In the afternoon we board our motorcoach en route to Lourdes where we will enjoy dinner and the evening. After dinner at the hotel, we are welcome to visit the Sanctuary for the Rosary and Torchlight Procession, beginning about 8:30PM (subject to seasonal schedule). After the procession, we return to our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 8: LOURDES: VISIT OF THE SHRINE

We begin this morning with Mass at the Grotto. After Mass, we enjoy a walking tour ‘In the Footsteps of Bernadette.’ We visit the Cachot (former jail cell that once served as the Soubirous family’s home); the parish church; Fr. Peyramale’s Presbytery; the Hospice and the Boly Mill. This afternoon at 4:30PM we are welcome to participate in the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessing of the Sick. We gather for dinner at the hotel. After dinner we are again able to participate in the Rosary and Torchlight procession beginning at 8:30 (subject to seasonal schedule). (B, D)

DAY 9: LOURDES / ZARAGOZA

This morning we depart Lourdes for Zaragoza. We will visit this beautiful city, the capital of Aragon, upon our arrival in the afternoon. Zaragoza is a cultural center and is rich in works of art. It is most well know for its impressive and beautiful Basilica of the Virgin of the Pillar, where we celebrate mass. Construction of this magnificent Basilican started in the 12th century and is named after the sacred pillar near which the Virgin is said to have appeared in the vision of St. James the Greater. El Pilar contains frescoes by Velázquez and Goya. Also noteworthy are the Cathedral – La Seo, the Church of San Pablo, the Moorish castle of Aljafería (residence of the emirs and later the kings of Aragón), the lonja (exchange building), and a 15th-century stone bridge across the Ebro river. Here we celebrate the Mass. Dinner at the hotel.(B,D)

DAY 10: ZARAGOZA / MONTSERRAT / BARCELONA

We depart Zaragoza this morning for Montserrat en route to Barcelona. Montserrat is home to the dramatically set Benedictine monastery. This Marian shrine has attracted pilgrims for over 700 years, much as it did Ignatius of Loyola in March of 1522. We pause here to visit the Black Madonna of Montserrat, before whom Ignatius layed his sword and exchanged his fancy clothes with a beggar. Lunch is on our own in Montserrat. Then we board our motorcoach and make our way south to Barcelona where we check-in to our hotel and have dinner. (B, D)

DAY 11: BARCELONA: VISIT OF THE CITY

We will enjoy a panoramic tour of Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya (Catalonia) through the broad avenues of this beautiful city admiring its marvelous building contrasts dating back to nearly 2,000 years. We will proceed towards the Sagrada Familia Church, Gaudi’s masterpiece and one of the most daring editions of church architecture anywhere in the world. We will have the afternoon at leisure, with dinner this evening at a local restaurant. (B, D)

DAY 12: BARCELONA: VISIT OF THE CITY

We will visit the Gothic Quarter to include its Gothic Saint Eulalia Cathedral and its IV Century Roman Wall. Driving by the Columbus Statue and on the well-known Ramblas Blvd. to Cataluyna Square to the “Enxample” where we will admire the architecture styles of Catalan’s most famous architects, Batlló, Milà and Gaudí. We celebrate Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, one of the city’s most beloved churches dedicated to Our Lady. We will continue on to the Tibidabo Hill. A statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with his extended arms overlooking Barcelona below reminds one of Rio de Janeiro. This afternoon is at our leisure for shopping, and tonight we gather at a local restaurant for a farewell dinner. (B, D)

DAY 13: RETURN USA

Transfer to airport for return flight to 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.