DAY 1: DEPART USA/ BILBAO
Today we depart on our flight to Spain via Paris with complimentary beverages and meals served aloft.
DAY 2: ARRIVE BILBAO/ LOYOLA
Upon arrival in Bilbao, we will meet our Catholic Travel Centre escort who will accompany us throughout our journey. We will enjoy the town square and have lunch on our own. Then we make our way to Loyola where we will enjoy dinner and overnight at our accommodations. (D)
DAY 3: LOYOLA: ST. IGNATIUS’ SITES & BILBAO EXCURSION
This morning we visit the Santuario de Loyola, originally the stone manor where the Loyola family lived, where St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, had a profound religious experience and dedicated his life to Christ. We will celebrate the Eucharist in the Chapel of the Conversion. A highlight this afternoon is a visit to the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Lunch and dinner will be served at our accommodations in Loyola. (B, L, D)
DAY 4: LOYOLA / LOGROÑO/ SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA
We leave the Basque country for Navarra. Our first stop is Puente La Reina, where we mark the beginning of our pilgrimage to Santiago with a prayer service in the chapel. We will each receive a clamshell pendant, the symbol of a Santiago pilgrim. We will stop in Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, and make a visit to the market square before continuing to Santo Domingo and its famous saint, Dominic of the Road. Lunch is on our own this afternoon. Dinner and overnight will be at our accommodations in Santo Domingo. (B, D)
DAY 5: SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA / BELORADO/COVARRUBIAS
This morning we tour the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, seeing the Hospital Viejo de Peregrinos and the Cathedral Tower, one of the best examples of La Rioja architecture. The cathedral itself was begun in the 12th century and completed around 1530, housing the mausoleum of Santo Domingo, with extraordinary gothic reliefs that narrate the Saint’s life and his miracles. We stop in Belorado to pray at the church of Santa Maria, containing an altarpiece of St. James in his dual role as pilgrim and knight. Then we are on our way to San Juan de Ortega for some leisure time before arriving in Covarrubias, a charming town of cobbled, porticoed streets along the Arlanza River. Dinner tonight is at our accommodations. (B, D)
DAY 6: COVARRUBIAS: EXCURSION TO BURGOS
Today we visit Burgos, the head and heart of Castile. Under Alfonso VI it became the Episcopal See and is known for its legendary heroes like El Cid and Fernán González. We stop at Burgos Cathedral whose spires can be seen from almost anywhere in the city for an afternoon liturgy. We enjoy lunch on our own with free time to explore the city. In the late afternoon we attend vespers at Santo Domingo de Silos Monastery. We return to the Hotel Arlanza in Covarrubias.
DAY 7: COVARRUBIAS/ CASTROJERIZ / FROMISTA / SAHAGUN / LEON
We depart Covarrubias and continue our pilgrimage for Leon. Our first stop is Castrojeriz to visit the Collegiate Church of Santa María del Manzana, where we will have our pilgrim prayer. We continue to Fromista where we see one of Spain’s purest Romanesque churches, the Iglesia de San Martín, dating from the 11th century. We continue on to Sahagún, visiting the Mudéjar churches of San Tirso and San Lorenzo and Convent of La Peregrina from the 16th century. Dinner is served at our accommodations. (B, D)
DAY 8: LEON: VISIT OF THE CITY
This morning we will join the local community for Sunday Eucharist at the León Cathedral, also known as the “Pulchra Leonina.” After lunch on our own, we continue with a city tour of León, visiting one of the city’s most important buildings, the Basilica de San Isidro, built directly into the Roman walls that surround the city. After seeing the Royal Pantheon and the Plaza Mayor, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy more of the city or visit the museum inside the cathedral. Dinner is at our accommodations. (B, D)
DAY 9: LEON/ ASTORGA / O CEBREIRO/ SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
This morning we depart Leon and proceed towards Astorga, the capital of a small region called La Maragatería of ancient history dating back to the Roman period when it was called Asturca Augusta, one of the stopover points along the Way of Saint James. It once held over 25 buildings dedicated to hospitals and inns, one of them being the hospital de San Juan at the cathedral’s square. We will have time to enjoy walking through this charming town. We make our way to Villafranca del Bierzo and Ponferrada.
With the fervor that inspired the centuries-old pilgrims on their “Way of Saint James”, we renew ourselves at O Cebreiro, the medieval town renown for its miracles, where we will celebrate the Eucharist. This afternoon we complete the last leg of our pilgrimage, admiring the charming green Galician countryside. Our dinner is served at our accommodations. (B, D)
DAY 10: SANTIAGO: VISIT OF THE TOWN
Today we will enjoy Santiago, the city of Spain’s Patron Saint and the most famous Spanish shrine. The name “Compostela” from the Latin “field of the star” was named after the tradition of St. James (Santiago). This city has been the third major Christian pilgrimage center after Jerusalem and Rome and is the present capital of Galicia.
We will walk on the labyrinthine cobbled streets of this medieval city, virtually intact since there has been little damage to the city over the years. Santiago is a true national monument with its buildings built with the practically indestructible granite stone. Lunch will be at our accommodations. The afternoon and evening will be free to browse through the quaint narrow streets and plazas. Dinner is evening is on our own. (B, L)
DAY 11: SANTIAGO / MADRID
The morning is free to explore the city. We will celebrate the Pilgrims’ Eucharist in the Cathedral and complete our pilgrimage by kissing the hem of the jeweled cloak that drapes the statue of Santiago. We will have a festive pilgrim lunch in the afternoon with an early evening flight to Madrid. Dinner this evening is on our own. (B, L)
DAY 12: MADRID – USA
Today we depart 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.