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Day 1 : Depart for Barcelona
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 : Arrive Barcelona
Upon arrival in Barcelona, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival's hall where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Make your way to the vehicle for your transfer to your hotel. Upon arrival, you will check-in and have free time to rest and refresh or explore. This evening, you will enjoy a welcoming dinner, followed by an overnight in Barcelona.
Day 3 : Barcelona - Manresa - Montserrat
This morning, your day will begin with breakfast and a sightseeing tour of Barcelona! Enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the Port of Barcelona, Montjuic, Plaza de España, and Plaza de Catalunya. The Port was created 2,000 years ago on the coastal area in order to protect and provide access for ships and goods. Currently, it is home to numerous walking areas, businesses, cultural and sporting events. Plaza de España is right outside the center of town and, was formerly known for its old bull-fighting ring. Presently, the Plaza is renowned for containing the Museum of Catalan art, situated on the side of Montjuic. Plaza de Catalunya is located in central Barcelona, and is known for its fountains and statues. Your day of touring will continue with a guided walk through the Gothic Quarter that contains remains from an ancient Roman village, including the Cathedral of Barcelona. We will continue to the Eixample quarter to visit Antoni Gaudi's stunning, unfinished Roman Catholic Basilica, La Sagrada Familia. In the afternoon, we will travel to Manresa with a visit to the Sanctuary of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and the Holy Cave where St. Ignatius lived. Continue to Montserrat, home to the miraculous Black Madonna. Arrive in time for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 : Montserrat
After breakfast, we visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat , located on a rugged mountainside. According to Catholic tradition, St. Luke carved the statue of the Black Madonna around 50 A.D. and brought it to Spain. While in Spain, it was hidden from the Moors and then, was later rediscovered by shepherds. In 880 A.D., the shepherds and the Bishop of Manresa were drawn to a grotto by a bright light and heavenly music. Upon discovery of the statue of the Black Madonna in the grotto, the Bishop of Manresa suggested that it be moved to Manresa. However, the status was too heavy that it could not be lifted. As a result, the Virgin remained in Montserrat and continued to be venerated there for centuries. As years progressed, a number of chapels were built upon the site and in the eleventh century, the abbot-bishop Oliba founded a monastery on Montserrat next to one of these chapels. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5 : Montserrat - Zaragoza - Madrid
This morning, following breakfast, your group will depart for Zaragoza. While in Zaragoza, you will have the opportunity to visit the magnificent Basilica del Pilar that was built upon the site of where Our Lady appeared to St. James. In 44 A.D. St. James the Greater was spreading the Gospel in Spain but, making very little progress and questioning his mission. According to Catholic Tradition, the Virgin Mary, who was still living in Jerusalem, bi-located and appeared to St. James the Greater to boost his morale. While inside the Basilica, you will view the pillar that was carried by angels and from atop Our Lady appeared. Following your visit to the Basilica del Pilar, you will visit La Seo Cathedral (Cathedral of Zaragoza). Formally known as the church of San Vicente during the Visigoth period, it contains architectural elements of Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque styles. In addition to the famous cathedral, Zaragoza is also known for its folklore and local gastronomy, both of which will be explored on your walking tour of the city. This evening, your group will continue on to Madrid where you will eat your dinner and enjoy a restful overnight.
Day 6 : Madrid & Toledo
This morning, you will awaken in the capital city of Spain! Following breakfast, you will enjoy a tour of Madrid, including the Prado Museum. This afternoon, you will depart for Toledo. Toledo is a city set upon a rocky mound that is isolated on three sides by a looping gorge of the Rio Tajo. It is known as the City of Three Religions or Cultures because the Christians, Jews, and Moors have lived peacefully in this city for centuries. Each inch of this outcrop has churches, synagogues, mosques and houses heaped upon one another in a haphazard spiral in which the cobbled lanes infiltrate with its best efforts. During your time in this city, you will view the some of the grandest treasures such as, the glorious Gothic Cathedral that was built upon the Great Mosque of Toledo. Visit La Iglesia de Santo Tomé, best known for housing El Greco's most famous painting and the Sinagoga del Tránsito, known for its impeccable stucco inscriptions. Additionally, you will visit a number of monuments such as La Puerta de Bisagras, La Puerta del Cambrón, La Puerta del Sol and many others. Your day will culminate with a return transfer to Madrid where you will enjoy dinner and an overnight.
Day 7 : Madrid - Astorga - O' Cebreiro - Santiago de Compostela
Today, you will depart Madrid and head towards the city of Santiago de Compostela. While enroute, you will make a stop in Astorga, with a visit to the Bishop's Palace built by Antonio Gaudi, which holds the Museum of El Camino. Later this afternoon, you will enter Galicia, by way of the city, Lugo. Your first stop will be to O Cebreiro, the first village in the region of Lugo and nestled in the mountains at an altitude of 1,300 meters. While in O Cebreiro, you will have the opportunity to view the iconic palloza styles houses, and the site of a Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the year 1300. In the evening, you will proceed to Santiago de Compostela for your dinner and overnight.
Day 8 : Santiago de Compostela
This morning, you will walk a few miles of El Camino, and immerse yourselves in the fragrant eucalyptus groves and experience the breathtaking scenery. Later this morning attend the International Pilgrim Mass at the Cathedral of St. James. After Mass and there will be free time for lunch and visit the Cathedral of Santiago. Formed by Galician granite, this Cathedral is one of the finest architectural examples in Europe as it encompasses Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles. Additionally, the Cathedral contains numerous and valuable pieces of art that truly captivate the eye. Upon entering the Cathedral, tradition will lead, as you will hug the dazzling statue of St. James. Following this intimate embrace, you will descent into the crypt where the Patron Saint of Pilgrims' relics are kept. After that, you will enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. Some stops on your tour include the Obradoiro Square, Fonseca Palace, Gemirez Palace, Franco Street, and much more. Your evening will be free to spend at your leisure until a final dinner with your group. You will spend a final overnight in Santiago de Compostela
Day 9 : Return Home
Your last day in Spain will begin with breakfast at your hotel, followed by a transfer to the Santiago Airport for your return flight(s) home. You will say "hasta luego" (see you later) to your new friends made on this journey.
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