† Centrally located 4 star hotels as follows (or similar):
~ 4 nights | September 04 - 08: Hotel Ayre Caspe, Barcelona
~ 5 nights | September 08 - 13: Hotel Catalonia Atocha, Madrid † Transfers as per itinerary on a group basis † Breakfast Daily † 7 Dinners † 2 Lunches (which includes 1 Cooking Class with Lunch) † Wine and mineral water with Lunches and Dinners † Transportation by deluxe motor coach
† Assistance of local professional guides in Barcelona, Zaragoza, Madrid, Segovia, Avila & Toledo † Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
Not Included: Lunches not mentioned. Tips to your guide & driver. Items of a personal nature
Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona
Our Lady of Montserrat, Montserrat, Spain
Our lady of Pillar, Zaragoza, Spain
Basilica del Pilar, Zaragoza, Spain
Alcazar of Toledo Toledo, Toledo, Spain
Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain
Escorial Monastery, Madrid, Spain
Day 01| Sunday, September 03: 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 02| Monday, September 04: Barcelona Airport - Barcelona Upon arrival in Barcelona, you will 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 Bus where your group will transfer to your hotel. Upon arrival, you will check-in and have free time to rest or explore this beautiful city! This evening, you will enjoy a welcoming dinner at your hotel followed by an overnight in Barcelona.
Day 03 | Tuesday, September 05: Barcelona - City tour This morning, your day will begin with breakfast and a sightseeing tour of Barcelona! Enjoy the stunning views of the Port of Barcelona, Montjuic, Plaza de España, and Plaza de Catalunya. Visit Picasso Museum, located in El Raval district, Barcelona's most visited museum that occupies a medieval mansion worth a look for the architecture alone. Inside museum lay the greatest treasures - the works of Pablo Picasso. Continue onto Park Guell followed with visit of Antoni Gaudi’s stunning, unfinished Roman Catholic Basilica, La Sagrada Familia. Enjoy delicious dinner at local restaurant and overnight in Barcelona.
Day 04 | Wednesday, September 06: Barcelona Free Day Following breakfast your day will be free to explore this beautiful city on your own! Group will meet later today and enjoy dinner at local restaurant. Overnight in Barcelona.
Day 05 | Thursday, September 07: Barcelona - Montserrat - Barcelona
Following breakfast we will depart for Montserrat and visit miraculous Black Madonna. Shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat is 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 on 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.We will have an opportunity to hear the Boys’ Choir sing before we return to Barcelona for dinner and overnight.
Day 06 | Friday, September 08: Barcelona - 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 (approximately three hours and forty minutes) where you will eat your dinner and enjoy a restful overnight.
Day 07 | Saturday, September 09: Madrid - City Tour This morning, you will awaken in the capital city of Spain! Madrid became Spain’s capital simply through its geographical position at the center of Iberia. When Felipe II moved the seat of government from Toledo to Madrid in 1561 his aim was to create a symbol of the unification and centralization of the country, and a capital from which he could receive fastest post and communications from each corner of the nation. Madrid’s main sights occupy a compact area between the Royal Palace and the beautiful gardens of El Retiro. The great trio of museums: the Prado, Thyssen Bornemisza and Reina Sofía. Group will have guided tour of Prado Museum and view one of the oldest and greatest collections of art in the world: Bosch, Velazquez, Goya, Titian, El Greco, etc. We continue with visit of the Royal Palace and conclude the day with dinner at local restaurant.
Day 08 | Sunday, September 10: Madrid: Cooking class followed be afternoon at leisure Following breakfast, begin a relaxing day in Madrid. Enjoy a cooking class together; which will teach you the finest points in Iberian cuisine. This afternoon, you are free to explore this incredible city and take in the sites that you have missed or would like to spend more time at.
Day 09 | Monday, September 11: Madrid - Avila - Segovia - Madrid This morning, after breakfast, you will board the bus and enjoy a transfer to the medieval city of Ávila. Upon arrival in Ávila, you will immediately notice the perfectly preserved eleventh-century walls that surround the old town. The conservation of architecture in this city, to which St. Teresa was born, deems its shrines, convents and churches necessary to visit on any Catholic pilgrimage. During your visit to Ávila, you will have the opportunity to visit the Catedral de Ávila, whose artwork and architecture encompasses the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles; la Basilica de San Vicente, of which stands on the site of the martyrdom of St. Vincent; the Incarnation Convent, where St. Teresa became a nun and most interestingly, received advice from St. John of the Cross to reform the Carmelite order; el Convento de Santa Teresa, built upon the home of St. Teresa and contains the relics of hers and of St. John of the Cross; el Convento de San Jose, the first monastery created by St. Teresa as a response to her own incessant question, “What can I do for the church?” After walking in the footsteps of St. Teresa, your group will transfer to the town of Segovia. Segovia is the town where Saint John of the Cross is buried. Segovia is a relatively small city, strategically sited on a rock ridge, it is deeply and haughtily Castilian, with a panoply of squares and mansions from its days of Golden age grandeur, when it was a royal resort and a base for the Cortes (parliament). It was in Segovia where the Isabel La Católica was proclaimed queen of Castilla. We will find a huge number of impressive monuments and buildings inside its medieval walls: the Roman aqueduct, probably built around the end of the first century BC and over 800m long, supported by 166 arches and 120 pillars, stands up without a drop of mortar or cement; the cathedral, the last major Gothic building in Spain; the Alcázar, an extraordinary fantasy of castle, with its narrow towers and flurry of turrets; the Vera Cruz church, built by the Templar Knights; the synagogue, very similar in style to Santa María la Blanca in Toledo; and many Romanesque churches as San Millán, San Justo, San Martín, etc.
Day 10 | Tuesday, September 12:Madrid - Toledo - Madrid After breakfast his morning, you will depart for Toledo (approximately one hour and twenty minutes). 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. Also, you will 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. Your tour will continue as you visit the Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca that interestingly appears to be a mosque rather than a Catholic church and la Iglesia de San Juan de los Reyes. 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 farewell dinner in a local restaurant and an overnight.
Day 11 | Wednesday, September 13: Depart Madrid - Madrid Airport Your last day in Spain will begin with breakfast at your hotel, followed by a transfer to Madrid 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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About Spain: Saint Teresa and Saint Ingatius both hailed from Spain. Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and writer. Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish knight who became priest and found the Society of Jesus and became its first Superior General.