The Way of St James (El Camino)


Please note:
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** This is a Walking Pilgrimage **

** Although this is a “walking tour” – rest assured that everything will be taken care of by St. Francis Pilgrimages! On your pilgrimage, you will be staying at fabulous hotels. You will have a driver and vans following your group as well as transporting your luggage. Furthermore, if you feel the need to complete a walking segment via transportation, you can simply climb aboard our bus or van as needed. Enjoy excellent meals throughout the pilgrimage and you will have an assistant and a guide at your side from start to finish.

EMAIL US
770-402-4335

     
 
This is such a magnificent pilgrimage, that it is a subject of a new
movie directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father Martin Sheen called The Way. This is a very interesting movie that encompasses elements of the pilgrimage that St. Francis Pilgrimages offers – called: The Way of St James (El Camino) – highlighting Spain’s spectacular Santiago de Compostela. The movie is based on a story of an American Father and Doctor (played by Martin Sheen) who decides to travel to Spain in order to walk the ‘El Camnio’ in order to follow in the footsteps of his son (played by Emilo Estevez) who dies on this journey.

If you are interested in experiencing this type of pilgrimage, be sure to register below.




Your Trip Includes:
Round Trip Air to Spain
         • Our price is based out of New York, you may depart from your local airport
         • You may book without airfare (land only option)
All Airport Taxes & Fuel Surcharges!
9 nights at 4-stars hotels & quaint Inns as follows: (or similar)
      ~ 1 night: Hotel Catalonia Gaudi, Madrid
      ~ 1 night: Rectoral de Goian or Torre do Bario, Sarria
      ~ 1 night: Pousada de Portomarin, Portomarin
      ~ 1 night: Rectoral de Lestedo or Pazo Mariñao, Palas de Rei
      ~ 2 nights: Pazo de Santa Maria or Lar da Mota, Arzua
      ~ 1 night: O muiño da Pena or Casa o Acivro, O Pino
      ~ 2 nights: San Francisco Hotel Monumento, Santiago de Compostela

Breakfast daily
Picnic lunches on 5 days
Dinner daily
Professional local Catholic Tour Escort
Catholic Priest & Mass daily
Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach 
Vehicle available to assist pilgrims who are unable to complete any leg of the journey
Hotel taxes and service charges

Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents

Not Included:
Lunches, Travel Insurance optional, Extended Cancellation Protection Plan, Tips to your guide & driver (€7-9 per day). Items of a personal nature.




Sample Day-by-Day Itinerary:


**This is a Walking Tour**

Important notice:
this itinerary involves an average of 13-17 miles daily of walking/hiking. It is essential that participants be in fit condition in order to complete the journey. We will have assistance vehicles (motor coach) available to assist pilgrims who are unable to complete a particular leg of the journey.


Sample Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Day 1, Depart USA
Board your overnight transatlantic flights from your home town. Meals are served on board.


Day 2, Arrive Madrid
Upon arrival in Madrid you will be greeted by your driver and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon we will visit the Capital city of Spain. We will see the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Retiro park, and the Prado Museum. Dinner and overnight in Madrid.


Day 3 - Madrid - Astorga - O Cebreiro - Sarria
After breakfast we make our way to Astorga, a strategic Roman crossroad and one of the most important Pilgrim towns. Both the Roman days and the Middle Ages left many reminders in this town such as the defensive walls and the Cathedral or the Bishop's Palace designed by the world famous architect Gaudi. We continue on to O Cebreiro, a lovely town with wonderful views of the Galician countryside and which has always been an important point of pilgrimage. We continue on to Sarria for dinner and overnight.


Day 4, Sarria - Portomarín (walking day,
14.3 Miles)
After breakfast we will go to the Pilgrim Office to request our Pilgrim Passport and we will start our walking pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. In the spirit of St James the Apostle, we become authentic pilgrims, journeying along an outer road (and the road within). Our walking trip will finish in Portomarin. The town, which dates back to the Roman Age, was an important halt along the Route in the Middle Ages. The old Portomarín lies beneath the waters of the dam built in 1962. But before flooding the town, many monuments were moved, stone by stone. Such was the case of the church-fortress of the Knights of San Juan of Jerusalem, who once run the old hospital that lies beneath the waters of the Miño river, along with the old Medieval and Roman bridges. Dinner and overnight at Portomarin.


Day 5, Portomarin - Palas de Rei (walking day,
15 Miles)
Breakfast in the hotel. From Portomarín we'll set off into the woods on our journey towards Palas de Rei, once an important town in the Middle Ages. It had a Royal Hospital and the Church of San Tirso stands on its lands, with a Romanesque portal. On the hilly walk we'll continue through field and forest passing countless granaries, hórreos, and wayside crosses or cruceiros (usually depicting on once side Christ and the other the Virgin), both very characteristic of the Galician landscape. Evening at leisure. Optional visit to the Monastery of Vilar de Donas, the fine Romanesque temple that stands majestically is remarkable for its Gothic paintings from the 16 C, and the busts of the "donas" or ladies that founded the house and its central apse in the 14th-century. The temple also treasures several sarcophagi of Knights of the Order of Santiago along with a stone retable that depicts the eucharistic miracle of O Cebreiro. Dinner and overnight at Palas de Rei.


Day 6, Palas de Rei - Arzua (walking day,
18 Miles)
Breakfast in the hotel. The walk sets off from Palas and ends up at a the bustling small town of Arzua. We finish our day with a visit to Melide. This town is crucial to the Route, because it is the place where the French and the Oviedo Routes converge. At the entrance to the town there is a crossroads from the 14 C, one of the oldest in Galicia. The present Parish Church was the former Church of the Monastery of Sancti Spiritus. It contains stately sepulchers. Worthy of note are also the small Chapel of San Roque, with its transept from the 14-century, and the Romanesque Church of Santa María. Today we also pass from Galicia's Lugo province to Galicia's A Coruña province. A Medieval bridge leads pilgrims to Ribadiso, before arriving at Arzua, the next halt on our journey. Surrounded by beautiful scenerywe see the Gothic Chapel of Magdalena, the only part of the old Augustinian monastery that has come down to us. The little town is famous nowadays for its Galician cheese factories. The chestnuts and oaks give way to eucalyptus. Dinner and overnight in Arzua.


Day 7, Arzua (day of rest)
Today we will take a break to rest our bodies and tired feet. After Mass you will have time at leisure to relax and reflect on your journey thus far. Dinner and overnight in Arzua.


Day 8, Arzua - Arca do Pino/Rua (walking day,
11 Miles)
After breakfast we will continue our trek to Arca do Pino, the largest community before Santiago, immersing ourselves in the fragrant eucalyptus groves. We'll picnic en route. After arrival in Arca, you can take a quiet walk around this village. The emotion is reflected in the faces of the pilgrims. The tiredness accumulated during the pilgrimage is not apparent. Many things are on the pilgrims minds: The list of all the sights to see in Santiago, the visit to the Apostle, the intention to pick up the document that certifies that the Route to Santiago has been made. Optional visit to the grandiose Monastery of Sobrado, Galicia's first Cistercian monastery and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Renovations in the 17th and 18th centuries amply embellished the façade, Church and side Chapel. Dinner and overnight in Arca do Pino.


Day 9, Arca do Pino - Monte do Gozo - Santiago (walking day,
14 Miles)
After breakfast we set out to make the last and final stage of our journey to reach the famed city of Santiago. En route we'll stop for our picnic on the Monte del Gozo (Mount Joy) from which the spires of the Cathedral are first visible. We will soon arrive at the Cathedral, the destination we have been yearning to reach. This architectural masterpiece is the most important Romanesque monument. After arrival in the Cathedral square and saying thanks to God for taking care of us during our pilgrimage, we'll check into our hotel. Free time. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.


Day 10, Santiago de Compostela
After breakfast we will visit and celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. James, one of the finest examples of architecture in all of Europe. Access to the Doorway of Glory is via the Obradoiro façade. Once in its interior, we will be carried away by the emotions produced by the sight of so many extraordinary valuable works of art. Tradition invites us to perform some rites: The most important and meaningful one is the hug to the Saint, go under the main altar and visit the crypt where the relics of St. James are preserved. After free time for lunch we continue our visit to the city of Santiago: Obradoiro Square, Fonseca Palace, Gelmirez Palace, Franco Street, etc. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.


Day 11, Santiago de Compostela – USA
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will say hasta luego (see you soon or good bye) to our new friends. We transfer to Santiago Airport for our return flights home to the USA


Important notice: this itinerary involves an average of 13-17 miles daily of walking/hiking. It is essential that participants be in fit condition in order to complete the journey. We will have assistance vehicles (motor coach) available to assist pilgrims who are unable to complete a particular leg of the journey.





Any Questions?
For more information, please contact: Bret Thoman, St. Francis Pilgrimages, PO Box 143
Senoia, Georgia 30276, USA. Tel: 770-402-4335 Email: bthoman@stfrancispilgrimages.com


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