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2013 Santiago Sampler
Wed.  June 26 – Wed. July 3, 2013
(8 days/ 7 nights)

 Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen,

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen,

Wed. June 26  –  Madrid Leon-  Astorga Castrillo de Polvazares  O Cebreiro Lugo

Meet in Madrid to travel north to visit Leon and see its Cathedral’s beautiful stained glass windows, second only to Chartres.  Lunch in the crossroads town of Astorga where the Camino Frances and the Via de Plata routes join.  Visit the artistic-historical town of Castrillo de los Polvazares.   Travel to the 1,300 m. high town of O Cebreiro, the beginning of the Camino in Galicia, and view the town’s ancient constructions of stone and hay, Las Pallozas. Arrive for a late dinner and to settle in our hotel in the Roman-walled city of Lugo.  Night:  Lugo   ***

***  One of the important features of this tour is that we will not be changing lodging every night.  We’ll be able to settle in to one location for 3 nights, and in the afternoons get to know Spanish life in the small city and rural area where will be staying.  We’ll stay 3 nights in a hotel in the charming, Roman-walled city of Lugo, and another 3 nights in a beautifully restored, traditional Galician manor house in Arzua.

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Thurs.  June 27  –    Lugo – Morning Hike Sarria to Portomarin(17.7m/10.6m)

Travel by minibus to the beginning of our 5 days of daily hikes and spend the morning crossing  beautiful Galician landscapes at your pace and for the distance you choose to hike.     Pass through picturesque, small towns like Barbadelo and Ferreiros and discover monuments like the Convent of “La Magdalena,” built as a 13th century Pilgrims’ Hospital; the church of Santiago de Barbadelo; and the legendary 100 km marker.

After a dinner/siesta break, gather for a guided afternoon visit of  Lugo, its Romanesque cathedral and it Roman fortifications.   Join a Spanish language group of your choice for evening conversation in a pleasant outdoor cafe.  Night: Lugo  ****

****  Afternoon activities will be flexible.  Individuals and groups will be able to plan additional side trips to places of interests, or relax and explore the cities and rural areas where we are staying.  Spanish classes and/or conversation groups will be available each day.

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Fri. June 28  –  Lugo –  Morning Hike Portomarin Palas de Rei (24.3 km/14.5m)

Start off early for one of the longer legs of our Camino hike and again travel at your own pace and for the distance you want to walk this day.  Journey through the towns of Ligonde and Vilachá with sweeping views of the Miňo river valley.  Explore the fortified church of St. Nicholas and the church of Vilar de Donas, considered to be one of the best examples of Romanesque art on the Camino.

After dinner/siesta, chose a Spanish language lesson to learn about the legend of the Camino in Spanish(at your level) or make plans to visit other sites in the area.  In the evening,  gather at traditional restaurant for our last night in this beautiful walled city. Night: Lugo

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen,

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen,

Sat.  June 29 –  Arzua – Morning Hike Palas de Rei- Boente(21 km/12.6m)

Enjoy walking the rolling hills between Palas de Rei and Boente while our luggage transfers to the traditional country manor house in Arzua that will be our home for the next 3 nights.  Cross the border between the provinces of Lugo and La Coruňa on an ancient Roman road.  Discover some of the architectural jewels of the Camino:  the church of “La Virgen de las Nieves” in the town of Furelos; the Romanesque portico of San Tirso’s church in Palas de Rei; and the churches of Sancti Spritus and Santa Maria de Melide in Melide.

In the afternoon,  take time to settle in and experience the country living in our new rural lodging.  Enjoy a Spanish class and relax after two rigorous hiking days.  Night: Arzua.

Meet people as you walk through small villages and farm fields.

Meet people as you walk through small villages and farm fields.

Sun.  June 30 –  Arzua – Morning Hike Boente-Salceda (19 K/ 11.4m)

Continue our walk across the green Galician countryside passing farms, fields, orchards, small towns and other pastoral scenes.

In the afternoon, enjoy a guided visit the the honey museum, and other sites like the beautiful 14th century, Gothic chapel of La Magdalena in Arzua.  Learn to make a Spanish tortilla for supper in a group cooking class.  Night: Arzua

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Mon.  July 1 – Arzua –  Morning Hike Salceda-Monte de Gozo (23.5km/15.5m)

At the end of our hike today, see the city of Santiago and experience the feeling of the ancient pilgrims as they climbed this “Hill of Joy.”  On the way travel through the picturesque villages of Salceda, A Brea, Santa Irene and A Rua before reaching Lavacolla, the place where the purification ritual needed to arrive in Santiago was performed in ancient times.

In the afternoon enjoy the country pleasures and gather to celebrate our final night in Arzua before we enter Santiago as pilgrims tomorrow.  Night: Arzua

First views of the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago.

First views of the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago.

Tues.  July 2  –  Arzua – Last stretch into Santiago De Compostela (4.4km/2,9m)  Pilgrims’ Mass.  City tour.  Awarding of Compostelanas.  Farewell surprise.  

Start early to arrive at the Cathedral in time for the 11am Pilgrim’s Mass.  After awarding the Compostelana certificates for all the Pilgrims completing the 100 km. pilgrimage, relax  in the city and our hotel.   Our final evening enjoy a Farewell Surprise accompanied by a traditional dinner and celebrate our achievements in the beautiful golden lit city of Santiago de Compostela.  Night: Santiago de Compostela

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen,

Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen,

Wed.  July 3 –  Santiago de Compostela

Gather for a guided tour of the old city from a history rich visit to the Cathedral to an exploration of the vibrant Mercado de Abastos, produce and fish market.  In the afternoon, bid a fond farewell to our group and the wonderful pilgrimage experience we shared.

(Although the tour will be over, we can help you plan additional activities in Santiago or in the region, or assist you in returning to Madrid.)

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