A Pilgrimage to Spain: Following the Path of Pilgrims of Old on the Road to Santiago de Compostela
A Pilgrimage to Spain:
Following the Path of Pilgrims of Old on the Road to Santiago de Compostela
The Rev. Charis Caldwell
The Camino de Santiago, or the way of St. James, has many different routes, all uniting as one at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. This same path has been taken for hundreds of years by the faithful making their holy pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Roman, Moor, and Saracen invaders, the Knights Templar, and the armies of Charlemagne and Napoleon have also used the path. Therefore, this journey is not only steeped in spiritual significance as you travel to the place believed to be the burial site of St. James, but it also has much historical and cultural significance.
This pilgrimage involves physical activity, including the ability to walk many miles at a time, to climb stairs, to climb hills and mountains and to be “on one’s feet” for hours at a time. The terrain is varied, ranging from simple footpaths to paved highways. Some of the footpaths are gravel, rocky, dusty, muddy and rutted by farmer’s tractors. Pilgrims will need sturdy hiking boots and collapsible poles.
Day 1, Sunday, October 27, 2019– We depart Denver, CO on our American Airlines flight into Chicago O’Hare where we change planes and connect to our trans-Atlantic flight on Iberia Airlines into Madrid, Spain. M
Day 2, Mon.– Upon arrival in Madrid, we meet our driver and guide, and we board our coach. We visit Prado and Reina Sofia Art Galleries to acquaint ourselves with Spanish history and culture by some of Spain’s greatest artists. Our journey continues to Segovia, an important stop along the Sephardic Way and where we will walk from the Roman Aqueduct to the Discalced Carmelite Friary to see the Tomb of St. John of the Cross before continuing on to Avila for dinner and overnight. D
Day 3, Tues.– This morning, we enjoy a walk around the Walls of Avila to the Convent of the Encarnacion, where Santa Teresa of Avila lived for many years, and where she experienced many of her encounters with Jesus. We continue on to Leon located on the Bernesga River in northwest Spain. We visit the Cathedral with its magnificent stain glass windows. Dinner and overnight Leon. BD
Day 4, Wed.– Our journey continues today as we travel to the Pilgrims Way. We stop in Astorga to pick up any provisions needed for our walking days before continuing on to Foncebaddon. We walk the short distance to the emblematic pilgrim site of Cruz de Ferro in the Bierzo Mountains where we have some reflection time. Then on to the hilltop town of O Cebreiro, a village nestled in the Ancares Mountains, before arriving in Sarria for dinner and overnight. BLD
Day 5, Thurs. –Sarria to Portomarin 23km. Today, we hike through the beautiful rolling hills of Galicia to Portomarin. Dinner and overnight Portomarin. BD
Day 6, Fri. –Portomarin to Palas de Rei 25km. We leave the River Miño behind as we climb the hill out of Portomarin. Our walk takes us towards Gonzar, Hospital da Cruz and Ligonde, and finally to Palas de Rei. Dinner and overnight Palas de Rei. BD
Day 7, Sat. –Palas de Rei to Ribadiso 27km. Today is our longest day of walking. We travel through forests and along streams. Melide, one of the main towns that we pass today, is the halfway point. Dinner and overnight Ribadiso. BD
Day 8, Sun. –Ribadiso to Arca (Perdouzo) 23km. After the storm comes the calm. We enjoy a much shorter day today as we near Santiago. It is a perfect day to reflect on the past days and to go at a snail’s pace. Dinner and overnight Arca (Pedrouzo). BD
Day 9, Mon. – Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela 20km. Our final day of walking, we say goodbye to the countryside and begin passing the busier villages, as we get closer to Santiago. We will regroup at Monte do Gozo (Mount of Joy) to walk the last 4 km of this journey together into the city of Santiago de Compostela. This afternoon, we visit the Tomb of St. James and the Pilgrim Office to collect our Compostelanas (certificate of completion of the Camino de Santiago). Time permitting, there will be some free time to explore on our own. Dinner and overnight Santiago de Compostela. BD
Day 10, Tues. –We are free to explore this morning prior to joining together to attend the Pilgrims Mass at the Cathedral. This afternoon, we travel to Finisterre, end of the world, as it was known in centuries past. We celebrate the Lords Supper on the beach, and then walk the last couple of kilometers that takes us to the lighthouse. It is here, after walking a further 4 days from Santiago deCompostela, that many pilgrims end their journey. We enjoy the sunset before returning to Santiago for overnight. BL
Day 11, Wednesday, November 6, 2019 –We have an early morning departure for Santiago de Compostela Airport where we board our Iberia Airlines flight to Madrid. We transfer to our Iberia Airlines flight to Chicago O’Hare and transfer to our American Airlines flight back to the Denver, CO Airport. B
B –Breakfast L –Lunch D –Dinner M –Meal on Aircraft
Itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion of the leaders.