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The Walled City of Avila

Mystics, Miracles, and Moors
An Uncommon Pilgrimage
May 2 - 16, 2016

"I have long believed that any man interested in either the mystic or the romantic aspects of life must sooner or later define his attitude concerning Spain."
James Michener

Monday, May 2

Sometime in the morning leave home for your local gateway airport.
Flight to Philadelphia.
Around 3:30 PM - Arrival in Philadelphia and meet.
Philadelphia - Madrid - AA740 - Lv. 6:20 PM

Tuesday, May 3

Arrive Madrid - Ar. 8:20 AM
Meet our bus and begin transfer to Avila. Stop at Segovia en route for a visit to Discalced Carmelite Friary. Lunch in Segovia. Continue on for an afternoon check-in at the Parador in Avila. Remainder of day free. Dinner on own.

Wednesday, May 4

Breakfast at hotel. Morning walking tour of Avila and an introduction to St. Teresa. Afternoon free. Dinner at the Parador. Overnight in Avila.

Thursday, May 5

Breakfast at hotel. Morning excursion to Alba de Tormes, site of the Carmelite convent which St. Teresa founded and where she is buried. Lunch on own. Return to Avila in the afternoon through the mountains or optional visit to Salamanca. Dinner on own. Overnight in Avila.

Friday, May 6

Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Zamora. Stop briefly at Madrigal de las Altas Torres, birthplace of Queen Isabella. Continue on through Duoro wine country to Toro. Short tour of Toro followed by lunch on the Plaza Mayor. Visit afterward to Estancia Piedra for wine tasting. Check into the Parador in Zamora. Dinner on own.

Saturday, May 7

Breakfast at hotel. Morning free. Afternoon walking tour of the center of Zamora. Remainder of afternoon free. Dinner at the Parador. Overnight in Zamora.

Sunday, May 8

Breakfast at hotel. Day free to explore Zamora or afternoon optional excursion to the environs of Zamora. Dinner on own. Overnight in Zamora.

Monday, May 9

Transfer to Astorga via Leon. Visit the Cathedral. After lunch (on own) continue on to Astorga stopping to walk across the ancient bridge at Hospital de Orbigo, famous for its jousting history. Check into Hotel Gaudi. Dinner in hotel.

Tuesday, May 10

Breakfast at hotel, Morning walking tour of the center of Astorga. Afternoon free to visit Gaudi palace or wander through the weekly market. Dinner on own.

Wednesday, May 11

Camino de Santiago Day! Have a cup of coffee and then board our bus to have breakfast at Meson El Llar along the way. Drive to Santa Catalina de Somoza where as many as wish may choose to walk a portion of the Camino de Santiago. The bus will take those who prefer not to walk the rest of the way to Rabanal del Camino. Lunch on own along the way or in Rabanal. Return to Astorga. Dinner at Restaurante Serrano. Overnight in Astorga.

Thursday, May 12

Breakfast in hotel. Start our journey toward Santiago stopping at Cruz de Ferro, and Ponferrada with its Knights Templar castle. Optional visit to the Monastery of Santa Maria Carrecedo. Continue on to Villafranca del Bierzo where those who were too ill to continue on the Camino could receive their blessing. Dinner somewhere! Overnight at Las Doñas del Portazgo.

Friday, May 13

Breakfast in hotel. Continue our journey toward Santiago stopping at O Cebreiro en route with its miracle of the Eucharist. Optional visit to the Benedictine monastery in Samos. Check into Hotel Bonaval. Dinner on own. Overnight in Santiago.

Saturday, May 14

Breakfast in hotel. Walking tour of Santiago de Compostela ending with Pilgrim Mass at the Cathedral. Remainder of day free in Santiago. Dinner on own. Overnight in Santiago.

Sunday, May 15

For those who wish attend Pentecost mass at the cathedral. Otherwise all day free to wander the city, take a bus to Fisterra, or just assimilate all the various aspects of your pilgrimage. Farewell dinner somewhere in the city.

Monday, May 16

Leave for Santiago Airport at 7:15 AM. Arrive at airport and check in.
Santiago - Madrid - AA8772 Lv. 9:15 AM
Arrive Madrid Ar. 10:25 AM
Madrid - Philadelphia AA741 Lv. 12:45 PM
Arrive Philadelphia Ar. 3:25 PM
Transfer to remaining flight home and hopefully arrive no later than 8:00 PM

"When you go to a place you do not know, you must go by a way you do not know."
St. John of the Cross

"Buen viaje!"

14 February 2016

"Cariños Viajeros y Viajeras",

Bienvenido! ¿Cómo está?, which means, "Welcome! How are you?" This is to all those interested in exploring the complex mystery called Spain. As the major portion of the Iberian peninsula it first became a melting pot for cultures from the Vikings to the Moors; religions from Celtic and Catholic to Jewish and Muslim; then followed its reign among the world's colonial powers.

The result produced a country which in some ways is indefinable and it's not strange to find a mixture of two of the church's prominent mystics, a culture which blends all aspects of the cultures which permeate it, and an architectural and art history which follows close behind. One aspect which predominates above all of this are the various pilgrimage routes which criss-cross the country, each having a history of its own.

The itinerary above is complete and should give you a very good idea of what your tour will look like. A recent change will allow you to fly from any American Airline hub through Philadelphia at no extra cost. One of the most important qualities which distinguishes an ALC Adventure from other travel experiences is our commitment to satisfy as many in the group for as much of the time as is possible. If you or your travel companion don't see something you would like to have added, let us know and we'll do our utmost to accommodate your wishes, even if it happens during the tour!

The cost of the fifteen-day, thirteen night tour is $3595* per person, double occupancy. While finances and the final tour cost are always a factor, ALC carefully considers all aspects of the itinerary so as to make the best use of your time. Even though it is tempting to choose the least expensive accommodations, it is far more important to optimize the value of both your time and your money spent during the tour. Centrally located hotels allow far more freedom and less "in city" travel time, not to mention the convenience of the opportunity for a quick nap!

If there is anything you would like to discuss or inquire about, please send an e-mail to or contact me at 800-284-0252. In the meantime we sincerely hope this "preview" will better help you to make your decision to join us.

Best regards,

Calvin Hooker, Director

*Based on 10 participants travelling, and airline pricing at time of enrollment.