The detailed itinerary provides an outline of the proposed daily program. Participants should note that the daily activities described in this itinerary may be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate changes in museum opening hours, flight schedules & road conditions. Meals included in the tour price and are indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=Lunch and D=evening meal.
Paris - 2 nights
Day 1: Saturday 14 October, Arrive Paris
- Welcome Meeting
- Orientation walk
Travelers taking the ASA ‘designated’ flights are scheduled to arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport. Here you will be met by your private coach and transferred to the Citadines Apart’Hotel Paris Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Note: if you are not arriving on the ASA ‘designated’ flight you will be required to make your own way to the hotel, or you may wish to contact ASA to arrange a private transfer (check-in time is at 2.00pm). Our program begins late afternoon with a welcome meeting and short orientation walk during which your leader will point out places to eat. The rest of the evening is at leisure. (Overnight Paris)
Day 2: Sunday 15 October, Paris
- Tour St Jacques
- Notre-Dame Cathedral
- Musée National du Moyen Age (Musée Cluny)
- Time at leisure in Paris
- Welcome Evening Meal at Le Procope
Paris has for centuries been a gathering point for groups of pilgrims making their way to Santiago de Compostela; they travelled in groups for guidance and protection. Known in France as the Chemin de St Jacques, the pilgrim way began at the 16th century Church of Saint James, a richly decorated shrine paid for by wealthy merchants from the nearby market of Les Halles. The church, which held a relic of the saint, has since disappeared, leaving only one of its towers, the flamboyant Gothic Tour St Jacques, which we shall visit.
The route then crossed the Seine and followed what is now the rue St Jacques, then a mere track leading south out of the small city.
We next walk to the Île de la Cité, centre of the medieval city, to visit the Louis IX’s (1214 – 1270) exquisite La Sainte-Chapelle, considered one of Europe’s finest architectural treasures. Built in 1248 to house the precious relic, the Crown of Thorns, this chapel is conceived as a great, luminous stone and glass reliquary. Its stone structure is reduced to a light frame of thin stone piers in order that its walls might be opened up into vast, richly coloured sheets of stained glass that colour the light of the interior, giving it an ethereal atmosphere. The chapel’s richly coloured windows imitate the scintillating jewels on the small reliquaries that inspired it.
From here it is but a short stroll to Notre-Dame. Pope Alexander III laid this great cathedral’s first stone in 1163. Completed 200 years later, the Cathedral is a remarkable transitional Romanesque-Gothic structure with some superb stained glass and stone sculpture; the Gothic style developed here in Paris and in the Île de France, whence it spread out across Europe. It expressed the intimate link between the Church and the French monarchy until the 1789 revolution, when it became a target of the revolutionary mob. It took its place in French – and world – literature, when Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885) made it the setting of his extremely influential novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831).
Following some time at leisure for lunch, we visit the magnificent Musée National du Moyen Age at the Hôtel de Cluny. Parisian headquarters of the Order of Cluny, it is a fine specimen of late Gothic palatial architecture. This museum holds a huge collection of medieval sculpture and tapestry and countless other objects as diverse as fine chests, stained glass windows, precious reliquaries and bejewelled ornaments. A highlight of our visit will be the Unicorn Tapestries that express the extraordinary richness of the late Gothic style, a vehicle for the expression of courtly power and grace. Here we enter the world of conspicuous consumption that underpinned French royal imagery.
The day is planned to finish around 4.00 pm. Following some time at leisure, we say ‘Bienvenue’ over dinner at one of the most literary of all Parisian restaurants, Le Procope. First opened in 1686, it is one of the oldest dining establishments in the world. (Overnight Paris) BD
Dijon - 2 nights
Day 3: Monday 16 October, Paris – Autun – Dijon
- Pilgrim Church of Saint-Lazare, Autun
- Musée Rolin, Autun
This morning we depart by private coach for Dijon, capital of Burgundy. On the way we shall visit Autun to view the pilgrim church of Saint-Lazare and the Musée Rolin which contains splendid sculptures by Gislebertus. This genius of the sculpted narrative sculpted a large number of capitals for Saint-Lazare’s nave and apse, including such masterpieces as the Eve and the Dream of the Magi. Some of the finest of these are now in the old chapter library. The Church’s Last Judgement tympanum is also by Gislebertus. The internal façades of the nave are based upon the Roman gates of Autun, for the city had an illustrious ancient heritage. Lunchtime will be at leisure in Autun, which has some excellent small cafés. (Overnight Dijon) B
Day 4: Tuesday 17 October, Dijon – Vézelay – Beaune – Dijon
- Abbey Church of La Madeleine, Vézelay
- Hôtel-Dieu, Beaune
This morning we depart for Vézelay, the first stop on the west-central pilgrim route to Santiago, where St Bernard preached the Second Crusade. The abbey church, La Madeleine (nave 1096-1104; choir 1170s), gained fame because it was alleged to contain the relics of the Magdalene, brought from Provence around 1050. In c.1280 it was found that the relics had, in fact, never left St Maximin in Provence and after this Vézelay declined as a centre of pilgrimage.
The Madeleine, restored by Viollet-le-Duc between 1840 and 1861, is noted for its magnificent nave, with polychrome ribs and an extensive sculptural program. The church has a masterly tympanum depicting Pentecost, in which Christ sends the Apostles out to convert the different peoples of the world. This work, sculpted by a Cluniac master, uses swirling folds and the elongation of bodily forms to convey a powerful sense of the presence of the divine. Surrounding the great central image are smaller panels depicting the various races, with fantastic images such as pygmies using ladders to mount horses. Christ is Lord of space and time and therefore along with this fantastic medieval geography lies a second ring of images, of signs of the zodiac and labour of the months. Within the church there are over 50 sculpted capitals with a profusion of subjects: from classical mythology, the Old and New Testaments, the lives of the saints, and the fancy of the sculptor. To read these images with their layers of meanings is to become aware of the different ways in which the world was perceived in the 12th century.
After lunchtime at leisure we drive south to Beaune, residence of the Dukes of Burgundy before 1420, to visit the Hôtel-Dieu (1443). This pristine Flemish Renaissance hospital with its distinctive polychrome roof was founded by Nicolas Rolin, the immensely wealthy chancellor of Duke Philippe le Bon. It survived without drastic change until 1971 when it became a museum. We shall see how a medieval hospital was laid out and will also view its masterpiece, Roger van der Weyden’s polyptych, The Last Judgement, which once graced the chapel at the end of the main dormitory; prayers were believed as efficacious in healing as the work of doctors. (Overnight Dijon) B
Le-Puy-en-Velay - 1 night
Day 5: Wednesday 18 October, Dijon – Tournus – Cluny – Le Puy
- Romanesque Abbey of Saint-Philibert, Tournus
- Abbey of Cluny
We depart Dijon, driving south to the great monastic centre of Cluny via Saint-Philibert, Tournus. Tournus lies on the Saône; rivers in the Middle Ages were conduits for conquest as well as trade. This fine Romanesque abbey consequently has a fortress-like west end. Saint-Philibert is a very early Romanesque church and its tall, narrow nave with a distinctive system of cross vaults reflects a period of experiment which characterized the genesis of the Romanesque style.
We drive on through the lovely Burgundian countryside to the great abbey of Cluny, headquarters of the religious Order that was to dominate Europe in its time. The two remaining towers of the original abbey church and fragments of one transept give a vivid impression of the enormous size of the original building which once dwarfed its counterparts in Europe. We shall spend lunchtime in Cluny, and you will have a chance to explore the town that has some rare examples of early-medieval houses. In the mid-afternoon we shall drive south and west to Le Puy-en-Velay. (Overnight Le Puy-en Velay) BD
Conques - 1 night
Day 6: Thursday 19 October, Le Puy – Conques
- Cathedral Notre-Dame of Le Puy-en-Velay
We spend the morning visiting the cathedral precinct of Le Puy, whose bishop was the earliest known pilgrim to Santiago whom we know by name. Le Puy occupies an extraordinary landscape of pinnacles, the cores of extinct volcanoes, atop which medieval hermits found solitude. The city was the starting point of one of the four main pilgrim routes to Santiago, used especially by German travelers. The earliest parts of the present Cathedral of Notre-Dame, which perches upon the crest of a high escarpment, include its unique seven-storeyed bell-tower, constructed in the 11th century. Its nave is surmounted by a series of dome-like vaults, another distinctive feature of this unusual church. The Black Virgin of Le Puy was brought back from Palestine in 1254 by St Louis and immediately made the fortune of the city by attracting pilgrims including popes, kings and queens. We shall also visit the Romanesque cloister of the cathedral.
In the afternoon we depart Le Puy for Conques, one of the most important pilgrim centres in France. In Conques we stay in a beautiful small 15th century inn (now a 4-star hotel). In the evening we enjoy a group meal. (Overnight Conques) BD
Albi - 2 nights
Day 7: Friday 20 October, Conques – Albi
- Abbey of Sainte-Foy, Conques
- Abbey Museum, Conques
The Benedictine Abbey of Sainte-Foy at Conques (1031-1090) is one of five archetypal pilgrim churches. Its plan, like those of Saint-Sernin (Toulouse); Santiago de Compostela; St Martin (Tours: destroyed) and Saint-Martial (Limoges), featured aisles surrounding the chancel that aided the ingress and egress of pilgrims. It has a fine east-end with radiating chapels, a narrow high nave with galleries and a well-preserved coloured portal depicting The Last Judgement, less majestic than that of Autun or Moissac but more vivid in its descriptive detail. The abbey was founded in 866 in a lonely, thickly wooded region of the Dordogne. It became an important station on the west-central route from Le Puy to Santiago because of the extraordinary popularity of its saint, martyred in 330 AD. The adolescent girl St Foy, like St George, was of obscure origins, but later became so popular that monuments to her were founded throughout Britain, continental Europe and the Near East. Her strange reliquary, fashioned in the form of an enthroned monarch, is the only surviving example of a form popular in the 11th century. It is housed in the Abbey museum that holds one of Europe’s best-preserved collections of early reliquaries. After lunch we travel to Albi, where the evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Albi) B
Day 8: Saturday 21 October, Albi
- Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile
- Les Jardins du Palais de la Berbie
- Le Musée Toulouse-Lautrec
- Afternoon at leisure in Albi
We spend a full day in Albi, a city of red brick reminiscent of Siena. It stands on the river Tarn whose bed provided the clay for these bricks. We begin with a visit to Albi’s extraordinary brick fortress-cathedral, Sainte-Cécile (1282-1330; porch 1519-1535), built by Bishop Bernard de Castanet with riches confiscated from Cathar heretics. The building, with smooth walls and curved tower-buttresses (designed so that stones hurled by war machines would glance off them) aimed to remind the Albigensians of the authority of the church whose dogmas they had disputed.
We also visit the Bishop’s palace, the Palais de la Berbie, which houses the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. One of the finest museums devoted to a single artist in France, it incorporates early paintings by the master and some of his most important images of Parisian life. There is also a collection of his posters and a section devoted to his lithography displaying many of his lithographic stones.
The afternoon is at leisure to further explore one of the best-preserved old towns in France, Vieil-Alby (Old Albi). (Overnight Albi) B
Toulouse - 1 night
Day 9: Sunday 22 October, Albi – Moissac – Toulouse
- Tympanum and Cloisters of Saint-Pierre, Moissac
- Saint-Sernin, Toulouse
Today we depart Albi for Toulouse via Moissac, visiting the church of St Pierre (1100-1150) that was once a Cluniac abbey. Moissac boasts a fine trumeau graced by ethereal, elongated figures of St Paul and the Prophet Jeremiah. Above the trumeau is a Last Judgement tympanum, which provides interesting comparisons to those of Autun, Vézelay and Conques. Behind is a narthex and above this a tower room with a majestic, open, dome-like structure created by the convergence of great ribs; this is believed to be an architectural depiction of the Heavenly Jerusalem. Although much of the monastery has been destroyed, its cloister remains. It has an important corpus of sculpted panels and capitals including figures in relief whose monumentality suggests that the artist who also worked in Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, was inspired by antique sculpture. In the early afternoon we arrive in Toulouse and visit the great pilgrim church of Saint-Sernin (1075-1096). After the destroyed church at Cluny, Saint-Sernin of Toulouse was the largest Romanesque church in France, very similar in plan to that of Santiago de Compostela. The church is double aisled and from its ambulatory project a series of chapels which once displayed saints’ relics. (Overnight Toulouse) B
Pau - 1 night
Day 10: Monday 23 October, Toulouse – Pau
- Musée des Augustins, Toulouse
The morning we visit the Musée des Augustins, an old Augustinian priory used as a residence and studio by Viollet-le-Duc when he worked on the restoration of Saint-Sernin. It is now a museum that holds a comprehensive collection of Romanesque and Gothic sculpture. In the afternoon we drive from Toulouse to Pau. (Overnight Pau) B
Sos del Rey Católico - 1 night
Day 11: Tuesday 24 October, Pau – Jaca – San Juan de la Peña – Monasterio de Leyre – Sos del Rey Católico
- Cathedral of Jaca & Diocesan Museum
- Benedictine Monastery at San Juan de la Peña
- Convent of Santa Cruz de la Serós (exterior)
- Monastery of Leyre
In the early morning we begin our journey from French Navarre into Aragón via the Somport Pass through which the pilgrim route from Provence crossed the Pyrenées (those from Paris, Vézelay and Le Puy travelled through Roncesvalles to northern Spain). Our first stop on this route will be Jaca, ancient capital of Aragón, with its important 11th-century cathedral, and the monastery of San Juan de la Peña. This Benedictine monastery, hidden high in a forested range beneath overhanging red cliffs, was where the initial Aragonese forays against the Iberian Muslims were initiated using funds paid by the kings of Aragón and Navarre. Beneath San Juan is the interesting sister convent of Santa Cruz de la Serós with a distinctive fortress-like tower, possibly constructed to afford refuge for its nuns during Islamic raids. Next we visit the Monastery of Leyre, a large complex with one of the oldest Romanesque crypts in Spain. In the evening we enjoy a group meal. (Overnight Parador Fernando de Aragón of Sos del Rey Católico) BLD
Santo Domingo de la Calzada - 2 nights
Day 12: Wednesday 25 October, Sos del Rey Católico – Eunate – Puente la Reina – Estella – Torres del Río – Sto Domingo de la Calzada
- Santa María la Real, Sangüesa
- Our Lady of Eunate
- Pilgrim Bridge, Puente la Reina
- Church of Santiago, Puente la Reina
- Church of San Miguel, Estella (exterior)
- Palace of the Kings of Navarre, Estella (exterior)
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Torres del Río
Today we visit a large number of interesting pilgrim monuments along the Spanish route to Santiago. The first is Santa Maria la Real, Sangüesa, with an extensive Romanesque and Gothic program of portal-sculpture, the latter influenced by Chartres. A well inside the nave of the church was probably sunk for the use of pilgrims. We shall then visit Our Lady of Eunate, thought to be one of three surviving funerary churches along the way of St James. An unusual arcade surrounds this centrally planned masterpiece, suggesting that its architect was attempting to copy either the temple or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Our next stop, Puente la Reina, is the meeting-point of the two pilgrim routes across the Pyrénées, one passing through Roncesvalles and the other through the Somport pass. It preserves almost exactly the form of a pilgrim village with medieval houses flanking the pilgrims’ way, which leads to one of the finest pilgrim bridges in Spain (from which the town takes its name). At Estella, which probably derives its name (Spanish estrella) from the star which indicated Saint James’ sepulchre to the hermit Pelaio, we shall see the pilgrim church of San Miguel with portal sculptures which narrate the life of Christ in vivid style, and the facade of the 12th century Palace of the Kings of Navarre, one of the finest examples of Romanesque civic architecture in Europe.
At Torres del Río there is a second funerary church with an octagonal ground plan. The church was built by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and was probably based on the original in Jerusalem. A vault of the type used by the Muslims in Spain in such monuments as the mosque at Córdoba seems to indicate the hand of Mudéjar builders (Muslims working for the Christians). Tonight we stay in the Parador of Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The parador is situated in a former hospital – hostel that provided shelter for sick pilgrims. In the evening we shall enjoy a group meal. (Overnight Santo Domingo de la Calzada) BLD
Day 13: Thursday 26 October, Sto Domingo de la Calzada – Bilbao – Laguardia – Elciego – Sto Domingo de la Calzada
- Guggenheim Bilbao
- Church of Santa María de los Reyes, Laguardia (Álava)
- Optional walk of Laguardia’s medieval ramparts
- Frank Gehry’s Marqués de Riscal Hotel, Elciego
- Tour and wine tasting, Bodega de Los Herederos del Marques de Riscal
- Cathedral of S. Domingo de la Calzada
Today we divert from the pilgrim route and drive north to Bilbao to view Frank Gehry’s magnificent Guggenheim Museum. Returning south we journey through the undulating plains of the wine-growing region of La Rioja-Alavesa to the medieval village of Laguardia. Following a picnic lunch we shall view one of Spain’s very few painted Gothic portals at Santa María de los Reyes. The door centres on a lovely, lifelike effigy of La Virgen de los Reyes (Virgin of the Kings), sculpted in the 14th century and painted in the 17th century by Ribera. The village is perched on a hillock within a circuit of fortified walls. There will be time at leisure to enjoy a walk along the ramparts.
In the nearby village of Elciego we encounter one of Spain’s most important avant garde buildings, Frank Gehry’s Marqués de Riscal Hotel, Elciego. One of the most celebrated of the Rioja’s famous wines is the Marques de Riscal, and the Bodega de Los Herederos del Marques de Riscal is part of the hotel complex. We shall enjoy a short tour of this famous winery and a wine-tasting and view Gehry’s extraordinary hotel.
In the late afternoon we return to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where we visit the namesake cathedral. Santo Domingo was a monk who spent a large part of his life building a bridge across the Oca and a pilgrim road that connects this village with Redecilla, which also possessed an important shrine. He is the first of the road-building saints we encounter on our journey. Within the cathedral, housed in a highly decorated 15th-century cage, are a live white-feathered cock and hen, reminders of a miracle attributed to the saint. Pilgrims still collect their feathers. In the evening we shall enjoy a group meal at the parador’s restaurant. (Overnight Santo Domingo de la Calzada) BLD
Burgos - 2 nights
Day 14: Friday 27 October, Santo Domingo de la Calzada – San Millan de la Cogolla – Burgos
- Monastery of San Millán, Suso
- Monastery of San Millán, Yuso
- Cartuja de Miraflores, Burgos
This morning we drive west to the lovely, lonely site of two monasteries, San Millán de Suso, a very early sanctuary built by Mozarabic monks, and its grand Baroque successor, San Millán de Yuso. The former, nestled high in a wooded escarpment, holds the shrine of San Millán. The latter, constructed in the valley below, displays his precious reliquary with unique ivory panels.
Burgos played an important role in the early military campaigns that slowly won back Spain from the Muslims (711-1492). The city is believed to have been founded by Diego Porcelos, who around 884 built a fortress there. Muslim raiders followed rivers like the Arlanzón into the heartlands of their enemies and it was as a check to invasion that Diego’s fortress was constructed. The city that developed around it remained subject to the kings of León until 926. Burgos then became the capital of Castile until 1087 when Alfonso VI moved his capital to Toledo. Its fortunes were revived in the 15th century when it was a centre for the export of wool to Flanders. Flemish and German artists in consequence travelled south to Burgos and designed many of its opulent chapels and shrines.
This afternoon we visit the first of two monasteries with royal tombs. The Cartuja de Miraflores was built on the site of Henry III’s old palace in 1441. Its fine, simple Gothic architecture is typical of a Carthusian foundation and its tombs of Isabella of Castile’s parents and brother are excellent examples of the (Flemish) Isabelline style. (Overnight Burgos) BL
Day 15: Saturday 28 October, Burgos – Covarrubias – Santo Domingo de Silos – Burgos
- Monastery of S. Domingo de Silos
- Burgos Cathedral
- Monasterio de Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas
This morning we travel south to the charming medieval village of Covarrubias and the monastery of S. Domingo de Silos. A monastery existed on this site from Visigothic times but was destroyed by the Arabs and a second building was erected in 919 when the area was wrested from the Emir of Córdoba. It became a great centre of Christian revival under Navarre’s St Dominic. The cloister has two storeys with capitals with delicate, mysterious and symbolic plant motifs, suggesting oriental, Byzantine or Persian influences. There is also an early 18th century (1705) pharmacy in the building.
We return to Burgos for lunchtime at leisure and then visit its Gothic cathedral (begun 1221) to see its splendid portal sculptures, vaults, cloisters, chapels and the coffer of El Cid. We also visit a second monastery with royal tombs. The Monasterio de Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas (Cistercian, 1187) became the pantheon of the kings of Castile. Its architectural style is English and its interior has Muslim decorative motifs of exquisite detail. A treasure of this monastery is a banner captured from the Muslim army at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212). It also holds a unique collection of court garb retrieved from the Castilian royal tombs. A number of these are decorated with Muslim motifs and are probably of eastern manufacture. (Overnight Burgos) B
León - 2 nights
Day 16: Sunday 29 October, Burgos – Frómista – Carrión de los Condes – León
- San Martín, Frómista
- Church of Santiago, Carrión de los Condes (exterior)
- San Miguel de Escalada
We continue along the pilgrimage route across the great meseta of Castile. First, we visit Frómista to see the fine Romanesque church of San Martín, one of the best-preserved (restored) Romanesque pilgrim churches of Spain. Its nave contains sculpted capitals some of which are linked stylistically to those of Jaca. The exterior walls are articulated and unified with horizontal bands that first appeared in Jaca and became a characteristic of the architecture along the pilgrim route in Spain. We shall visit a number of other important small pilgrim towns such as Carrión de los Condes, whose church of Santiago has portal sculptures depicting figures involved in occupations such as metalwork, as well as musicians and acrobats. If time permits, we shall also visit the Mozarabic church of San Miguel de Escalada. Christians fleeing the Iberian Muslims built this distinctive small church, which is hidden away above a small village. Despite their flight from Islamic Al Andalus, they nevertheless used such Muslim decorative elements as horseshoe arches in their church. (Overnight León) BLD
Day 17: Monday 30 October, León
- Panteon de los Reyes
- Colegiata de San Isidoro
- Cathedral of Santa María de Regla
Of Roman origins, León was the capital of the Kingdom of León from 910 to 1230. It was sacked by the Muslims under Almanzor (al-Mansur) in 988 but was rebuilt and flourished under Alfonso V (999-1027) as a major trading town and a most important stop on the pilgrim route to Santiago. Its fame derived from the possession of the relics of one of Spain’s greatest saints, the historian and encyclopaedist Isidore of Seville, brought north from that Islamised city.
We shall spend the morning in the city, now capital of its province, visiting such monuments as thethe Panteon de los Reyes, Colegiata de San Isidoro and the Cathedral of Santa María de Regla. San Isidoro was founded in the 11th century to hold the remains of St Isidore. It is a Romanesque/Gothic construction. The Pantheon of the Kings, the burial place of the early kings of León, holds one of Europe’s finest cycles of Romanesque vault paintings (1180-90) depicting the Lives of Christ and the Apostles, Signs of the Zodiac and the Labours of the Months. León cathedral’s great treasures are its west front, the finest of its kind in Spain, and its stained glass windows, the earliest of which date from the 13th century. The afternoon is at leisure. (Overnight León) B
Santiago de Compostela - 2 nights
Day 18: Tuesday 31 October, León – Astorga – Cebreiro – Santiago de Compostela
- Celtic houses of Cebreiro
Today we complete our journey along the pilgrim route. We drive to Santiago de Compostela via Astorga, a major stopping place on the route. We climb up across the high mountain passes that lead to the verdant region of Galicia. At the very summit of one pass we stop at the fascinating small town of Cebreiro, distinguished by its extraordinary cottage-barn, dry stone houses that are of Celtic origin. We then drive across Galicia to Santiago de Compostela. In the evening we shall enjoy a group meal. Our hotel is the Parador of Santiago de Compostela, Hostal dos Reis Católicos, former Royal Hospital and pilgrim lodging. We shall enjoy a group evening meal here. (Overnight Parador de Santiago) BLD
Day 19: Wednesday 1 November, Santiago de Compostela
- Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
- ‘Botafumeiro’, Pilgrim’s Mass
- Farewell Lunch
- Afternoon at leisure in Santiago de Compostela
The ultimate goal of all pilgrims was what is now the Plaza de España, flanked by stately palaces and the superb Baroque west facade of the great cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the most magnificent buildings facing the Plaza is Santiago de Compostela’s Parador, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos.
We shall spend the morning in the cathedral and its subsidiary buildings. The present cathedral (completed 1211) is built upon an earlier shrine of 899. Construction began before 1105 and the choir and transept were completed in 1112. A clock tower was added in 1325, the bell tower and cloister around 1521. The building later gained a baroque facade. The complex with its myriad chapels is a treasure house of sculpture and painting, precious silver work and glass from the Romanesque and Gothic periods.
At the Pilgrim’s Mass, we will assist to the ritual of ‘Botafumeiro’, with the giant censer swinging above the High Altar. A ‘Botafumeiro’ has been used in the Cathedral since the Middle Ages, originally to clean the air when crowds of pilgrims having completed the Camino de Santiago arrived in Santiago de Compostela.
Following a midday farewell group meal at the parador the afternoon will be at leisure to explore the many churches and palaces of the pilgrim city. (Overnight Parador de Santiago) BL
Day 20: Thursday 2 November, Tour ends in Santiago de Compostela
- Departure transfer for travellers taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight
The tour ends in Santiago de Compostela. Participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer to the airport to take their flight home to Australia. Alternatively you may wish to extend your stay in Spain. Please contact ASA if you require further assistance. B