Santiago Compostela – escorted tour: Leon to Santiago

Leon's marvellous Cathedral Follow Me on Pinterest
Leon’s marvellous Cathedral

Life provides some fine opportunities, and it’s up to us to accept them and enjoy!

I will be returning to the Camino in March 2010 and lead a comfortable group of walkers and pilgrims along the fabled and historic Camino de Santiago. We have the minimum amount of members booked in already, so the tour has a guaranteed departure date – March 19, and ends in Santiago April 5, 2010. Land content $A3995 – (Australian dollars).
Our tour is designed to take you on a major section of the Road to Compostela, from the old city of Leon to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela.
We will experience some of the challenges and rewards that pilgrims throughout the ages have come to know. 
These days, pilgrimage is an exciting and challenging opportunity to depart from our usual lifestyles and experience the world beyond the horizon. Walking gives us the opportunity to slow down, to appreciate the world through which we normally race. Pilgrimage also gives us the opportunity to participate in an ancient religious/spiritual tradition.
We visit the Spanish churches with their magnificent multi-storied altars, richly embroidered with gold and silver. Monasteries, stone crosses and wonderful companionship are all part of our tour.
It is a journey of personal and group adventure. With all this, we will also enjoy the Spanish Menu del Dia and regional cuisines. If you have ever wanted to walk the Camino, but have been reluctant or unsure about how to do it, this tour provides you with a great opportunity.
And we will be walking into Santiago de Compostela on EASTER SATURDAY!
Here is a brief Itinerary of the journey.
FRI 19 MAR 2010: ARRIVE LEON – Arrive in Leon with its glorious light filled Gothic cathedral. Its stained glass windows are considered to be some of the best in the world. There may be time to visit the Hospital (now parador) of San Marcos, once the headquarters for the Knights of Santiago. And if possible visit the superb Real Basilica de San Isidoro and to see the Crypt and Pantheon of Kings. We pick up our Pilgrim’s passports individually at the Pilgrim’s hostel. (D)
SAT 20 MAR: VILLADANGOS DEL PARAMO – Today we walk to Villadangos del Paramo, with its historic Church of Santiago. 21km (BD)
SUN 21 MAR: HOSPITAL DEL ORBIGO – A shorter walk today to give us an early rest. Puente del Orbigo is the longest original bridge on the Camino, subject of one of the most romantic legends of the Way. 14km (BD)
MON 22 MAR: ASTORGA – Our journey takes us to Astorga, where the Camino Frances meets up with the Via Del Plata. We visit the Cathedral with its Museum of the Way, Gaudi’s Palace, and the Museo Romano. For those with a sweet tooth there is a museum of chocolate. 17km (BD)
TUES 23 MAR: RABANAL – The next few days are a little more challenging – across the mountains to Ponferrada. We walk through the old region of the Maragatos, a mysterious, race of muleteers to Rabanal Del Camino. We visit Santa Maria with its Romanesque Templar origins. 21km (BD)
WED 24 MAR: EL ACEBO – From Rabanal and Foncebadón we climb to the emblematic iron cross called Cruz de Ferro, with an enormous mound of stones placed by pilgrims at its base. We then enjoy a fairly level section through heather and broom before descending quite steeply into the lovely little stone village of El Acebo. 18km (BD)
THU 25 MAR: PONFERRADA – We enjoy a gradual descent through the hills to the larger town of Ponferrada. Here we visit a fabulous Templar Castle, and if time also the Basilica de la Encina (has Statue of the virgin) and the Museo del Bierzo. 14km (BD)
FRI 26 MAR: VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO – A longer walk today brings us to the foot of a mountain range. At Villafranca we visit the Church of Santiago with its Puerta del pardon. The Church of San Francesco was reputedly established by St. Francis when he journeyed to Santiago. 22km (BD)
SAT 27 MAR: O CEBREIRO – Bus to La Portela. The stiff walk up to the ancient village of O’Cebreiro, just on the Galician side of the León-Galicia border is one of the most famous stages of the entire Way.  We visit the Church of Santa Maria Real. 21km (BD)
SUN 28 MAR: TRIACASTELA – We climb through the pass at Alto San Roque. The Church of Santiago in Triacastella is another attractive church along the Way. 21km (BD)
MON 29 MAR: SARRIA – A beautiful stretch of walking today – although it passes through extremely rural areas with very few services. Samos Monastery is historically very important. The Sarria Churches of Santa Marina and El Salvador are worth a visit. 24km (BD)
TUE 30 MAR: PORTOMARIN – Portomarin has a great setting and Pilgrim’s atmosphere. A nice place to relax, read, and update your journal. We walk across the Mino Bridge and visit the Church of St. Nicholas. 23km (BD)
WED 31 MAR: PALAS DE REI – Out in the countryside again. We pass small hamlets and Eucalypt stands to arrive at Palas de Rei. There is a Pilgrims’ monument there. 25km (BD)
THU 1 APR: ARZUA – We hike through rolling rural terrain. Much of the walk to Melide (wonderful square and church) is on quiet surfaced country lanes, dirt and cobbled paths and medieval bridges. Then on to the bustling town of Arzua. 29km (BD)
FRI 2 APR: ARCA – Other northern pilgrim’s routes merge with the Camino Frances in Arzúa – we will notice more pilgrims from here on. Walk through Ste. Irene and another Eucalyptus Forest. 21km(BD)
SAT 3 APR: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – Our last stretch before arriving in Santiago. 21km (BD)
SUN 4 APR: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – We have a full day to explore Santiago, including the Pilgrims Office to apply for and hopefully to receive our Compostela certificates. We attend a Pilgrims Mass, and visit some of the sites of this remarkable city.
MON 5 APR: DEPARTURE – This morning we leave Santiago with a lifetime of great memories.
Please join us if you are able to.
What about you? What do you think?


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