|GOOD FOR YOUR BODY & SOUL!
How to Prepare for Your Trip
The Camino de Santiago is the most famous, and sacred, pilgrimage walk in the world.
Millions of people have traveled to the ancient burial site of St. James the Apostle for over 1000 years.
Open your heart and mind to be responsive to new perspectives, ideas, cultures, etc. Some of us have dreamed of making this walk for many years, imagining breathing in the beauty and awakening the soul. Finally you have the chance to experience the incredible journey. As soon as you have decided to make the El Camino pilgrimage, please work on preparing
physically and spiritually, so that, before you depart, you are accustomed to walking
from 5 - 12 miles with not too much discomfort.
We do not include much free time for recreation, such as shopping, because we will be busy walking as well as enjoying several comprehensive tours. However, if you are tired or feel like doing only partial walk, you are free to take time and relax. If you feel you are unable to keep up with the pace of the tour, manage the terrain, or would like free time for your own interests, you are welcome to refrain from participating in any aspects of the program you desire simply inform your guide and they will get you to our next destination (no refund can be issued for any part of the tour you choose not to participate in).
It is important to note that the amount of walking is significant, and the terrain varies greatly throughout the tour. For this reason, we would like to offer you some recommendations, and we ask you sincerely read our tips carefully.
THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER…
To live in the midst of the world without wishing its pleasures; To be a member of each family, yet belonging to none; To share all secrets; to heal all wounds;
To go from men to God and offer Him their prayers; To return from God to men to bring pardon and hope; To have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity;
To teach and to pardon, console and bless always-what a glorious life!
And its yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ! ~ Lacordaire
GOD BLESS OUR PRIESTS!
The Plenary Indulgence is granted to all the faithful who are truly repentant who, in church or in chapel, devoutly attend the divine Sacrifice of Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, for the priests of the Church, and any other good work which they have done on that day, so that he may sanctify them and form them in accordance with His Heart, as long as they have made expiation for their sins through sacramental confession and prayed in accordance with the Supreme Pontiff's intentions: on the days in which the Year for Priests begins and ends, on the day of the 150th anniversary of the pious passing of St John Mary Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month or on any other day established by the local Ordinaries for the benefit of the faithful.
The Spiritual Director will accompany you on your 206 Tours pilgrimage. He will celebrate Mass, make himself available for Spiritual direction and
Emergency Contact Details
Local Contact & Tour Escort while in Europe:
+34 677 442 367
Contacts while in the USA:
Rinda, Stefanie, & Samantha
333 Marcus Blvd
*206 Tours Emergency Response:
24 hour Emergency Response Team in the USA
*Only contact this number in case of an emergency.
If you have questions regarding your tour or flight schedule
please contact: 800 206 TOUR (8687) during normal business hours
(Mon-Fri 9:00 am—6:00 pm EST)
Your Hotel Contact
Hotel Catalonia Goya
October 30-November 1 Goya, 49
(2 nights) Madrid, Spain
Tel #: + 34 (917) 814 949
Hotel Carris Alfonzo IX
November 1-2 Rúa do Peregrino 29
(1 night) Sarria (Lugo), Spain
Tel #: + 34 (982) 530 005
Hotel Pousada de Portomarin
November 2-3 Av. Sarria, s/n. 27170
(1 night) Portomarin (Lugo), Spain
Tel #: +34 (982) 545 200
PALAS DE REI
Hotel Rio Tambre
November 3-4 Vilarino (Sambreixo)
(1 night) Palas de Rei (Lugo), Spain
Tel #: + 34 (982) 374 135
November 4-5 Viladavil
(1 night) Arzúa (La Coruña), Spain
Tel #: + 34 (981) 500 343
November 5-6 Carretera de Santiago-Arzúa, 12
(1 night) O Pino (La Coruña), Spain
Tel #: + 34 (981) 510 431
November 6-8 Horreo, 1.15702 (2 nights) Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Tel #: + 34 (981) 585 700
Sample Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Depart USA
Board your overnight transatlantic flights from your home town. Meals are served on board.
Day 2: Arrive Madrid
Upon arrival in Madrid you will be greeted by your driver and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon we will visit the Capital city of Spain. We will see the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Retiro park, and the Prado Museum. Dinner and overnight in Madrid.
Day 3: Madrid – Foncebadon – Iron Cross – O Cebreiro – Sarria (Walking day, 3 miles)
After breakfast, we will make our way from Madrid to Sarria, the point of entry to the beautiful landscapes on the oriental side of Galicia such as Ancares and Caurel. Along the way, we will walk through Foncebadon and stop by the “Iron Cross” which is a monument where all of those who take on this walk, lay a stone. Before arriving in Sarria, you will walk through O Cebrerio, located in the middle of the mountains, and with 1300 meters under your feet, it makes for a wonderful panoramic view. This village has been a very important pilgrimage sight always due to the Eucharistic Miracle that took place there. Dinner and overnight in Sarria
Day 4: Sarria - Portomarín (walking day, 14.3 Miles)
After breakfast we will go to the Pilgrim Office to request our Pilgrim Passport and we will start our walking pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. In the spirit of St James the Apostle, we become authentic pilgrims, journeying along an outer road (and the road within). Our walking trip will finish in Portomarin. The town, which dates back to the Roman Age, was an important halt along the Route in the Middle Ages. The old Portomarín lies beneath the waters of the dam built in 1962. But before flooding the town, many monuments were moved, stone by stone. Such was the case of the church-fortress of the Knights of San Juan of Jerusalem, who once run the old hospital that lies beneath the waters of the Miño river, along with the old Medieval and Roman bridges. Dinner and overnight at Portomarin.
Day 5: Portomarin - Palas de Rei (walking day, 15 Miles)
Breakfast in the hotel. From Portomarín we'll set off into the woods on our journey towards Palas de Rei, once an important town in the Middle Ages. It had a Royal Hospital and the church of San Tirso stands on its lands, with a Romanesque portal. On the hilly walk we'll continue through field and forest passing countless granaries, hórreos, and wayside crosses or cruceiros (usually depicting on once side Christ and the other the Virgin), both very characteristic of the Galician landscape. Evening at leisure. Optional visit to the Monastery of Vilar de Donas, the fine Romanesque temple that stands majestically is remarkable for its Gothic paintings from the 16 C, and the busts of the "donas" or ladies that founded the house and its central apse in the 14th-century. The temple also treasures several sarcophagi of Knights of the Order of Santiago along with a stone retable that depicts the eucharistic miracle of O Cebreiro. Dinner and overnight at Palas de Rei.
Day 6: Palas de Rei - Arzua (walking day, 18 Miles)
Breakfast in the hotel. The walk sets off from Palas and ends up at a the bustling small town of Arzua. We finish our day with a visit to Melide. This town is crucial to the Route, because it is the place where the French and the Oviedo Routes converge. At the entrance to the town there is a crossroads from the 14 C, one of the oldest in Galicia. The present Parish Church was the former church of the Monastery of Sancti Spiritus. It contains stately sepulchers. Worthy of note are also the small chapel of San Roque, with its transept from the 14-century, and the Romanesque church of Santa María. Today we also pass from Galicia's Lugo province to Galicia's A Coruña province. A Medieval bridge leads pilgrims to Ribadiso, before arriving at Arzua, the next halt on our journey. Surrounded by beautiful scenerywe see the Gothic Chapel of Magdalena, the only part of the old Augustinian monastery that has come down to us. The little town is famous nowadays for its Galician cheese factories. The chestnuts and oaks give way to eucalyptus. Dinner and overnight in Arzua.
206 Tours Pilgrimage Group,
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Day 7: Arzua (day of rest)
Today we will take a break to rest our bodies and tired feet. After Mass you will have time at leisure to relax and reflect on your journey thus far. Dinner and overnight in Arzua.
Day 8: Arzua - Arca do Pino/Rua (walking day, 11 Miles)
After breakfast we will continue our trek to Arca do Pino, the largest community before Santiago, immersing ourselves in the fragrant eucalyptus groves. We'll picnic en route. After arrival in Arca, you can take a quiet walk around this village. The emotion is reflected in the faces of the pilgrims. The tiredness accumulated during the pilgrimage is not apparent. Many things are on the pilgrims minds: The list of all the sights to see in Santiago, the visit to the Apostle, the intention to pick up the document that certifies that the Route to Santiago has been made. Optional visit to the grandiose Monastery of Sobrado, Galicia's first Cistercian monastery and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Renovations in the 17th and 18th centuries amply embellished the façade, church and side chapel. Dinner and overnight in Arca do Pino.
Day 9: Arca do Pino - Monte do Gozo - Santiago (walking day, 14 Miles)
After breakfast we set out to make the last and final stage of our journey to reach the famed city of Santiago. En route we'll stop for our picnic on the Monte del Gozo (Mount Joy) from which the spires of the Cathedral are first visible. We will soon arrive at the Cathedral, the destination we have been yearning to reach. This architectural masterpiece is the most important Romanesque monument. After arrival in the Cathedral square and saying thanks to God for taking care of us during our pilgrimage, we'll check into our hotel. Free time. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Day 10: Santiago de Compostela
After breakfast we will visit and celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. James, one of the finest examples of architecture in all of Europe. Access to the Doorway of Glory is via the Obradoiro façade. Once in its interior, we will be carried away by the emotions produced by the sight of so many extraordinary valuable works of art. Tradition invites us to perform some rites: The most important and meaningful one is the hug to the Saint, go under the main altar and visit the crypt where the relics of St. James are preserved. After free time for lunch we continue our visit to the city of Santiago: Obradoiro Square, Fonseca Palace, Gelmirez Palace, Franco Street, etc. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Day 11: Santiago de Compostela – USA
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will say hasta luego (see you soon or good bye) to our new friends. We transfer to Santiago Airport for our return flights home to the USA. Buen Camino!
*Important notice: This itinerary involves an average of 13-17 miles daily of walking/hiking. It is essential that participants be in fit condition in order to complete the journey. We will have assistance vehicles (motor coach) available to assist pilgrims who are unable to complete a particular leg of the journey.
Details of Checkpoints:
There will be three (3) checkpoints set up for you each day that are divided into increments. Example: Day 5 includes 15 miles of walking: The FIRST CHECKPOINT will be set up 30% of the way – 4.5 Miles, The SECOND CHECKPOINT will be set up the next 30% of the way – 4.5 Miles (Total of 9 miles walked) - LUNCH – The Second Checkpoint will be where you will have lunch - The THIRD CHECKPOINT will be set up at your destination point for that day – 6.0 Miles (or the remaining 40% of the walk for the day)
*Note: Due to the terrain, the bus will not be available during the remaining walk. The Guide will always offer you two options: You will be offered recommendations of paths to take that will allow you to complete the walk, but not walking the full distance, or, you can choose to walk one or two of the legs each day depending on how you feel.
About Your Flights & Foreign Travel
|206 Tours Pilgrimage Group
Please visit www.tsa.gov for the most up to date travel restrictions
Carefully review your flight confirmation to ensure that your name on the tickets are an exact match to that of your passport. Please note that the name field on your tickets is only 19 characters long, therefore names exceeding this length will be cut off (this is not a problem, as your actual reservation contains your full name). Please contact 206 Tours immediately should any discrepancies be found.
Your ticket is an electronic ticket (“e-tickets”). At check-in, you should provide your passport to the check-in agent. Be sure to bring a copy of your e-ticket confirmation for reference in case it is needed.
Travelers who are less than 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult. If a child will be traveling with adults other than parents or with only one parent, a notarized letter must be written by the parents or non-traveling parent granting authorization, including the dates of travel. We also suggest that you contact the appropriate consulate and airlines because they may have additional requirements. An infant is defined as anyone who is under the age of 24 months, and child is defined as any one between the ages of 24 months and 11 years for the entire duration of their trip.
We recommend that you check in for your domestic flights at least two hours prior to departure and for international flight at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time. Passengers must personally check their luggage at the airline counter. Please advise the airline representative of your final destination upon check-in so that you will not need to claim your baggage and recheck it during flight connections. Please note that our pilgrims travel from all across the US, and you will be traveling independently for all flights until your arrival.
We must book your airline reservations based on the rules and routings provided to us by the airlines, including connection time, cities for connections, and partner carriers. Airlines determine the standard for the required minimum connecting time to transfer from one gate to another for each specific airport. We are subject to the availability of the carriers we work with, and also must ensure that all reservations correspond so that each participant is able to meet the group transfers to/from the airport. We do all in our power to provide you with the most convenient flight schedule available to us at the time of your booking, however we must still follow all appropriate airline rules and regulations.
Airlines in special agreements, which share planes in order to offer the greatest convenience to travelers. While your ticket may indicate that you are flying with one carrier (i.e. United), you may find that you are actually seated in a plane belonging to another carrier (i.e. Lufthansa). Please review your airline itinerary carefully to determine which airline is operating your flight as that is the carrier with whom you will check-in. Should the plan be operated by another carrier your itinerary will state "Flight Operated by (Airline)."
Passports and Visas:
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport to enter Europe. Please note that your passport MUST be valid for 3 months after your scheduled return date. If you have not yet obtained your passport, or just noticed that it will not be valid, urgently contact your local passport office and apply for an expedited passport/passport renewal. A visa is not required for citizens of the USA for entry into Europe. For those who hold a passport from a foreign country, please be advised that it is the passengers responsibility to reconfirm if any visas are required.
No inoculations are necessary when traveling to Europe from the US. However, please consult with your health care provider before traveling. For the latest overseas travel health information, call the Center for Disease Control at 1-877-394-8747. Or visit www.cdc.gov. For medical information, call the US Public Health service 301-443-2403.
After disembarkation from the plane you will clear immigration and proceed to claim your luggage. You will exit the baggage claim into the arrival lounge where you will be greeted by a representative displaying a sign which reads “206 Tours.” You will be transferred to your hotel where you will check-in and have time to refresh before meeting the rest of your group later in the evening. Please remember to look for the sign! If your luggage is missing you will proceed to your airline carrier’s baggage office in the airport terminal to complete a missing luggage form, which will include a description of your luggage. Upon locating your baggage, the airlines will bring your luggage to your hotel. It is important that you provide them with the correct address and dates that you will be at your hotels. You may also provide the emergency number listed in this booklet.
Flight Delays & Arrival Transfers:
If you missed your flight, forgot your passport or if you are re-routed you will probably miss the group transfer that is included in your package. In such circumstances you will need to take a taxi at your own expense to the hotel. You may submit a claim with insurance or airlines for reimbursement upon your return to the USA. Please do not hesitate to call the local contact’s number in Europe or 206 Tours emergency line if you need any assistance.
How to Overcome Jet Lag:
Rapid travel through multiple time zones can take its toll on your physical and mental well-being. "Jet Lag" is the phrase used to describe the condition when an individual's internal body clock is out of sync with the actual time in the region to which you have traveled. It is important to try to adjust your internal body clock to receive the most out of your tour. Here are some tips on how to adjust your body to local time.
On the day of the flight/arrival:
*Get out of bed earlier than usual on the day of departure
*Drink a lot of water to compensate for the dehydration on long flights
*Shortly after your evening meal on your flight, set your watch to the local time
*Try to rest and/or sleep as soon as possible on your flight
*Try to go to bed around 10:00 PM the night of arrival
Luggage & What to Pack
Best to stick with light, already worn, comfortable clothing.
*pants (made of lightweight but tough materials for hiking is best choice leave your jeans at home)
*short/long sleeved shirts
*shirts /sweaters for layering
*wool/smart wool socks
*lightweight but warm hooded jacket
Do not worry about the weight as we have luggage handling included.
Stay away from cotton. A combination of day-to-day clothing such as sweatpants, sweatshirts and sneakers was once the preferred choice of the outdoor enthusiast. Nowadays, clothing that is specially designed for outdoor activities is preferred. Many outdoor clothing companies advertise the three-layer system, which incorporates a base layer, an insulation layer and an outer layer. For example, specialized hiking pants serve as three layers in one with the netting sewn inside acting as the base layer.
When it comes to selecting the proper gear, three key factors come into play: insulation, warmth and water resistance. This is particularly true when picking gloves and socks, because your hands and feet are most at risk for exposure to cold, damp and frostbite
Title Nine - www.titlenine.com
REI – www.rei.com
Eastern Mountain Sports – layering Tec shirt www.ems.com
Athleta - www.athleta.com
The most important thing to bring is a pair of good shoes.
Make sure you have two good pairs of comfortable weather flexible walking shoes. Leather hiking boots are not recommended. Make sure you walk in them for a couple of weeks to break them in. It is not practical to wear any footwear with high or narrow heels, as the roads are not always paved and are, at times, uneven cobblestone. On the plane you will want to wear loose-fitting clothes and pack a pair of slippers or socks to wear for the flight. Make sure your shoes are laceup or flexible, as your feet may swell due to the flight.
Walking Canes: allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Walking Sticks will be available for purchase when you arrive, however, if you have your own which you would like to bring, they will be allowed with your Carry-On luggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed.
Here is a suggestion for a walking cane / stick
See our recommendations:
Other Suggested Items to Bring
*Travel Bible and Journal (unless you have cell phone/I phone/I pod or Blackberry)
*Portable alarm clock (unless you have cell phone/I phone/I pod or Blackberry)
*Dramamine (for motion sickness)
*Laxative and Imodium
*Pepto Bismol (tablets)
*Allergy/cold medicine; tablets
*Deodorant (travel size)
*Soap bar (travel size) and washcloth
*Shampoo and Conditioner (travel size)
*Toothbrush & Toothpaste (travel size)
*Lotion/Moisturizing cream (travel size)
*Handi-wipes: for freshening up during the day
*Travel pack size Kleenex
*Digital Camera, Charger, Extra Battery & carrying case
*Extra film for camera (expensive outside of US)
*Adapter and converter if you are bringing any electrical devices
*Grocery size plastic bags: 1-2 for dirty clothes
*Travel size poncho (in camping section of Wal-Mart)
*Inflatable head & neck rest, eye mask, foam earplugs (for flight)
*Nail file and/or nail clippers
*Pen (bring with you on the plane to complete customs forms)
*Travel Toilet Tissue (have some on you just in case bathrooms run out of them)
*Your I Phone / Cell Phone / Blackberry
*Small flash light
*Small/Medium size water bottle
*Bed bugs luggage spray / bed bug spray combo pack ….We do not expect any bed bugs, but since we hear that these days *bed bugs have been crawling through some of the most expensive hotels in the world and through the airports.
Luggage & What to Pack
For your international flight you are permitted to maximum of ONE piece of checked luggage at no additional fee.
International air carriers are becoming stricter about the size and weight of baggage and carry-on luggage. Please reconfirm with your air carrier within one week of your departure for specific information as to size and weight limitations (in case of changes). Most airlines will charge steep fees if your checked luggage is oversized or overweight. Keep in mind that your scale at home may not match exactly with the scale at the airport, so be sure to leave a few extra pounds of leeway!
Portage of one (1) piece of luggage per person at your hotels is included in your trip costs. The porters will do their best to bring your bag to you in a timely fashion upon checking into the hotel, however at times there can be short delays due to the size of the group arriving. To make it easier for porters to identify your luggage, please be sure to use the enclosed luggage tag and clearly complete your name and contact details. If you prefer to have your bag with you immediately upon checking in to your hotel room please wait near the bus as the driver and porters unload the luggage so you can identify your baggage and bring it with you to your room.
O Cebreiro, Spain
Size allowances for Checked Bags:
Length + Width + Height = 158cm./62in.
Economy Class: 1 piece at 23kg. / 50lb.
Business Class: 2 pieces at 32kg. / 70lb. each
First Class: 3 pieces at 32kg. / 70lb. each
Size allowances for Carry-on Bags:
Length + Width + Height = 106cm./42in.
Weight : 1 piece at 8kg./17lbs.
You are also permitted one personal item to carry onto the plane such as a purse, laptop, briefcase, etc.
Important Items & Valuables
Carry your passport, trip documents and money on your person but not all in the same place to limit the inconvenience in case of loss. Do not keep money, important documents, medicines or jewelry in your suitcase. Please leave valuable jewelry at home. We recommend a “neck safe” worn inside your clothes while touring. At all times please be as vigilant as you would in any major city, especially in crowded places. Never leave your bag unattended or out of sight in public areas, including airports, hotel lobbies, or dining rooms.
Be sure to keep ALL medications in your carry-on bag during your trip in case your suit case should be lost. Keep a separate list of important numbers (i.e. credit cards) in your luggage, together with a photo copies of your passport/visas.
Bringing Liquids in your Carry-on Bags
For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov
About the 3 - 1 - 1 Rule for Liquids in your Carry-on Bag
3 ounce bottle or less
1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
1 bag per passenger screened on its own
Consolidate bottles into one bag and X-ray separately from your carry-on bags to speed screening. Be prepared; each time the TSA must search a carry-on to locate liquids it slows down the line. Practicing 3 - 1 - 1 will ensure a faster and easier checkpoint experience.
**Remember, you can put liquids of any size in your checked baggage.
Important to Note about the 3-1-1 Rule...
Larger containers that are partially-full are not allowed, Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top, such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. To ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers, items greater than 3 ounces of the following are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities:
*Baby formula, breast milk, and juice for infants and toddlers
*All prescription & over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, & aerosols) including eye drops & saline solution for medical purposes
*Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition (a doctor’s note is required)
*Items used to augment the body for medical/cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras containing gels, or other liquids
*Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool medically related items, such as medicines, used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions
You are allowed reasonable amounts over 3 ounces of the above items in your carry-on baggage, but you will need to perform the following:
*Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your zip-top bag
*Declare you have the items to one of the Security Officers at security checkpoint
*Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray.
Any liquid, gel or aerosol, such as coffee or soda, purchased in the secure area beyond the security checkpoint is allowed aboard your plane. Please note that if you have a layover and are re-screened at your connecting airport, the above rules will be applied.
Airline Regulations for Baggage
For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov
|All Make-up - You are allowed to carry any liquid/gel/cream make-up item provided that the container is up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule.
*mascara, chap stick, lip gloss, etc are all considered liquids.
|Safety Razors - includes disposable razors.
|Saline solution - You are allowed to carry up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. Volumes greater must be declared to the Security Officer.
|Tweezers & Scissors - plastic or metal with blunt tips or metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches in length.
|Shampoos & Conditioners - must be in 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag
|Toothpaste - 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag
|Umbrellas- allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed.
|Walking Canes - allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed.
|Camcorders & Camera Equipment - the checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film in camera equipment. We recommend that you pack undeveloped film in your carry-on baggage.
|Laptop Computers, Mobile Phones, Pagers, PDA
|Beverages - from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in containers LARGER than 3 oz.
|Beverages - from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in a 3 oz. or smaller container and in your quart-size bag.
|Beverages - purchased after security screening
|Medications, baby formula/food, breast milk, & juice - allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3 oz and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint.
|Canned or jarred goods - such as soup, sauces, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables and jellies (3 oz. or smaller container)
|Cheese - in pressurized containers (3 oz. or smaller container)
|Duty free alcohol and other items (some restrictions apply)
About Europe & Travel Abroad
The official language of Spain is Spanish.
The average temperature in Spain during October is as follows:
Daytime Average: 66 oF | Nighttime Average: 50 oF
The average temperature in Spain during November is as follows:
Daytime Average: 56 oF | Nighttime Average: 42 oF
Useful Spanish Phrases:
|Must Know Travel Terms
||Common Spanish Phrases
|Do you speak English?
||Você fala Inglês?
||“vo-say fala ing-less”
|Can you help me?
||Podes me ajudar?
||“po-dess mee a-ju-dar”
|I don't understand
||Eu não entendo.
||“e-u nau in-ten-du”
|How much is it?
||Onde e o?
||“own-de eh oh”
||Táxi por favor
||“taxi pur fa-vour”
|Where is the emergency hospital?
||Onde e o pronto socorro?
||own-de eh oh prone-to soak-oro”
Santiago de Compostela
Hotel rooms may be smaller than you are used to based on American standards. All rooms are comfortably appointed and offer a private bathroom. Mini-bar items and access to pay TV channels are at your own expense. King size beds are rare in Europe, so couples should anticipate queen size beds in most hotels. Travelers sharing a room with a friend (non-spouse) will have two twin beds in their hotel rooms. In some hotels, key cards operate the room’s lighting system and/or the elevator. All hotels offer a hair dryer in the bathrooms. Most hotels provide toiletries (shampoo, soap, lotion), and we strongly recommend that you bring an adequate supply of conditioner with you. It is also not customary for hotels to provide washcloths.
The voltage used is 220 volts AC, single phase 50 cycles (the U.S. uses 110/120 volts). Unless you use a high quality electric current converter, the heavier voltage will burn out electrical equipment you wish to use abroad. You will need to purchase a converter and an international adapter. The international adapter connects to the converter so plug will connect to the converter which will connect to the adapter. The adapter is a specific plug which is utilized throughout the tour. Adapter/converter kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased. Buying electrical devices in foreign places is not recommended unless you are sure the current they use is compatible with the current at home. It will likely cost you more than the original price to have an appliance converted.
Weights and Measures:
The metric system is used exclusively throughout Europe. A kilometer is a bit over 1/2 mile (.62 miles). A kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.
You may bring your cellular phone, but make sure to contact your wireless phone provider and inform them that you will be traveling overseas. Most have an "international plan" that you should sign up for. This will allow you to make calls to the United States while you are out of the country using your wireless phone. You can also check with your carrier for the exact rates in the countries where you'll be traveling. Travelers need to be especially careful of cell phone data charges. The rates for data are far more expensive than for roaming voice calls and text messages. If your cell phone has a data plan, be sure to turn data roaming "OFF" to avoid these potentially high fees.
Calling Europe from the USA: If your family wishes to call you during the pilgrimage from within the US, you must first dial 011, then then the country code 34 (when dialing Spain, for example), which is followed by the area code, followed by the telephone number.
Calling the USA from Europe: To make a direct international call, first dial 00, listen for the tone, and then slowly dial the country code (1 for the US and Canada, just like at home), the area code, and the local number.
Known as WC, are available in most tourist locations. Be prepared with tissues in your pocket at all times. Also, be aware that some public toilets are attended by workers who ask for a small “user's fee.”
You will be walking mostly on country roads & dirt roads. Pease make sure to have 2 good pair of walking shoes ( Hiking Boots or Sneakers).
If using a digital camera, we recommend you bring an extra memory card and batteries (just in case) as they are considerably more expensive outside of the US.
Be wary of any person approaching you offering unofficial taxi services. If you do not have an airport transfer included and you need transportation, make your way to the official taxi desk or to the regular taxi line outside the terminal. Choose only those vehicles with a meter and a taxi sign. If there is no meter, we recommend you pre-negotiate and agree on the fare, before you get into the cab.
Local Customs / Social Conventions:
A different way of life in some countries may take you by surprise, but if you travel with an open mind and respect local customs, you should find it easy to adapt to and enjoy your new surroundings. Standards of living may not be quite what you are used to, but there are compensations – a closer sense of reality and an authentic feeling of locale. Due to cultural differences you may not be greeted quite as cheerfully as back home; smiling is generally reserved for intimate friends. Be especially wary of people presenting themselves as “instant friends” and never accept food or drink from strangers.
Breakfast will be served in our hotel’s main dining room throughout the trip, and will be buffet style. Dinners will be at a local restaurant or your hotel. Please plan to enjoy your dinners around 7:00 pm each day. Unlike in the US, it is frowned upon to take food out of the dinning room. Most dinners will be served "sit down" with a pre-determined 3-4 course meal. Your meals include mineral water and wine.
While some restaurants may be able to provide for a special diet, such as vegetarian or sodium-free, there is no way for us to guarantee this. Please note, vegetarian meals tend to lack variety and imagination.
While most local tap water will not hurt you, due to differences in mineral and micro-biotic levels, we recommend that you avoid consuming local tap water, as it may upset your stomach.
This trip is not very shopping oriented and one is not expected to have allotted time for much shopping, however, while in Madrid or in Santiago de Compostela there are many beautiful shops and you may like to bring some gifts back home. Stores are open daily Monday to Saturday. Some observe a "siesta" from 1pm to 4pm, re-opening until 7pm. Some malls close later in the day and are open Saturdays after sundown. Ask your tour escort for regional specialties products which the countries/cities in your itinerary are known for small, light items that you can easily carry home make splen-did and festive gifts. Don’t forget to buy something nice for yourself too, to evoke pleasant memories of your vacation abroad once you return home. Whenever travel-ing abroad, be aware of your personal belongings when shopping in crowded areas. If you purchase a video or DVD, please check very carefully that it is compatible with your home viewing system. Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is already included on price tags.
Throughout the year, apart from Festivals, businesses are open during the following hours:
Offices: Mondays to Fridays: 08:30am - 1:00pm and 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Banks: Mondays to Fridays: 08:30am - 1:30pm and 2:45pm - 4:15pm
Stores: Mondays to Saturday: 09:00am - 1:00pm and 4:30pm - 7:30pm
Currency & Money
The Relics of St. James,
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
The EURO is the currency of Spain; as of September 25, 2012 the rate is:
$1.00 (USD) = €0.77 (EURO) // €1.00 (EURO) = $1.29 (USD)
Keep in mind that this is the "pure" exchange rate and any form of currency exchange has some fees associated. For up to date currency exchange rates please visit www.xe.com. Please note that the currency fluctuations have been particularly volatile in the last year, so we strongly urge you to check the up-to-date exchange rates prior to departure and prior to currency exchange.
Make sure to bring along a credit card for convenience and security. Visa or MasterCard are the best options, as American Express is not accepted in many stores. Please be aware that Discover Card is not accepted in almost all European countries. You may also choose to bring traveler's checks, however not all shops/restaurants accept them due to the devaluation of the US dollar. If you would like to carry cash, we recommend that you exchange USD at your local bank prior to departure in order to obtain the best exchange rate. It is also practical and cost effective to withdraw local currency using your ATM/Debit card during your trip. Be advised that exchanging money at airports, your hotel or local change booths will result in fees that are extremely high.
**It is recommended that you contact your local bank/credit card companies before departing to advise them you will be traveling so that they do not
put a hold on your cards when an international transaction is made.**
We are frequently asked, "How much money should I bring with me?" This is an impossible question to answer as each person is different. The type of lunches you prefer can make a big difference (restaurant vs. cafe). Are you planning on purchasing mementos for yourself or loved ones? We recommend that the minimum spending money you should bring with you/budget for, in addition to the suggested tips, is the equivalent of $30.00 per person per day. Remember, you can always spend less, or bring money home!
Credit Cards & ATM Machines:
ATM machines can be found just about everywhere in Europe and are accessible 24 hrs a day; most offer English as a language option. Be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Also keep in mind that many banks impose a fee every time a card is used at a different bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more). On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank before you go. You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM.
For increased security, European Banks now issue debit and credit cards that carry an embedded chip.
As part of their anti-fraud measures, you are seldom asked to give an store / restaurant employee your card for them to swipe. Instead if you are at a restaurant, your waiter will bring a portable little machine / card reader to your table with the amount of your bill already entered. You cannot add a tip to the total (leave small tip in cash instead). Your card is swiped and you will be asked to OK the total and enter a PIN. Note: The PIN for this is not the Cash Back PIN. If you have a normal US credit/debit card without a chip, you do not have a PIN. Just in case you do not have or you forget your PIN, just hit the OK with no PIN entered. It usually works.
If you have any questions about your ATM card, check with your bank in advance of your departure from home. Ensure you know how to contact them if you encounter problems using your card. Use your card before you leave home and again shortly after arrival, even if you do not need the money, solely to verify that everything works.
U.S. citizens who have been in Europe for more than two days may return to the US with up to $800 worth of merchandise duty-free. For those who wish to bring more home, a flat rate of 3% duty is levied on the next $1,000 worth of purchases. It's a good idea to retain the receipts from your purchases should they be requested by a Customs Inspector upon your return to the US. For details visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website: www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel
An ideal program for frequent travelers
Value Added Tax (VAT) Refund:
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a form of indirect tax applied to the value added at each stage of production (primary, manufacturing, wholesale and retail). This tax is much like the sales tax in the US. Tourists who purchase goods worth 35 Euro or more are entitled to a discount of at least 5% on the purchase price plus a VAT refund. There is 20% value added tax on most goods and services in Europe. At retail stores, this tax is already included in the price. Upon making a purchase of 175 Euro or more at a gift store that has an agreement with VAT authorities, you should fill out a form at the store and have it stamped there. You will be eligible, upon presenting the form and the item, for a 20% refund at the airport prior to departure. Do not pack these gift items in your luggage, but should be kept in your hand luggage. Tourist services, such as hotel accommodations and meals taken in hotels, paid with foreign currency are exempt from VAT tax.
VAT refunds, if applicable, may sometimes take up to three (3) months to process. If you pay with local currency, there will be no VAT refund. In order to acquire a VAT refund, the following procedure must be followed:
*Look for the “tax refund” sticker on the business door or publication
*Ask for a VAT refund invoice from the sales clerk.
*At the airport VAT desk, show the original receipt, the VAT tax form, and the goods you have purchased.
*At the end of the procedure, you will receive a check drawn in your favor which may be cashed that same day
*On each purchase exceeding $200 (including VAT), the VAT will be refunded upon presentation of the invoice at the port of departure
Tips are an important part of earnings for your guide and bus driver. Although you should tip according to your discretion and satisfaction, we recommend that you bring $125. (equivalent of 99 EUROs) per person and place in tip envelopes (included in your final documents package) .
*Tour escort who is with you throughout your tour or for the whole day should be tipped approx. EUR 8 per person per day (depending on level of satisfaction)
*Bus driver EUR 4 per person per day (depending on level of satisfaction)
It is suggested to provide the tour escort and the bus driver their tip money the day prior to your return.
*Spiritual Director/ Your Priest: Gift or donation to the Spiritual Director is at your own discretion. Restaurants, hotel staff, luggage handler and bell boy tips are included in your package price. No additional tips should be given.
“What If” & Commonly Asked Questions
What should I do if my flight is cancelled or delayed?
If your flight is cancelled or delayed it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights or protection. Please note that once your tickets have been issued or you have check-in for your flights, 206 Tours can no longer make any changes to your flight itinerary. This can ONLY be done by the airlines. In such case, remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so be persistent. However, it is important to remember that it is not the airline agents fault, so try your best to remain courteous to them, as you may find that you receive more assistance this way.
Please be advise that the airlines are not required to offer reimbursement for personal expense or overnights when delays/cancellations occur due to weather. We strongly recommend the purchase of Traveler's Insurance for this reason (www.206tours.com/insurance). However, if you find that you have no luck with the airline personnel, please contact your emergency number and we shall do all in our power to assist you.
What should I do if I miss my flight due to late arrival at the airport?
If you should miss your flight, due to your own late arrival at your departure airport, it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $250 per person) for such changes. Please note that you should contact your emergency contact number once your alternate arrangements have been made so that we may arrange for a private transfer (at your expense) if necessary.
What happens if I miss my group transfer upon arrival?
If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed you will probably miss the group transfer which is included in your package. In such circumstances you will need to pay for your separate private transfer, which you may submit a claim to the airlines for reimbursement upon your return to the USA. We will do all possible to arrange for a private transfer to meet you upon your arrival (if we are aware of your misconnection/arrival flight), however, you will be responsible to remit payment to your driver upon drop off at your destination.
What if I have a problem or complaint during my trip?
If you have any problems, concerns, or complaints during your trip, please communicate them IMMEDIATELY to your tour guide. Your tour guide is at your disposal to assist you with all your needs including issues with your hotel room, meals, etc. Remember, there is very little that can be done to undo a problem once you have returned home, but, most of the time your tour escort can address any concerns you may have swiftly. However, if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction by your tour escort, then please contact our office.
What should I do if I want to change my airline ticket?
If you would like to change your ticket for any reason once it has been issued you MUST work DIRECTLY with the airlines. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $250 per person) for such changes.
Scan this code
to learn more
Airline complaints (delays, baggage) http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov
Airline delays: www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/plaintext.html
Airline seating: www.seatguru.com
Airline tracker: www.flightarrivals.com
Airport security wait times: http://waittime.tsa.dhs.gov
Airport (information, maps) www.airports.com
Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org
Bus and subway directions: www.hopstop.com
Calendar and holidays: www.timeanddate.com/calendar
Calling codes: www.countrycallingcodes.com
Country facts: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook
Currency converter: www.oanda.com & or www.xe.com
Customs (USA): www.cbp.gov
Department of Homeland security: www.dhs.gov
Driving directions: www.maporama.com ; www.maps.google.com
Electric Guide: www.kropla.com
Emergency/Disaster information: www.redcross.org
FAA Air traffic Control: www.faa.gov
Flight delay info: www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp
Flight tracker: www.flightview.com
Foreign Language Basics: www.fodors.com/language
Frequent flyer programs: www.webflyer.com
Health (travel health info) www.cdc.gov ; www.who.int ; www.tripprep.com
Hostels: www.hostels.com www.hostelworld.com
Internet access/hotspots: www.wi-fihotspotlist.com ; www.wififreespot.com
Language translation: http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr
Last minute travel preparation: www.dontforgetyourtoothbrush.com
Mass Times around the world: www.masstimes.org/dotNet/Default.aspx
Passports and visas: www.projectvisa.com
Physical disabilities travel: www.access-able.com
Time around the world: www.time.gov
Tipping guide: www.tipping.org
Tourist offices and embassies: www.towd.com
Traffic advisories: http://traffic.tann.net
Transportation Security Admin.: www.tsa.gov
Travel planning: www.worldtravelguide.net
Travel planning (religious sites): www.sacred-destinations.com
US State Dept Travel Warnings: http://travel.state.gov
Weather around the world: www.weather.com
World Health Organization: www.who.int/eha/disasters
The Way of Saint James
(El Camino de Santiago)
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral,
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
The Way of St. James, often known by its Spanish name, el Camino de Santiago, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the apostle are buried. Whenever St James' day (July 25th) falls on a Sunday, the cathedral declares a Jubilee Year. The next Holy Year will be in 2021. El Camino has existed for over a thousand years and was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times. There is not a single route; the Way can take one of any number of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. However a few of the routes are considered main ones. During the Middle Ages, the route was highly traveled. However, the Black Plague, the Protestant Reformation, and political unrest in 16th-century Europe resulted in its decline. By the 1980s, only a few pilgrims arrived in Santiago annually. However, since then, the route has attracted a growing number of modern-day pilgrims from around the globe. The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 1993.
Today, thousands of pilgrims make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Most travel by foot, some by bicycle, and a few travel as some of their medieval counterparts did- on horseback or by donkey. Many consider the experience a spiritual adventure to remove themselves from the bustle of modern life. The scallop shell, typically found on the shores in Galicia, has long been the symbol of El Camino. Originally, the scallop shell served practical purposes for pilgrims gathering water to drink or for eating from as a makeshift bowl. Also, because the scallop shell is native to the shores of Galicia, the shell functioned as proof of completion. Besides being a practical tool, the scallop shell also serves as a metaphor. The grooves in the shell that come together at a single point represent the various routes pilgrims traveled, eventually arriving at a single destination- the tomb of Saint James. The scallop shell is also a metaphor for the pilgrim. As the waves of the ocean wash scallop shells up on the shores of Galicia, God's hand also guide the pilgrims to Santiago. Most pilgrims have a document called the Credential or "Pilgrim's passport" that is stamped with the official St. James stamp at each town in which the pilgrim stays. It provides walking pilgrims with a record of where they stayed, but also serves as proof to the Pilgrim's office in Santiago that the journey is accomplished according to an official route. The stamped credential is necessary if the pilgrim wants to obtain a Compostela, a certificate of completion. Upon arrival at the Cathedral in Santiago, pilgrims take their credential to the nearby Pilgrim Office and a Compostela certificate (written in Latin) is issued.
A Pilgrim's Mass in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is held each day at noon. Pilgrims who received the Compostela the day before have their countries of origin and the starting point of their pilgrimage announced at the Mass.
The musical and visual highlight of the mass is the synchronization of the beautiful 'Hymn to Christ' with the spectacular swinging of the huge 'Botafumeiro'. The 'Botafumeiro' is the famous thurible found inside the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Incense is burned in this swinging metal container. As the last chords die away, so the multitudes of pilgrims happily come forward to reach the spiritual highlight of the mass- the rite of communion.
Fittingly, there are priests administering the Sacrament of Penance, or confession, in many languages to complete the plenary indulgence. Along the routes to Santiago have walked people of all stamps and conditions: honest pilgrims, convicts, minstrels, beggars, adventurers, tramps, fugitives from justice, bandits. The religious people made the pilgrimage urged by their unrestrained need to visit the tomb of the Apostle and to begin a personal relationship with him. Other pilgrims made the journey in order to fulfill a promise made to the Apostle after they overcame a difficult situation. Among these were those who had been seriously ill, and others that came in search of a miraculous recovery. There were also convicts who made the pilgrimage as a punishment, imposed either by the ecclesiastical authorities or civil judges. But not all pilgrims made the journey for pious reasons, some "pilgrims" sought gain. There were penitents who were fulfilling an assignment, those who wanted to see the world, those who were obliged by testamentary clauses to visit Santiago in order to receive an inheritance.
The first known pilgrim was Gotescalco, Bishop of Puy, who made the pilgrimage in 950 accompanied by his retinue; later the route was to be followed by the Marquis of Gothia, who was murdered on the way; a century later, the Apostle’s tomb was visited by the Archbishop of Lyon. And along these distinguished pilgrims, a growing number of believers of all conditions traveled by the same route.
The Way to Santiago has indissolubly connected the culture, the knowledge and the information. Everything that was said, preached, told, sung, sculpted or painting along the Route was known to more people and places. On account of its influence on literature and art, Compostela, along with Rome or Jerusalem, became a place of worship for Christian society, especially between the 11 and 14 C.
The Way of Saint James
The Way of St. James or El Camino pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried. 206 Tours has been arranging this particular type of waling pilgrimage for the past three years and we are all very eagerly working each and every day to improve what has been in practice for over thousand years.
It was one of the three most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times, the other two are of course Rome and Jerusalem. It is a pilgrimage route where a plenary indulgence could be earned. It is believed that the St. James's remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. The Way can take one of any number of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela.
St. James Pilgrim Accessories
The scallop shell, often found on the shores in Galicia, has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago. Although the scallop shell served a practical purpose for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago to gather water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl, the origin of the symbol dates back to the time after James' death when his disciples shipped his body to the Iberian Peninsula to be buried in what is now Santiago. Off the coast of Spain a heavy storm hit the ship, and the body was lost to the ocean. After some time, however, the body washed ashore undamaged, covered in scallops. The scallop shell also acts as a metaphor. The grooves in the shell, which come together at a single point, represent the various routes pilgrims traveled, eventually arriving at a single destination: the tomb of James in Santiago de Compostela. The shell is also a metaphor for the pilgrim.
The pilgrim's staff is a walking stick used by pilgrims to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Generally, the stick has a hook on it so that something may be hung from it. The walking stick sometimes has a cross piece on it.
You will receive a “pilgrims passport” called the credencial, which is a pass to give you access to many pilgrims places. Although we do not need it, but some pilgrims use this passport to get accommodation in refugios along the trail. The "pilgrim's passport", the credencial, is stamped with the official St. James stamp in each town or refugio visited. It provides a record of where we as pilgrims ate or slept, but also serves as proof to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago that the journey is accomplished according to an official route, to obtain a compostela, a certificate of completion of the pilgrimage. The compostela is a certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims on completing the Way.
The compostela has been indulgenced since the Early Middle Ages and remains so to this day. The full text of the certificate is in Latin and reads:
'CAPITULUM hujus Almae Apostolicae et Metropolitanae Ecclesiae Compostellanae sigilli Altaris Beati Jacobi Apostoli custos, ut omnibus Fidelibus et Perigrinis ex toto terrarum Orbe, devotionis affectu vel voti causa, ad limina Apostoli Nostri Hispaniarum Patroni ac Tutelaris SANCTI JACOBI convenientibus, authenticas visitationis litteras expediat, omnibus et singulis praesentes inspecturis, notum facit : (Latin version of name of recipient)
Hoc sacratissimum Templum pietatis causa devote visitasse. In quorum fidem praesentes litteras, sigillo ejusdem Sanctae Ecclesiae munitas, ei confero.
Datum Compostellae die (day) mensis (month) anno Dni (year)
Canonicus Deputatus pro Peregrinis'
Pilgrim's Mass is held in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela each day at noon for pilgrims. Pilgrims who received the compostela the day before have their countries of origin and the starting point of their pilgrimage announced at the Mass.
The musical and visual highlight of the Mass is the synchronization of the beautiful "Hymn to Santiago" with the spectacular swinging of the huge Botafumeiro, the famous thurible kept in the cathedral. Incense is burned in this swinging metal container, or "incensory". As the last chords die away, the multitude of pilgrims jostle happily as they crowd forward to reach the spiritual highlight of the Mass, the rite of communion.
Priests administer the Sacrament of Penance, or confession, in many languages, permitting most pilgrims to complete the indulgence attached to the pilgrimage upon satisfying the other canonical conditions.
About Saint James (Santiago)
The Apostle Saint James (Santiago) the Greater, as he was called by Christian tradition, was one of the sons of Zebedeo and Salome; his brother was John the evangelist, also Apostle. He was invited by Jesus "beside his brother and immediately after Peter and Andrew- to become fisherman of men". He was one of the apostles that had a close and intimate relationship with the son of God. He accompanied him when he began the propagation of the word of God; he was present in the Mount of Olives when he predicted the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, the complete ruin of the city and the catastrophes that will precede the end of times; and witnessed the last apparition of Jesus in Galilee after his resurrection. Santiago died young, around age 42, beheaded by order of the King of the Jews, Herodes Agripa I, when, in a frustrated attempt to win the confidence of Rome, intensified the persecution of the first communities of Christians.
According to tradition, after the death of Jesus, the apostles divided among them the places where they should predicate, and to James fell Spain and the occidental regions. Legend tells two versions about the presence of the Martyr in the Iberian Peninsula; the first says that he went through Asturias, Galice, Castile and Aragon, spreading the word of God unsuccessfully. During this mission the Virgin appeared before him by the Ebro river, above a column, and ordered him to build a church there. The second version assures that after his martyrdom, his disciples carried his body by boat from Jerusalem to Iria Flavia, in Finisterre. At this point, historic facts and legend merge to obtain a colorful story. Once beheaded, his body was thrown out of the city to feed dogs and beasts, but, when night fell, his disciples took it and carried it to the Port of Jope. Providentially, an empty fully rigged boat appeared. On the seventh day of navigation they arrived at the mouth of the Ulloa river, in Galice. As they put the body of their master on a heavy rock, the rock melted like wax and turned into a sarcophagus.
In the beginning of the 9C the sepulcher of Santiago el Mayor (James the Greater), evangelist in Spain, was discovered. Pelayo, a hermit who lived in the former diocese of Iria Flavia, had a "divine revelation" in the deep of the forest. He sees "altar lights" and hears "angels singing". The parishioners of San Félix de Solobio, at the foot of the forest, announced the event. The bishop Teodomiro went in the forest, found the mausoleum and identified it as the Apostle Santiago’s tomb. At a time when Europe needed to be united, the Route to Santiago was the first element that made it possible.
The find of the sepulcher of the first Apostle Martyr became an unquestionable symbol, compatible with the diverse conceptions of the Christian peoples.
Conscious of the importance of having the relics of Santiago el Mayor, the Spanish Monarchies contributed significantly to the success of the holy route. In those times the Peninsula had a growing need for money and soldiers to fight against the Moorish.
The kings of Aragon, Navarre and Castile made a great effort to attract to their possessions powerful rich people, and to that end, employed all possible means: interchange of presents, arranged marriages and the announcements of the favors dispensed by the Apostle. As the faith in the miracles performed by Santiago extended people began to make pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela in order to obtain his grace.
Prayer of Preparation
O Lord my God prepare my spirit so that, through the intercession of the Apostle James, it may be open to your word, receive it, and put it into practice.
My Lord Jesus Christ! Here I am close to You, brining with me in prayer joys and sorrows of my brothers and sisters as well as the continual happiness and difficulties of my daily walk. Sometimes I lose my way on the path of life, and I don’t know what to do. Frequently I am distracted by material things and am in need of enlightenment. Lord, create in me a longing for You and a firm resolution to never offend You again. Give me your grace to contemplate the path of Your earthly life and to be attracted further by the example of St. James the Apostle. May I wholeheartedly follow You in the path of this life and find in You peace and joy without end. Amen.
Prayer to Saint James the Greater
O Glorious Saint James, because of your fervor and generosity Jesus chose you to witness his glory on the Mount
and his agony in the Garden. Obtain for us
strength and consolation in the unending struggles of this life.
Help us to follow Christ constantly and generously,
to be victors over all our difficulties, and to receive the crown
Santiago de Compostela
of glory in heaven. Pray for us that we may be willing
to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did.
Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were.
St. James, Apostle
chosen among the first
You were the first to drink
The cup of the Master
and you are the great protector of pilgrims;
make us strong in the faith
and happy in hope
on our pilgrims’ journey
following the path of Christian life
and feed is so that
we may finally reach the glory of God the Father.
Infant Jesus of Prague, bless and protect us. (Czech Republic)
Divine Mercy, have mercy on us. (Krakow, Poland)
Precious Blood of Jesus, save us. (Holy Land, Italy, Portugal)
Sacred Heart of Jesus, be my love. (France)
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. (Portugal)
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us. (Haifa, Israel)
Our Lady of Altotting, pray for us. (Germany)
Our Lady of Consolation, pray for us. (Carey, Ohio)
Our Lady of Czestochowa, pray for us. (Poland)
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. (Portugal)
Our Lady of Guadalupe of Mexico, pray for us. (Mexico City)
Our Lady of Guadalupe of Spain, pray for us. (Caceres)
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us. (Washington, D.C.)
Our Lady of La Salette, pray for us. (France)
Our Lady of Laus, pray for us. (France)
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. (France)
Our Lady of Mariazell, pray for us. (Austria)
Our Lady of Medjugorje, pray for us. (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us. (France)
Our Lady of Montserrat, pray for us. (Spain)
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us. (Holy Land)
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us. (Rome, Italy)
Our Lady of the Pillar, pray for us. (Zaragoza, Spain)
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us. (Italy)
Our Lady of the Smile, pray for us. (France - St. Therese)
St. Anne, pray for us. (Holy Land)
St. Bernadette, pray for us. (Lourdes, France)
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us. (Italy)
St. Claire, pray for us. (Assisi, Italy)
St. Elizabeth, pray for us. (Holy Land)
St. Faustina, pray for us. (Poland)
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us. (France)
St. Maria Goretti, pray for us. (Italy)
St. Rita, pray for us. (Cascia, Italy)
St. Scholastica, pray for us. (Italy)
Blessed Mother Teresa, pray for us. (India)
St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us. (Spain)
St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us. (France)
St. Anthony, pray for us. (Lisbon, Portugal & Padua, Italy)
St. Benedict, pray for us. (Italy)
St. Francis, pray for us. (Assisi, Italy)
St. Ignatius, pray for us. (Loyola, Spain)
St. James, pray for us.(Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
St. Jean Vianney, pray for us. (France)
Blessed John Paul, pray for us. (Poland)
St. John, the Apostle, pray for us. (Holy Land)
St. John, the Baptist, pray for us. (Holy Land)
St. Joseph, pray for us. (Holy Land)
St. Jude, pray for us. (Baltimore, Maryland)
St. Michael, the Archangel, pray for us. (Italy)
St. Paul, pray for us. (Greece)
St. Peregrine, pray for us. (Italy)
St. Peter, pray for us. (Holy Land, Italy)
St. Pio, pray for us. (Italy)
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, You have said,
"Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find,
knock and it shall be opened to you"
mercifully attend to our supplications
and grant us the grace of Your most Divine love,
that we may love You with all our hearts,
in all our words and actions,
and never cease to praise You,
Who lives and reigns forever and ever.
(by 206 Tours beloved pilgrim - Brenda Reyes Pulido, June 27, 2012)
206 TOURS PILGRIMS PRAYER
We are Your pilgrims, and are on our way to You.
Anoint us to do Your will as we travel on this journey.
Help us give a hand of friendship and love to fellow pilgrims.
May the joy of your dwelling in us draw us closer to each other and to You.
Give us strength to persevere when we get too tired.
Give us understanding of different nationalities, cultures, wealth, poverty and
mentalities. Give us patience and grace to accept diversity in food, services and people that we encounter.
Remind us to offer gratitude, to our hosts, tour guides, hotel and airline personnel
Expand our vision to recognize Your plan.
Warm our hearts by the flame of Your love, so that we may share it with others too.
Open our lips so that we can speak Your Word and words of love.
Expand our arms so that we can embrace each other and all who need hugs
Speak to us so that we may discern the role that You have for us.
Send us breeze when it gets too hot, and sunshine when it’s raining hard.
Help us to love, pray, forgive, embrace, see and discover.
Help us to remember:
We responded to Your calling to make this journey,
we are Your pilgrims, going towards You and for You.
If we feel lonely, we will remember, that we are not alone,
as with each step we take You are right alongside of us.
And if at times, the road is too rocky, if the weather gets too stormy,
if it gets dark, if our hearts grow numb, heavy, empty, shivering, broken,
then, especially then, help us to remember- how much You love us.
We promise to remember, that You hold our souls.
And always, God, help us to live according to your will.
"We at 206 Tours promise to keep you in our prayers, please keep us and all of our pilgrims in yours. Please encourage others to be a pilgrim, regardless if pilgrimage is around the block or around the world. God Bless!"
General Information About Your Pilgrimage Destination(s):
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Why travel with 206 Tours? Click here to read letters from our clients