Our Pilgrimages

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British Saints

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The Holy Land

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Rome

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Fatima

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The Compostela Coach-Trip

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In the Footsteps of the Saints

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Organised Pilgrimages

The SimplePilgrim goes to
Santiago de Compostela

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Why walk when you can go by coach! I have to say that when I did this, I did feel a bit of a cheat, but not everyone is able, or has the time, to do it the hard way. Watching all the young pilgrims arrive was such an inspiring sight that I organised a walking pilgrimage, and improved my fitness enough to have walked the Camino Portugueses. God does, indeed, work in mysterious ways!

The Cathedral of St. James in Santiago is absolutely wonderful, and attending Mass, and, in particular the Pilgrim’s Mass, is most inspiring. I quite like some of the traditions that have developed over the centuries, such as hugging the Saint’s Statue which is located high above the Altar. There are lots of interesting narrow streets to explore, with plenty of cafes and shops. Some of us had coffee and cakes in the Parador in the Cathedral Square. This was the original Pilgrim Hostel built by the Catholic Monarchs, and what an amazing building it is. It is much too expensive for ordinary pilgrims to stay in though! The local craft is silver jewellery inset with jet, and I was especially fond of the local lace. There was plenty going on in the evening too, with fireworks, singing and dancing. Joy was most certainly in the air!

There are some lovely villages in the surrounding countryside, and it is possible to fit in a beach trip with a swim in the Atlantic. The journey to, and from, Santiago, takes in some wondrous landscapes, ranging from mountains to hot and dusty plains. With pilgrims making the long trek to visit the Shrine of St. James for centuries, magnificent cities have developed along the route, for example, Leon, and Oviedo. Each of these is so full of history, that you could spend some days lost in their Cathedrals, interesting streets, and relaxing with a coffee in the bars.

We did not have time to do this, but there is a Marian Shrine devoted to Our Lady of Covadonga just off the coast road back from Santiago to Santander. The legend goes that during the Battle of Covadon in 722 AD, a statue of Our Lady was secretly hidden in one of the caves, and it was this that aided the Christians to defeat the Moors. It looks a wonderful place, and is set in an idyllic spot in the mountains.

Do take a look at the Itinerary that we did, but you can choose to do whatever you like!

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: Coach from Downside Abbey to Portsmouth. Overnight ferry to Santander.

Day 2: Arrival in Santander, Coach to Leon.

Day 3: Mass at the Cathedral at Leon, short tour, and coach to Santiago de Compostela.

Day 4: Mass in the Cathedral of St James. Tour of Cathedral. Explore the city.

Day 5: Mass in the Cathedral of St James. Excursion to Noia and Muros - beach and old town.

Day 6: Mass in the Cathedral of St James. Proceed to Oviedo by coach. Sight-seeing on arrival.

Day 7: Mass in the Cathedral at Oviedo, with optional tour before Mass. Proceed to Santander for overnight ferry.

Day 8: Arrival in Portsmouth. Coach returns to Downside Abbey.

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