Spiritual Sojourn to Southern Spain
For Friends an Advocates of Lesbian and Gay Catholics – November 2 -10, 2006
Thursday, November 2 – Day 1 – USA/SPAIN – Today we depart JFK on our overnight flight to Madrid aboard a wide-bodied jet. We are served complimentary beverages, in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft.
Friday, November 3 – Day 2 – MALAGA/MARBELLA – This morning, we arrive in Madrid and connect to our short flight to Málaga where we are met by our bus and tour manager. Málaga, a bustling commercial and residential center with a population of 550,000, is not only the capital of the Costa del Sol but also Andalusia’s largest coastal city. We visit Malaga’s chief attraction, the birthplace and museum of artist Pablo Picasso, and then head towards the coast. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Marbella. After dinner, we gather for prayer and introductions of old and new friends.
Saturday, November 4 – Day 3 – COSTA DEL SOL/ GIBRALTAR –Today we travel along the Costa del Sol south to Gibraltar, which is technically a part of the United Kingdom. We meet our local guide and are taken on a tour by cable car to the Top of the Rock Nature Preserve, St. Michael’s Cave, the Apes Den, the Great Siege Tunnels, and the ruins of the old Moorish Castle. We celebrate Mass at the impressive Roman Catholic cathedral, a converted mosque and one of the first buildings on the Rock. On Europa Road, east of the Rock, stands the Chapel of Our Lady of Europa, also converted from a mosque in 1462. Much venerated and often saluted by passing vessels before the lighthouse was built, the small chapel kept a light burning day and night to warn vessels of the treacherous passage. Today a small museum displays some artifacts, including a 1462 statue of the Madonna. We visit the most delightful Church of the Immaculate Conception (Iglesia Parroquial de la Inmaculada Concepción), at Plaza Constitución, and site of the bullring, Plaza de Toros. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Sunday, November 5 – Day 4 – GRANADA – This morning we travel east alongside the coast to Almunecar where we continue north and inland to Granada. After lunch, we arrive in Granada where we visit the Capilla Real, a mausoleum of the Catholic rulers, and the richly ornate Renaissance Cathedral with its spectacular altar. Begun in 1521 and completed in 1714, the Cathedral is one of the country’s architectural highlights, acclaimed for its beautiful facade and gold and white interior. Enrique de Egas created the original Gothic-style plans, but the Renaissance maestro Diego de Siloé designed the facade and the chief attraction inside the cathedral, the Capilla Mayor, a rotunda circled by an ambulatory. At the entrance to the rotunda is a pair of panels, one depicting Ferdinand and Isabella in prayer, the other by Alonso Cano depicting Adam and Eve. We will celebrate Mass here. We gather after dinner at the hotel for reflection on the pilgrimage.
Monday, November 6 – Day 5 - GRANADA – After Mass this morning we have a guided sight seeing tour of Granada, including its major attraction, the Alhambra, the most exciting, sensual, and romantic of all the European monuments. The Alhambra consists of three distinct groups of buildings: the Alcazaba or fortress, the Palacios Nazaries or royal palace, and the Generalife or gardens and summer palace of the sultans. After our guided tour, we may return to the hotel or explore more of the Alhambra on our own. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Tuesday, November 7 – Day 6 GRANADA/CORDOBA/ SEVILLE – This morning a leisurely coach ride takes us to Cordoba. After lunch, a local guide provides a sightseeing tour including the Alcazar and the Mezquita, the grandest and most beautiful mosque constructed by the Moors in Spain. It is surrounded by the old Moorish and Jewish quarters, which contain one of only three synagogues in Spain. In the center of the Mezquita is the Catedral de Cordoba where we celebrate Mass. We continue to Seville for dinner and overnight. We gather after dinner for reflection on the pilgrimage.
Wednesday, November 8 – Day 7 – SEVILLE – We start our full day sightseeing tour with the Cathedral of Seville and Giralda Towers, the largest Gothic building in the world and the third largest church in Europe, after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London. After celebration of Mass and touring the interior of the Cathedral, we’ll emerge into the sunlight of the Patio of Orange Trees, with its fresh citrus scents and chirping birds. We will see other major attractions like the Alcazar, the Casa de Pilato, Torre del Oro and conclude our day with a visit to the Santa Paula convent where a cloistered nun conducts the tours in Spanish with translation from our tour manager. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Thursday, November 9 – Day 8 – SEVILLE – Free day – Today following Mass at a church near our hotel we are free for personal adventure, shopping or optional excursions. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. We gather after dinner at the hotel for some farewell remarks.
Friday, November 10 – Day 9 – USA – Today we make our way home with memories of a lifetime.