Today we board our flights to Madrid, with meals and beverages are served in aloft.
Upon arrival in Madrid this morning, we begin our sightseeing tour, which will take us to some of the major tourist sites in Madrid, including the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum, housing one of the world’s premier art collections. We have free time for lunch before returning to our hotel for an evening at leisure. Those wishing to do so are free to browse at the Plaza Mayor or Plaza del Sol, a prime shopping area. Or perhaps you prefer to stroll in the famous park – Parco de Buen Retiro. (D)
This morning we begin our drive from Madrid to Barcelona, stopping in Zaragosa for lunch and a short visit of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. The altar was built in the site where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the Apostle St. James before her assumption into heaven. We continue to Barcelona in time for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
We begin with Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, where Ignatius would often beg for alms. Then we continue by motor coach to view the major sites of Barcelona including Gaudi’s Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family). We will have some time to shop and roam in the lovely gothic quarter of the city. This evening we board our flight to Tel Aviv, where we will have dinner and overnight. (B, D)
This morning we board our fight to Tel Aviv. Upon arrival, we are met by our guide and transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B) Final flight time to be confirmed closer to departure.
CAESAREA, MT CARMEL, STELLA MARIS, CANA, NAZARETH, BASILICA OF THE ANNUNCIATION: We travel via the coast to Caesarea, where the Romans held Paul prisoner. Visit the Roman and Crusader ruins. Drive through the Carmel Mountains heading for the Galilee. In Haifa, visit Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery with the Madonna of Mt Carmel. Continue to Mukhraka where Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal and where the Carmelite Order was started. Drive to Cana, the village of Jesus' first miracle of changing water into wine; here couples may renew their wedding vows. Continue to the Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth where we will celebrate Mass and visit Mary's well and the Church of the Angel Gabriel. (B, D)
BETHANY, JERICHO, MT TEMPTATION, DEAD SEA: We start our day visiting the Jordan River, remembering our Baptism. We continue to the oasis town of Jericho, visit the excavations of the oldest city in the world and view Mt. Temptation where Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan. On the way back there is time for a swim (or rather a float!) in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, renowned for its healing properties. We continue to Bethany where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. In the afternoon, there will be time for you to revisit some of your favorite sites and time for last minute buying of gifts for your loved ones. (B, D)
MT OLIVES, CHURCH OF VISITATION, SHEPHERD’S FIELDS, CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY: On the first day in Jerusalem we present an overview for a better understanding of its geography and some of the key sites surrounding the area. This includes a dramatic view of the Old City from the Mount of Olives, revealing a city with 4000 years of history. From this vantage point see much of what makes Jerusalem such a unique city to the three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We then head to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and to the Church of Visitation where the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and proclaimed the 'Magnificat'. In the afternoon we drive to the Shepherd's Fields where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Then we visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem that stands upon the site where Jesus was born. (B, D)
Today we bid farewell to the Holy Land and will remember our pilgrimage for a lifetime.