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Study Trip

Camino French Way Ultreya Pilgrimage Trail in Spain

Tuesday 16 – Thursday 25 May 2017
Leader: Khun Jumbhot Chuasai, Former Honorary Secretary, the Siam Society

 

An exceptional journey through 1,000 years of history. Discover the best the French Way and Northern Spain has to offer in 10 days. The program was specially created to offer Siam Society members more of the Camino features, by enhancing the Camino spirit, offering better routing in view of seasonal beauty and weather. Stay and eat at the most luxurious and gastronomic places and walk the most picturesque and poignant sections while doing a coast to coast tour on the 16th of May 2017 from Bilbao finishing in Santiago de Compostela on the 25th of May 2017.

We will show you our personal highlights of the French Way and Northern including jewels of Gothic architectures, Bilbao, Burgos, Leon, UNESCO World Heritage sites, Roman and Celtic sites, many  medieval  villages  and  historic  monasteries  with  breathtaking  views. You will stay in some of the best historical monument hotels of Northern of Spain and taste at the finest gastronomic Spanish cuisine.

Because of this we have decided to offer this trip without including the international airfare. The quoted price for this tour includes individual airport transfers, en-suite accommodation in 4 to 5* historical hotels in city centers (for two persons per room), private transport in luxury mini-van or bus and support during the walking days, luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on walking days, emergency support from our local team, all taxes and gratuities for the guides and hotels, all breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches, 6 restaurant lunches and 9 dinners, a Ultreya Pilgrim kit per person, walk between 3 km and 16 km per day, guided tours of bilbao, Burgos, Leon and Satiago, The Botafumeiro ceremony during Mass in Santiago during the 10 days / 9 nights walking programme.

Under the leadership of Khun Jumbhot Chuasai, former Honorary Secretary of the Siam Society, who has walked on this Pilgrimage Trail, The Siam Society once again, is arranging a study trip to visit personal highlights of the French Way and Northern Spain.

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Everyone must arrive in Bilbao on Tuesday 16 May. Greeters will be at the airport to meet each traveler and transport them to the hotel.

Day 1: Tuesday 16 May: BILBAO

  Your driver will pick you up at Bilbao airport and bring you to your 4* hotel in the heart of Bilbao with views onto one of the most famous museum in the world. In the afternoon, the group will gather for a guided tour of stunning Bilbao. We will make a loop from the hotel, around the Ensanche, the Guggenheim Museum and the Old Town, ending with a welcome dinner at Asador Idusi so you can get to know everyone in your  group and start dreaming together about the wonders you will discover over the next 10 days.
- Overnight at hotel Miro 4*

Day 2: Wednesday 17 May: 11 KM - NAVARRA & LA RIOJA - NIGHT IN LAGUARDIA

  After an early breakfast, we will make our way towards the Camino Francés, driving 2h and start walking just 13km outside Pamplona. We will start at the Alto del Perdon, certainly one of the most recognisable modern statue of the  Camino and walk across beautiful vinyards and charming hamlets for about  2h30 until Obanos passing by the unique 12th-century Romanesque Church of  Saint Mary of Eunate with its octogonal facade. We will then skip to the beautiful  & historic town of Puente la Reina, where we will have a typical barbecue lunch.
  We will then have one hour nap in the bus on the way to the famous winery town of Laguardia, where we will be staying in a modern 4* hotel and enjoy a 90 min  spa circuit before visiting one of the most renown bodega of the region.
- Overnight at hotel Sercotel Villa de Laguardia 4*

Day 3: Thursday 18 May: 12KM - DEEPER INTO LA RIOJA - NIGHT IN SANTO DOMINGO

  Today, we continue our journey into Medieval La Rioja along the iconic red earth Trails from La Rioja into Castilla y Leon. Our first stop is the Hospital de Peregrinos de San Juan de Arce, 1,5 km before Navarrete, a town build in the  12th century by the “Knights of the Holy Sepulcher” with stunning panoramic views of the region. You will walk about  12km or 3h30 through stunning countryside and vineyards, have a picnic lunch, before transfering to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, 20 min away.
  Tonight, you will be sleeping and dinning at the Parador of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a magnificent 12th-century hospital near the Cathedral, one of the most emblematic villages on the route. According to legend, the resuscitation of a roasted cock and hen served as a harbinger of an even greater miracle: the resurrection of a pilgrim unjustly hanged for theft, through the intercession of the saint for whom the village is named. Visit the Cathedral where a live rooster and hen keep watch from their pen overlooking the main altar in commemoration of  the miracle.
- Overnight at hotel Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada 4**

Day 4: Friday 19 May: 10 KM - THE CID & THE LAND OF CASTILLA - NIGHT IN BURGOS

  In the morning, after an 1h20 drive into the Meseta, vast plateau in the heart of peninsular Spain with elevations around 700m, where we will walk 10 km between Hornillos del Camino and Hontanas. It is said the Camino Frances has three stages:  Physical, Mental/Emotional & Spiritual. The Physical part happens in the first week of  walking as your body gets accustomed to the effort. By the time pilgrims arrive in the Meseta their legs and back are strong enough to not feel the stain of the day’s walk. But until then the landscape was varied, beautiful and helpful. There was shade, regular towns, water fountains. Once you get into the Meseta it is just flatness, little shade and long distances. This is when pilgrims need to work on their Mental. The Meseta is a time for introspection and a time to strengthen your will.
  We will then drive 20min to UNESCO World Heritage City of Burgos, to enjoy a typical oven roasted suckling lamb in a reknown Asador for lunch and some free time before a 2h guided tour of Burgos, home to one of the most magnificent Gothic Cathedrals and the final resting place of the Spanish national hero El Cid before a light dinner at your hotel.
- Overnight at hotel AC Marriott Burgos 4*

Day 5: Saturday 20 May: 16 KM - GOLD FIELDS OF TIERRA DE CAMPOS - NIGHT IN LEON

  Today, you will walk 10 km in the Meseta through the endless green and gold fields of the Tierra de Campos from Puente Fitero to Boadilla del Camino plus 6 km charming kilometers along a refreshing canal into Fromista, where we will have a quick bar lunch.
  We then head 1h30 west towards the stunning City of León, Capital of the region, where we will spend the night in the fabulous Hotel de San Marcos, a unique 5* hotel featured in the movie The Way. After check-in and a siesta, we will spend the afternoon discovering the city’s historic sites with a guide, including its remarkable  cathedral, filled with more than 100 stained glass windows and have dinner at the Parador.
- Overnight at hotel Parador of Leon 5*

Day 6: Sunday 21 May: 11 KM - ROMAN TOWNS, TEMPLARS & GAUDI - NIGHT IN VILLAFRANCA DO BIERZO

  We have another busy day awaiting us today. After driving for about 1h, we will then  attempt to cross one of the highest mountain peaks of the French Way. We will start walking in Foncebadon all the way to Acebo (11km). Enjoy breathtaking views onto the region and don’t forget to leave a souvenir of your passage, a rock, piece of paper or even a shoe at the Cruz de Hierro - the Iron Cross. Also make sure you have a coffee at the Templar Albergue in Manjarin.
  Once you arrive in Acebo, we will drive you down to the other side of the mountain chain towards the impressive Medieval Town of Ponferrada, where we will have a bar lunch,  while admiring the views onto the last remaining Templar Castle, before heading 20 min away to Villafranca do Bierzo. We will stay and dine in the town’s Parador.
- Overnight at hotel Parador of Villafranca do Bierzo 4*

Day 7: Monday 22 May: 10 KM - MIRACLES & BREATHTAKING VIEWS - NIGHT IN LUGO

  After breakfast, we will drive you up the mountain to the border of Castilla-y- León and the timeless Celtic village of O Cebreiro. With stunning panoramic views of the valleys below from 1300 meters up, the ancient pallozas (circular pre-Roman stone dwellings  built by the Celts of the region) and the rebuilt Romanesque church of St. Mary’s, site of a 14th century Eucharistic miracle, few places along the Camino are as enchanting as O Cebreiro!
  From here we will walk 5 km towards the Monument of the Pilgrim in the Alto de San Roque where we will board the bus to drive us down the mountain to the 100 km marker of the French Way. This is the point you need to start from to obtain your Certificate of Achievement of the Camino de Santiago and you will see pilgrims getting emotional. We will walk 5 km among the other pilgrims in the rolling hills of Galicia across villages with no name and have a picnic lunch before transfering to a beautiful Pazo in the heart of Lugo 25 min away.
  Located on a hill on the banks of the river Miño, the city of Lugo preserves major  remains of its Roman past, among them its ancient wall, declared a World Heritage Site  by UNESCO. Inside the walls, the city conserves quiet pedestrian streets, wide squares and spacious gardens, where buildings such as the Cathedral, the Archiepiscopal Palace, and the City Hall stand out. But  the historic quarter also houses some of the best restaurants in Galicia, where it is possible to sample the excellent fresh meats and fish which have earned Lugo’s gastronomy recognized acclaim. You will have the evening  free to discover this impressive city before having dinner next to your hotel.
- Overnight at hotel Monumento Pazo De Orban 4*

Day 8: Tuesday 23 May: 5 KM - WALK FROM MONTE DE GOZO TO SANTIAGO! - NIGHT IN  SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

  After a 1h20 drive along the last 100 km of the French Way, we walk the last  5km into Santiago de Compostela and finally reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the resting place of the Apostle Saint James. We will start at Monte do Gozo (Mount of joy) which was transformed into an area for pilgrims for the Jacobean Holy Year of 1993 and offers stunning views on the City of Santiago de Compostela. We will enter the Medieval Town through the Porta do Camino, pass the iconic Plaza de Cervantes and a few meters further you will find the Azabachería Door and a bit further finally the Plaza del Obradoiro, the main Square of the Cathedral. Congratulations you have finish your pilgrimage!
  We will then go for a short guided tour finishing with a congratulations lunch in Abastos 2.0, a highly praised restaurant right in the market place, before checking into your  hotel, the Parador de los Reyes Catolicos, on the main square of the Cathedral.
  At 5pm, we will plan a short conference on the importance of the Camino de Santiago and the history of Saint James, Santiago followed by the Pilgrim Mass with the Botafumeiro ceremony in the Cathedral of Santiago and dinner in the main hall of the Parador.
- Overnight at hotel Parador de Santiago 5*

Day 9: Wednesday 24 May: 3 KM - JOURNEY THE END OF THE WORLD - NIGHT IN SANTIAGO  DE COMPOSTELA

  Congratulations, you have made it to Santiago de Compostela. However, there is a tradition to go 88 km further towards Finisterre, also known as the land at the end of the World. So today, we will make our Way to the Atlantic Coast stopping in some traditional villages.
  So today we will drive 1h towards the coast and walk the last 3 km to the lighthouse at the end of the world and have lunch in a typical restaurant in Muros. We will spend the night again in Santiago and we will enjoy a final meal together in Casa Marcelo, Santiago’s Michelin Star restaurant just next to your hotel.
- Overnight at Hotel: Parador de Santiago 5*

Day 10: Thursday 25 May: START OF YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

  A wise pilgrim once told us “the real Camino starts where the Camino de Santiago finishes but I will not be afraid because the Camino will always be there for me.”
  Today, you will have the morning free before we bring you to your departure Airport. We hope the Camino has brought you whatever you were looking for and wish to see you again soon in Northern Spain!

 

Total Walking Distance 78 Km: Duration 10 days/9 nights: Starts at Bilbao, Ends at Santiage de Compostela.

Please book early to ensure your place, as we are limited to 16 spaces.

Contribution:

Bt. 137,500 (Bt. 140,500 for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 14,700.

Booking and payment for this Pilgrimage Trail:

- A deposit of Bt. 68,000 must be made by Friday 20 January 2017 (non-refundable) and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking.

- Payment in full is required by Saturday 1 April 2017. (non-refundable)

- In case the tour has to be cancelled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the payment will be made.

There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes airport transfers, en-suite accommodation in 4 to 5* historical hotels and luxurious guest-houses (for two persons per room), private transport in luxury mini-van or bus and support during the walking days, luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on walking days, emergency support from our local team, all taxes and gratuities for the guides and hotels, all breakfasts, lunches and dinners during the 10 days / 9 nights walking programme, and other costs incurred to make this trip possible.

It excludes international airfares on Bangkok-Barcelona-Bangkok, domestic airfares from Barcelona-Bilboa, from Santiago De Compostela to Barcelona, visa fee to Spain (if any), personal expenses, etc.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Pinthip.