The Apostle of Santiago Festival: An Unforgettable Camino Finish

Photo Credit: www.santiagoturismo.com

photo credit: www.santiagoturismo.com

Arriving in Santiago de Compostela after your pilgrimage is a cause for celebration any day of the year, but can you imagine arriving in time for the festival of the patron saint of Santiago (and of Spain), Saint James?

Patron saint feast days in Spanish towns are a big deal. It is not really an exaggeration when people tell you: ¨the whole town will be there!¨

Think dazzling fireworks displays,  the opportunity to share copas with all the locals, and in the case of Santiago de Compostela, a botafumeiro mass even more breathtaking than usual. These special festivities traditionally take place during the last two week of July. This year,  July 24th and July 25th are set to be the dia grandes, the most important days of the festival, and  Fresco Tours has three Camino de Santiago tours arriving in Santiago de Compostela just in time for the party!

A Kinder Camino     July 13 – 23

200KM A Fresco Start    July 9 – 21

115KM A Fresco Start   July 16 – 23

The night of the 24th promises a glittering fireworks show with the Cathedral of Santiago serving as a backdrop. On the morning of the 25th, the fesitivities move inside the Cathedral in celebration of the mass of the patron Saint James. The botafumeiro will swing high above the heads of the parishioners (one of the largest incense dispenser in the world, so don´t forget to keep your head down!) offering incense and casting a mystical effect on the daily prayers.

Afterwards, you can have your fill of cultural events from folkloric dances and street theatre shows to musical performances featuring traditional Galician instruments. And of course, what would be a feast without the food? Plenty of delicious local Galician fare – fit to feed a saint – will be on hand for you sample and enjoy. And if all that fails to impress you, remember that you get to go home and tell all your friends that you were at a party hosted by none other than St. James the Great.

How´s that for an unforgettable Camino finish?

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05 Feb 2015 in Blogroll, Camino de Santiago, News | No Comments

Cheryl Strayed’s PCT Wild versus the Fresco Tours Way

Fresco Tours, Camino de Santiago

When any book about trail walking reaches the New York Times bestseller list, we here at Fresco Tours are thrilled! And the arrival of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild was no exception. While her experience on the Pacific Crest Trail is profoundly different from the cultural walking tours we offer in Spain, there are a few nice parallels:

 

– Strayed feels called to the trail as a way to meditate on her life and make a clean break with a past marked by tragedy. Many people who walk the Camino de Santiago wish to disconnect from their daily worries and obligations and to start fresh. The Camino, like most hiking trails, offers a slower pace of life with breathtaking panoramas perfect for reflection.

 

– From the moment she steps on the trail, Strayed realizes that she is utterly unprepared for the challenges that lay ahead of her. Yet as she walks, she meets other people who are undertaking the same journey and she is buoyed by their confidence and support. She even makes some lifelong friends. The Camino holds a world of friendly people ready to motivate you, engage in thoughtful conversations, and reinforce the reality that anybody really can do this! By the time you reach Santiago, you’ll find that the strangers your started out with are now some of your finest and dearest friends.

 

– Due to physical hardships endured, poor weather, and unexpected equipment failures on her adventure, Strayed comes close to quitting more than once. But she always gets back out there and adjusts her daily goals accordingly. Walking the Camino is not always easy either. You will have aches and pains, you may get rained on, you might get lost (but not if we can help it!), and like Strayed, you might be in need of new shoes sooner than you thought. However, Fresco Tours is to you what REI becomes to Strayed. We are here to help you on every step of your journey with our expertise and experience and we will provide you with whatever you may need, motivational support included!

 

Strayed tells her story with an innocence rubbed raw by life, which makes it a difficult book to put down until you know she crosses the finish line. Yet fortunately, her path forks off from our Camino in all the right places. We are happy to report that there are no black bears, mountain lions, or rattlesnakes on the Camino. Nor will you be socked in by snow or bowled over by extreme heat. We can’t make any promises about the appearance of a charging bull though. It is Spain, after all!

¡Buen Camino!

Fresco Tours

16 Jan 2015 in Blogroll, Camino de Santiago, Exploring, News | No Comments

20 Reasons to Walk the Camino in April or May

How many times have you been told to “stop and smell the flowers”? If the idea of the Camino de Santiago is to do just that, then there is no better time to set out on your pilgrimage than in April or May.

The proof is in the photos! (And a few cute baby animals are just icing on the cake).

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Want little more wildflower in your life?

We still have spring Camino dates open – check out our tour calendar for more details!

08 Jan 2015 in Blogroll, Camino de Santiago, Exploring, News | No Comments

Leon’s Gothic Cathedral’s Wonderful Stonework!

photo 2As we enter the Cathedral in Leon, we are rightfully amazed by the brilliant display of dancing colors from the magnificent stain glassed windows.  What often gets overlooked, is the beautiful 13th century tympanum as you enter from the western façade.  Here is a close up of the smiling Virgen Blanca and the scenes of the last judgement that we took yesterday during our tour of Leon on our Camino de Santiago Tour.  Can you tell what are they trying to tell us?

 

13 May 2014 in Camino de Santiago | No Comments

Learning how to tie your shoes…

Shoes“Starting on the right foot” and “putting your best foot forward” are often heard by motivators and coaches, but make sure you are laced up properly.

Here is a great post with a few instructional videos of shoe tying tricks to eliminate some of the most common problems – heel sliding around, toes hitting the front of the boot, and the evil B word – blisters!

http://sectionhiker.com/hiking-boot-lacing-techniques

Good luck and start walking and avoid shoes with velcro!

 

 

07 Apr 2014 in News | No Comments

Throwback Thursday – Summer 1999

Throwback Thursday – Summer 99

I found this old photo of me preparing one of my first picnic lunches as a guide on the Camino de Santiago in the summer of 1999.  Wow!

Although I would like to think it was yesterday, it has been almost 15 years and over 100 tours that I’ve personally led to Santiago.

Thanks to everyone for all the great moments – may there be many more buen caminos to come!

Saludos,

Alex

03 Apr 2014 in Camino de Santiago | No Comments

Saint James Sighting in Madrid!

The apostle Santiago el Mayor (Saint James the Greater) has always been a favorite for Spanish painters. The fact that he is the patron saint of Spain, is responsible for the Camino de Santiago and saved Christian Spain at least once has probably helped. So perhaps next time you are in Madrid and decide to spend some time in the Prado Museum, you may feel inclined to pay homage to the saint and do a tour of portraits of Santiago. You may also be surprised that the majority of these paintings in the Prado collection were painted by some of the major names in art history.

Here is a list of portraits of Santiago that can be found in the Prado collection (although not always on display as the museum rotates paintings).

Portraits of Santiago in the Prado

1. Santiago el Mayor by an anonymous artist. Circa 1500. In full gear, he’s got the hat, the staff, the butternut squash flask, the shell and he is holding what appears to be a jet stone rosary.
2. Santiago Peregrino by Juan de Flandes. 1507. He’s wearing a warmer hat, but still is easily identified by his staff and shell. The artist Juan de Flandes was a royal court painter of Isabel la Católica.
3. Santiago by El Greco. 1608. This mystical Santiago without any of the usual attributes is Santiago because El Greco said it was.
4. Santiago el Mayor by Ribera. 1630. This pensive Santiago is easily identified by the shell and the staff.
5. El Apóstol Santiago by Murillo. 1655. Red cloaks must have been the norm as Murillo’s robust Santiago also has one.
6. Santiago el Mayor by Rubens. 1610. Although he doesn’t have a shell, we know it’s Santiago because of the staff.

26 Mar 2014 in Camino de Santiago | No Comments

5 reasons to Walk the Camino de Santiago with Fresco Tours!

Camino de Santiago1. La Compostela: Our itinerary qualifies you for the Compostela certificate upon your arrival to Santiago.

2. Semi-independent tour: You choose! Walk alone with the assurance that we’ll take care of you or enjoy the company of others & your knowledgeable guides.

3. Experience and expertise: Your guides are either Spanish or live in Spain year round. This is our home and we love to share it with you!

4. Van supported: No need to carry a heavy pack – let us do the lifting, while you do the walking.

5. Unique accommodations: Charming restored manor homes that offer the best in hospitality, comfort, and location.

6. Great fun – oopppss, that’s 6!

27 Dec 2013 in Camino de Santiago | No Comments

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