Saint Joseph's Catholic Church, Capitola Following the Footsteps of St. Paul, Ephesus Turkey, Our Lady of Lourdes and Paris
Spiritual Director: Fr. Wayne Dawson
September 16 - 30, 2018WD091618
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from San Francisco
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Accommodations at first class hotels (or similar) plus Cruise in outside cabins
- ~ 1 night | Sep 17-18, Thessaloniki, Holiday Inn
- ~ 1 night | Sep 18-19, Meteora, Amalia Kalambaka Hotel
- ~ 2 nights | Sep 19-21, Athens, Hotel Marriott
- ~ 3 nights | Sep 21-24, Cruise on Celestyal Cruises
- ~ 3 nights | Sep 24-27, Lourdes, Hotel Gallia
- ~ 3 nights | Sep 27-30. Paris, Hotel Pullman Paris Bercy Centre
- Tour Escort
- Breakfast Daily
- Dinner Daily at hotels and Restaurants ( 3 Dinners at local restaurants in Paris)
- Wine with dinners
- Lunch included during cruise
- Cruise Port Taxes
- Outside cabins (cruise)
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wireless headsets for sightseeing
- Sightseeing and admission fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches & Beverages, Tips to your guide & driver, Items of a personal nature
Sunday, September 16: Departure to Greece
Prepare for your departure and overnight flights to Greece!
Monday, September 17: Arrive Thessaloniki
Upon landing at Makedonia Thessaloniki Airport, make your way to the bag-gage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. You will be escorted to the bus and get to know the town! While in Thessaloniki, you will witness a number of ancient artifacts, such as the triumphal Arch of Galerius that is found at the start of Via Egnatia. This evening enjoy a delicious meal. Over-night in Thessaloniki.
Tuesday, September 18: Philippi - Kavala - Meteora
After breakfast start your journey in Greece with the first stop of the day in Philippi. Philippi was the city to where Saint Paul the Apostle delivered his first sermon and where he established the first church in Europe. Also, it is the site of where Saint Paul baptized a woman named Lydia, the first convert to Chris-tianity in Europe. Visit the Roman Forum where Saint Paul cast a spirit out of a fortune-telling woman. While here, you will have the opportunity to view the prison (now in ruins) of where Saint Paul and Silas were thrown into by the owners of the fortune-tellers. Continue to the modern port city of Kavala, which was once the ancient Neapolis. This port is where Saint Paul, Silas, Luke and Timothy landed when they sailed into Europe. Drive to Kalambaka (Meteora) for a delicious meal and restful overnight.
Wednesday, September 19: Meteora - Athens
After breakfast we will visit Meteora Monasteries. In the eleventh century, there were monks who settled within caves. However, as the occupation of the Turkish increased, the monks were forced to move their settlements higher upon the rocks until they were unreachable by any opposing enemy. These settlements became Monasteries by bringing building, and living, materials by ladders and baskets. The Meteora Monasteries are notorious for preserving not only the Hellenic religion, but also, their academics and arts. During your visit, you will be able to view stunning Byzantine art, as well as the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the Monastery. Continue to ATHENS for dinner and overnight.
Thursday, September 20: Athens Tour - Excursion to Corinth
After a nice breakfast at the hotel we will start with a tour of the oldest city in the world, Athens! Visit the rock that has dominated the panorama of Athens for twenty-five centuries, the Acropolis. At the Acropolis, you will see the ruins of the Parthenon, Erectheum, and Propylae. After, you will ascend Mars Hill of where Saint Paul spoke to the Athenians. At this site, Paul spoke to the Athe-nians about the one and only God (Acts 17:22). While in this city, you will be able to view the ancient Agora, the former public center of Athenian life. As you are in the former political center, proceed for a drive through the city to view the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square. Also, you will have the opportunity to view the University of Athens, the oldest higher education insti-tute in Greece, as well as, the National Library of Greece that holds 4,500 Greek manuscripts. Then, visit Panathenaic Stadium, the beautifully marbled multi-purpose stadium. It is home to the Olympian Zeus, and is the site of the first modern era Olympics (1896). Following your visit in Athens, you will pro-ceed to the ancient Corinth. Under the shadow of the towering Acropolis, Saint Paul lived in Corinth for two years. While here, Saint Paul felt great grief over the way that the Gentile Church in Corinth has become. Following your visit to Corinth, return to Athens for a delicious meal and overnight
Friday, September 21: Athens - Start 3-day Cruise (Celestyal Cruises Cruise Lines) to Mykonos
Following breakfast, you will proceed to the Piraeus port where you will board your 3-day cruise. Your first stop will be the Island of Mykonos, the most cos-mopolitan of the Greek islands that attracts visitors from all over the world. After docking, transfer to Hora, the island's capital. Upon arrival in Hora, you will enjoy a walking tour that will take you on the narrow cobbled streets of the city. Pass by chic boutiques, elegant nightclubs, and white washed houses to arrive in Alexandra. This section of Mykonos is known as the "Venice of Mykonos", as the homes have wooden balconies and are built on the sea. Historically, these homes were of the wealthy merchants and captains. Return to the cruise ship for dinner and overnight.
Saturday, September 22: Kusadasi - Ephesus (Mary's House) - Patmos
After breakfast on board, arrive at the lively Turkish port of Kusadasi. Transfer to the small village of Mt. Koressos. While in this village, you will visit the small stone chapel that is situated upon the site of where the Virgin Mary spent her last days following Christ's crucifixion. Following this visit, your group will walk through the Magnesian Gate to the ancient Ephesus. Begin your walking tour, which will take you through the most magnificent excava-tions in the world. Some of the sites include the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Ha-drian and the Latrians, and the Library of Celsus. The last stop on the walking tour is to the Great Theatre, the largest ancient theatre that had a capacity of 25,000 people and is a site of where Saint Paul preached. On the return of your walking tour, follow the exact route that Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession via the Arcadian Way. This main street runs from the Great Theatre to the main city's harbor. On your transfer back to Kusadasi, you will have the opportunity to view the Basilica of Saint John. Upon arrival in Kusadasi, enjoy free time to explore on your own before returning to the ship. When you embark on the ship, your journey will continue to Patmos, where you will transfer to the village of Chora. While in this island's capital, visit the monastery of Saint John the Theologian. In addition to the stunning main church that contains outstanding frescoes, you will have the opportunity to view the beautiful courtyard, dining room, and the bakery. Your tour continues to the small museum, where you will view priceless ecclesiastical treasures such as books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, textiles, vestments, and jewelry. Board the bus, which will take you to the Monastery and Grotto of the Apocaypse. In this grotto, experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the site of where the Book of Revelations was written. Additionally, view the three-fold crack made by the voice of God who emphasized the importance of honor-ing the Holy Trinity. Your day will culminate with a transfer to the port of Sca-la. While in this quaint and picturesque harbor, you will enjoy free time before returning to the ship.
Sunday, September 23:Heraklion - Santorini
This morning you will awaken and transfer to the largest city on the island of Crete, Heraklion. While in this administrative capital, visit the ancient ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Additionally, it is the site of where Saint Paul met the owner and captain of the ship who warned him of continuing his journey to spread Christianity in Rome. Following this historical visit, you will embark the ship that will take you to the idyllic island of Santorini. Santorini is definitively the most breathtaking island of all of the Greek Islands. Upon arrival in Santo-rini, visit Thira with its iconic white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes, and glittering boutiques that cling to steep cliffs. This evening you will return to the ship for your last dinner and overnight on your cruise.
Monday, September 24:End of cruise! Transfer to the Airport for your flights to Lourdes
Today marks the end of your cruise. Following disembarkation, you will trans-fer to the airport for your flights to Pau or Toulouse. Upon arrival , embark on a scenic drive to Lourdes. Check-in to your hotel and relax or explore before dinner. Following dinner, you will have free time to pray the Rosary and to attend the candlelight procession. (April-October only). These processions are lit by candlelight and guided by the Most Holy Rosary. Following this prayerful experience, you will return to your hotel for an overnight.
Tuesday, September 25 - Wednesday, September 26: Lourdes
Over the next two days, you will wake up in a small town that is nestled within the Pyrenees Mountains. During your time in Lourdes, you will pray and medi-tate in yet another site of Our Lady's apparitions. Our Lady first appeared to Bernadette in 1858, and announced herself as "The Immaculate Conception", near the Grotto of Massabielle. At the first two apparitions, little Bernadette prayed the Rosary with Our Lady and left without any exchange of words. During the following apparitions, Our Lady emphasized God's love for us, pen-ance and the necessity of performing acts of penance for sinners. Throughout your time in Lourdes, you will have the opportunity to attend Mass at the Grotto of where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette; watch a video presentation that explains, in detail, the story of Lourdes; drink water from the miraculous spring that has healed many; and submerge yourself in the healing baths. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to experience Christ's unconditional love as you meditate upon the "life size" Stations of the Cross that overlook the Grotto of Massabielle. Also, while in Lourdes, you will walk in and meditate upon the footsteps of St. Bernadette. Your group will have the opportunity to see Boly Mill, the birthplace of St. Bernadette; and the "Cachot," an aban-doned prison where Bernadette's impoverish family lived. Each evening follow-ing dinner, you will have an opportunity to attend the candle light procession and the Rosary before a restful overnight.
Thursday, September 27: Lourdes – Paris
Today, you will enjoy breakfast before departing for Pau or Lourdes airport for your short flight to Paris . Upon arrival in Paris, visit and attend Mass at the magnificent, Sacre Coeur Basilica that stands atop Montmartre Hill. While on your visit, in addition to the extraordinary artwork and architecture that forms the Basilica, you will see the beautiful mosaic of the Risen Christ, the remarka-ble Grand Organ. Celebrate Mass at the Crypt that contains the Tombs of many notable Cardinals. Time permitting you may have the opportunity during your free time to ascend a staircase to the Dome where you will take in a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Paris. Dinner and overnight in Paris.
Friday, September 28: Paris
Today, you will enjoy a full sightseeing tour of Paris. After breakfast, you will visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, where you will view the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure. Following your prayerful and reflective experience at this elegant chapel, you will begin your sightseeing tour of Paris. After Mass we will walk to Saint Vincent de Paul Church. Continuing our day with a visit of the Notre Dame Cathedral, a perfect example of Gothic art. Our panoramic sightseeing tour via motor coach contin-ues on to the most recognizable symbol of the city of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Pass by the L'Arch de Triomphe, a monument that symbolizes gratitude for those who fought for France. This monument stands at the West end of the Champ-Elysees, one of the world's most famous boulevards and another one of our stops on the sightseeing tour. Your fun-filled, busy day ends with a lovely meal and a very comfortable overnight.
Saturday, September 29: Paris
Today we’ll enjoy a visit to the Louvre with a local guide. The Louvre, which is along the banks of the Seine River in Paris, is the world's largest museum and one of the most well-known museums in the world and contains a number of pieces that truly emanate French art and culture. Later this evening, enjoy a cruise on the Seine prior to our transfer to a local restaurant for din-ner. Overnight Paris.
Sunday, September 30: Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to the Paris airport for return flight(s) home.