Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Way is Waiting for you...
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
May 26 to June 9, 2018
$925 Early Bird until February 28
$995 March 1 to April 30
Daily Mass, wonderful opportunities for friendship, spiritual talks, chance to meet pilgrims from around the world! Bonus: All lodging, breakfast and dinner, ground transportation, group activity and entry fees, trip leaders, taxes and tips included.
Lunches (enjoyed at your own pace while walking), international flights, passport fees, travel insurance (required)
Note about flights...
We allow you to choose your own flights to keep our trip costs as low as possible. The earlier flights are purchased, the better! We recommend checking www.kayak.com, www.skyscanner.com, and www.google.com/flights/ for flight options.
“The highlight of the trip was doing it within a community. I don’t think the trip would have been nearly the experience it had been if doing it with a small group or 1 or 2 others”
Rob | South Dakota
“The Camino teaches humility and perseverance…,you will know yourself better, emerging more aware of your tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.”
Will | University of Colorado
Camino Experience Details - Camino Frances
The Pilgrimage of our Lives
A pilgrimage is a metaphor for and a reality of our lives. As we walk we see how our lives are like a voyage filled with joy, effort, beauty, suffering, surprises, goals, adventure, love and expectation. But our life is not only "like" a pilgrimage, it is in fact a pilgrimage from birth to death; in this world we are only “strangers and sojourners” (1 Pe. 2:11). "For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it." (1 Tim 6:7) We are all pilgrims walking through, and this life, this passage, is the time we are given to reach the eternal goal, IT IS THE TIME OF SALVATION. Let us enjoy the journey, love it and live it! Pope Francis reminds us: “I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street! Jesus, with His Cross, walks with us…!”
Santiago de Compostela The Crown of Northern Spain, Santiago de Compostela has been the integral part of Spain’s Heritage for more than a 1000 years. Since the historic rediscovery of the tomb of St. James, brother of John and Apostle of Christ, faithful Christians have made pilgrimages to the Tomb of the Apostle by the millions over the centuries. It is the end of our pilgrimage, where we will spend 2 days exploring this beautiful and spiritual city.
Madrid Since the 16th century, Spain has been home to the Spanish Monarchy and capital city of Spain. A city of beautiful boulevards, large parks and squares, and home of some of the world’s most amazing artwork (in the Prado museum), pilgrims will get to spend their last day exploring this amazing and historic European gem.
Community and Friendship
“Community,” “deep conversation,” “friendship.” Many pilgrims chose these words when asked to describe their Camino de Santiago experience in one phrase. Others affectionately remember their experience by calling their fellow pilgrims their “Camino Family.” Of course the Camino experience is known as a great opportunity for silence, personal reflection, and soul-searching. But we are made for community, made for encounter, and much of that soul-searching happens in communion with others. Those conversations while preparing dinner, or sipping a hot expresso in tiny village, or helping someone with their blisters (yes, they’re real) may be the ones that help change our lives. Come prepared to live out the beauty of Community in a way that you may have never experienced before!
Creatio’s spirituality is focused on strengthening the four relationships: relationship with self, with one another, with nature and with God. We encourage all of our pilgrims to be open to experience a deepening of these relationships while on our trips. Nearly everyone that walks the Camino de Santiago will say that it is a profoundly spiritual experience, regardless of religious background. Stopping at 1000 year old churches to pray for a moment (or an hour), has a powerful affect on the soul. Celebrating the famous daily “Pilgrim Mass” is essential for all pilgrims, and many non-Catholics join in because of how important this is for the pilgrim. On this Creatio Pilgrimage, there will be many opportunities for Spiritual growth and reflection, led by our Spiritual Guide Father Carlos Keen. Pilgrims will have the opportunity for daily moments of prayer and reflection led by both trip guides, and will participate in the daily Pilgrim Mass at each stop. These are a wonderful complement to the daily walk and the heart of the pilgrimage itself.
One of the most beautiful aspects of a pilgrimage is not knowing where we will sleep each night. Along the Camino, many "albergues" (roughly translated as "pilgrim refuges") receive pilgrims at a meager cost. The hosts ("hospedadores") see their reception of pilgrims as a true mission and ministry, and go out of their way to make pilgrims feel at home at the end of each day. It's truly amazing to witness! Because this is a pilgrimage, conditions may not exactly be 5 star, but basic needs for pilgrims will always be met (warm place to sleep, blankets, etc). Joyous also is meeting and resting with other pilgrims from around the world who also nightly seek the comfort of the albergues for a well-deserved night's rest.
(subject to change) Day 1: Flight to Madrid – Arrive the following morning Day 2: Flight Arrival – Board train for León to view Cathedral; bus to Astorga. Days 3-13: Walking to Santiago (265km / 165 miles) Day 14: Rest / Reflection Day in Santiago Day 15: Return to Madrid via train – Tour Madrid (Optional Return to US) Day 16: Tour Madrid – Flight Back to US
Getting to Spain
Participants may arrive in Madrid (Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport – MAD) anytime BEFORE 12 p.m. (Time in Madrid, Spain) on Saturday, May 26th, the participants will meet at the Madrid Airport (MAD) at that time. Pilgrims will be given instructions for meeting location at the airport. The pilgrimage officially begins at 12 p.m. in Madrid on May 26th. Any prior travel arrangements are the responsibility of the participant.
Participants may plan departure from Madrid anytime after 11 p.m June 9th (you will be arriving in Madrid around this time).. One night of lodging in Madrid (June 9th) IS INCLUDED in the Trip Cost. The pilgrimage officially ends at breakfast on Sunday, June 10th (approximately 10 a.m.). Participants who wish to remain beyond this time are free to do so at their own expense..
Please wait until we have confirmed your spot in the pilgrimage to buy your flights. Please contact us if you’d like assistance choosing flights or connecting with other missionaries to travel together.
All missionaries are required to purchase their own traveler insurance. You can compare options and decide what is best for you, but it should include coverage for medical and travel occurrences. Two options we suggest are World Nomads or TravelGuard. You must send a copy of your traveler insurance card to Creatio.
In addition to travelers insurance, it is good to know what your medical insurance covers in foreign countries. Call your insurance before departing and know what is in your plan. Bring your insurance card with you.
Health & Safety Information
We recommend you undergoing a medical check-up before traveling to make sure you don’t have any kind of medical condition that could obstruct your participation in the pilgrimage. Northern Spain has a very moderate climate and the weather in the month of May is very enjoyable, with temperatures between 50-70o F with a good chance of rain. The most significant difficulty that pilgrims will encounter involves walking the 18-22 miles/day, which can be very physically demanding. Pilgrims are encouraged to build up considerable resistance to walking long distances, wearing the boots or shoes that they will wear on the pilgrimage. Blisters are one of the most frequent challenges of the walking pilgrim. They can be limited/avoided by getting high quality and good-fitting socks and boots. Pilgrims are encouraged to break-in their footwear if they are purchasing new equipment, walking at least 3-4 weeks with the new boots before use. Many pilgrims walk part of the day in boots, the other part in good walking sandals.
Leon and Galicia, Spain: Medical Care in Spain is very good, although slightly less available in the Northern rural regions along the Camino de Santiago. At each of the daily stops there is generally a local clinic and Pharmacy available to pilgrims, many specifically catering towards pilgrims. Medical Care will be within reach along the entire Way. For more country-specific health and safety information, visit www.travel.state.gov for details.
- Passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the final day of trip. Passport must have at least one blank visa page.
Non US Citizens or those traveling from outside of the US:
- Visit travel.state.gov to understand visa and vaccine requirements regarding the country from which you are coming.
- Please contact us to confirm non-US citizen visa requirements.
What To Bring
RECOMMENDED – 1 Backpack Only (30-55L) w/ a small Daypack
- Passport (See “Preparation Items”)
- Travelers insurance card
- General insurance card
- Copy of Passport, ID, and insurance cards
- Emergency contact information
- Money for souvenirs, airport meals, personal items, and additional snacks or drinks you might want (See “Preparation Items”)
- Debit card (and PIN) (See “Preparation Items”)
- Pack to carry all items
- Sleeping bag liner, light sleeping bag, or light blanket (Bed bugs are always possible. There are sprays to treat your bag to help keep beg bugs away if you would like.)
- Water bottle or Camelbak (It doesn’t need to be huge – tap water in Spain is drinkable and readily available along our route. If you do bring a Camelback, also bring a water bottle to use in the evenings.) We will also purchase some bottled water along the way.
- Hiking clothes – Recommendation: Bring two sets of clothing. You can wash one each night. Clothes that dry quickly are best – technical/hiking clothes. Avoid cotton.
- 3 shirts – base layer, we will only need a t-shirt most of the day
- 1 long sleeve/outer layer for chilly mornings
- 2 pairs of pants that zip off into shorts (or 2 of each)
- 3 underwear – preferably technical/quick dry (women – same material for bras)
- 2 pair silk liner socks (See “Preparation Items”)
- 2-3 pair non-cotton socks (See “Preparation Items”)
- Light outer shell raincoat
- 1 set of light sleeping clothes – t-shirt and shorts
- Women – one lightweight long skirt for going into churches
- Use layering system, you won’t need a large coat
- Good walking/hiking shoes
- Sandals/flip flops for shower and evenings
- Toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, travel size items or share) Recommend: Dr. Bronner’s soap or similar – You can use it as shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, etc.
- Laundry detergent or bar (easy to buy there as well)
- Toilet paper – just a small roll for wilderness trail times
- Small towel (highly recommend the Pac or swimmer towels that are small and dry quickly)
- Prescribed and non-prescribed medications
- Pack cover (or poncho or garbage bag to keep your pack dry if it rains)
- One small book – Be very prudent with weight! There won’t be a lot of time to sit and read. (Recommendation: The Way or a similar small book with reflections)
- Bible – Again, be prudent with weight. Travel versions are best.
- Magnificat – We will bring a copy of the Magnificat for every pilgrim.
- Camera and charger – Be aware of voltage difference so bring an adapter or share one.
- Phone and charger – Be aware of voltage difference. Most new phones can handle it. Leaders will carry a phone for emergencies so you will be able to leave your phone off during the trip.
- Gold bond powder (chaffing…you’ll be glad you brought it)
- Small pouch for Passport and personal money
- Blister care – safety pins (2), needle, thread, band-aids, first aid tape, Vaseline, moleskin. Creatio will provide some. You can also buy these things along the way if you need them.
- Watch – not necessary, but handy for meeting times and morning alarms
- Stone from home to leave at Cruz de Ferro
- ***Pack light!! Remember you are literally carrying this on your back for 170 miles (wahoo! J). Your pack should be 10-15lbs, not more than 15lbs or 10% of your body weight
- There are shops in the towns. You can buy pretty much anything you need along the way, especially toiletries. Don’t over pack; you can always replenish along the way.
- Talk among one another (or with leaders) about sharing items – toothpaste, sunscreen, moleskin, etc.
- For indications/recommendations for Hiking Boots, Socks, and other details, please see Preparation Items or email the Trip Guide
Paying For Your Experience
We will confirm the details of your registration and send you an invoice. A nonrefundable $100 deposit is due upon receipt of the invoice to reserve your spot on the Camino. The balance can be paid in full or over time, but all money must be received no later than April 27th, 2018.
If you are unable to go, all money paid except the deposit can be refunded. The deposit can be applied towards a future Creatio Experience.