True Franciscan Spirit


This program is dedicated to the Spanish heritage of the California Missions founded by the Franciscan Padres in the 1700s who established 21 Missions on the El Camino Real road from the Mexican border to just north of San Francisco.

Day 1: Departure (B,D)

We begin our adventure by boarding our trans-atlantic flight to San Francisco, California. Dinner and breakfast served in-flight.

Day 2: San-Francisco – The Cartwright Hotel (B,D)

After touch down at SF airport, we`ll be greeted by our local guide and transferred to our hotel for check-in and freshening up. In the afternoon we begin our Mission trail tour by visiting Mission San Francisco de Assisi, often referred to as Mission Dolores being located at 16th and Dolores St. in San Francisco. It was founded by Fr. Francisco Palou in 1776. At one time it was a large complex of Indian dwellings with workshops, a tannery, and corrals, but all that is left today is a chapel. However, we enjoy the beauty of the place and its history. Tonight we get aquainted with other group members over dinner with California wine from nearby Napa Valley.

Day 3: San – Francisco (B,L)

Our sightseeing tour includes all the highlights of beautiful San Francisco built on seven hills including famous Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman`s Wharf, Russian Hill and winding Lombard Street, Union Square, and Coit Tower. Of course we won`t miss the opportunity to indulge in a real authentic Chinese lunch in bustling Chinatown. Remainder of the day free for shopping.

Day 4: San-Francisco – Monterey – Carmel – San Luis Obispo (B,D)

We leave San Francisco and head south to Half Moon Bay. We stop at the authentic country store featuring saddles, animal feed, live chickens and rabbits taking us back in time to Spanish colonization. Continuing west we are hugging the scenic coast to the Monterey Peninsula going through fields of artichokes reaching Castroville, the artichoke capital of the world. Next we come to Monterey, famous for its Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, and Fisherman`s Wharf. Driving through the much quieter neighbourhood of Pacific Grove we reach the famous Seventeen-Mile drive of Carmel connecting the 2 towns. Along the drive is famous Pebble Beach Lodge and Golf course. The charming town is home to Super Stars such as Clint Eastwood and Doris Day. With a little luck we might just run into one of them! Our main goal for a visit, though, is Carmel Mission San Carlos Borromeo, established by Blessed Juniperro Serra in 1770. He made it his headquarters and it is here that he is buried. Next we follow the stunningly beautiful coastline of Big Sur going through small towns and rolling hills to our final destination for today: famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo for dinner and overnight. (if accessible we also visit Mission San Antonio De Padua along the way)

Day 5: San Luis Obispo – Santa Barbara – Los Angeles (Hollywood) –Ramada Wilshire Hotel (B,D)

Mission San Luis Obispo, founded in 1772, was named after Saint Louis of Anjou, Bishop of Toulouse. After a visit we continue south along Highway 101 reaching Buellton, home of the Split Pea Soup. We take time to sample a bowl of this delicious dish and continue to close by Solvang, a replica of a Danish village complete with thatched roofs, gift shops, restaurants, and cobble-stoned streets. Following through lush countryside of vineyards and green pastures passing small country-western towns, such as Santa Inez, Los Olivos, and Ballard we arrive at Santa Barbara, one of California`s most magnificent and opulent towns. Surrounded by horse ranches and beautiful mountain range it never fails to stun visitors. Mission Santa Barbara, named “the Queen of Missions” was the first established after Fr. Serra`s death in 1786. The church has been repaired several times, destroyed by an earthquake in 1812 and rebuilt in 1815. Yet, it hasn’t lost any of its original grandeur. After a visit we are on to the greater Los Angeles area to Hollywood for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Hollywood (B)

Today we enjoy a visit to world-famous Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Day 7: Los Angeles – Beverly Hills (B,D)

Our sightseeing tour of Los Angeles includes Santa Monica Blvd., Wilshire Blvd., the Chinese Theater, and Beverly Hills, home of celebrities and movie stars. Tonight we enjoy a typical Mexican dinner with a Mariachi band entertaining us.

Day 8: Los Angeles – Long Beach – San Juan Capistrano (B,D)

We are motoring through the Greater Los Angeles area, comprising a population of more than 16 million inhabitants. You will be fascinated by this metropolis combining an atmosphere of laid-back surf cities as well as the non-stop hustle and bustle of business and enterprise. We take a brief stop at Long Beach Harbor to view the “Queen Mary” and continue via Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach to San Juan Capistrano, still maintaining a more rural character. There we visit San Juan Capistrano Mission founded in 1776 by Fr. Junipero Serra. Formed in the shape of a cross and a bell tower so tall that it could be viewed from 10 miles away, it was named “the Jewel” of the Missions. However, destroyed by an earthquake in 1812, merely ruins are left which are carefully preserved by archeologists. The Serra Chapel, though, is still in use today, the only surviving church where Fr. Serra used to say mass. Each year, March 19 , St. Joseph`s Day, the town celebrates the return of the cliff swallows from Argentina with a traditional Mexican fiesta. Dinner and overnight.

Day 9: San Juan Capistrano – Anaheim (B)

Today we are enjoying a visit to the happiest place on earth: Disneyland!

Day 10: San Juan Capistrano –Oceanside – San Diego (La Jolla) (B,D)

We head south and enter San Diego County with Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside our first stop. It was named after King Louis lX of France who led crusades to the Holy Land in the 13th century. Because of its size, it is also called the “King of Missions”. Being a very active parish these days, the Franciscans often conduct retreats here. We continue further south to beautiful La Jolla for dinner and overnight.

Day 11: San Diego (B,D)

Our sightseeing of San Diego today includes Old Town, Gaslamp District, Balboa Park, and San Diego Harbor.

Day 12: San Diego (B)

A free day to revisit places of interest, go shopping or just enjoy the absolutely gorgeous coastline of scenic La Jolla, the Jewel of California coastal cities.

Day 13: San Diego – Las Vegas – Flamingo Hilton (B)

We motor through mountain ranges, valleys, and desert to Las Vegas, Nevada, famous for its casinos and world-class shows.

Day 14: Las Vegas

Free day to admire the abundantly luxurious hotels and casinos on the strip. Don`t miss the opportunity to see one of the fantastic shows.

Day 15: Return Flight (B)

Tour #950 — 15 Days

Starting from $3380

Highlights to offer

  • California
  • San Francisco
  • Pebble Beach
  • St. Luis de Obispo
  • Universal Studios
  • Disney Land

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