09OCT (Sun). CANGAS DE ONIS – COVADONGA – SAN SEBASTIAN – LOURDES. (Day 7)
This morning our breakfast was at 7AM and at the same time luggage out from our Room 214 of Gran Hotel Pelayo because we would proceed to San Sebastian leaving Covadonga. San Sebastian is a coastal city and municipality located in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. It lies on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, 20 km (12 miles) from the French border. The capital city of Gipuzkoa, the municipality’s population is 186,409 (2012), with its metropolitan area reaching 436,500 (2010). Locals call themselves donostiarra (singular), both in Spanish and Basque. The main economic activities are commerce and tourism, and it is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Spain. Despite the city’s small size, events such as the San Sebastián International Film Festival have given it an international dimension. San Sebastián, along with Warsaw, Poland, is the European Capital of Culture in 2016. The distance between Covadonga and San Sebastian is 319.9 kilometers or at least 3 hours and 35 minutes of travel.
At 8:15AM we were at a cave. This cavern is closed to the sanctuary and is called the Our lady
of Covadonga. At a spot close-by and protected by the Virgin Mary, the Christian troops opposed the Arabs. Providence favored the small, ill-equipped Christians in that battle of 722 and the victory gave inspiration and impetus to what came to be called the reconquest, although many centuries were to pass before Arabic rule was removed entirely from the peninsula. From this beautiful mountainous zone, follow a lovely route along the Cantabrian coast towards San Sebastian.
We prayed in this cavern the Morning Prayer as well as the Holy Rosary and then took pictures. Morning prayer and Rosary were led by Group 2, my group.
After the Cave, we proceeded, to the Sanctuary of Covadonga for our Mass at 9:30AM. We started the Mass at 9:40AM and presided by Fr. Rey Joloro. Frs. Joemer and Bonie concelebrated. The homilist was Bishop Gutierrez who at that time experienced hypo-thermia or chilling because the temperature at that day was more or less 3 degrees Celsius. After the Mass, we went back to the hotel and waited for the bus; left the hotel bound for San Sebastian at 11:16AM.
While the bus was running, bible bullets were distributed and I got this one: “Cast your burdens on the Lord, and he shall sustain you,” (Psalm 55:22). Thank you Lord, for these your words and I cast my worry of Bishop Gutierrez’ situation to you.
What impressed me so much about Spain and Portugal were their road signs. For me, these road signs remind drivers on what to do and what to expect. Their roads are superb. After all, what Spain and Portugal were after was the safety of all. Even pedestrian lanes, drivers stop if there are pedestrians about to pass.
We stopped in a restaurant (Capetore, S.A.U.) for our lunch at 12:35PM. Then left the restaurant at 1:45PM bound for Lourdes, France. According to Executive resources tour guide that we would arrive Lourdes, France between 7Pm and 8PM. But we didn’t pass by San Sebastian and stayed there for several minutes because according to the driver, if we passed by, we would arrive Lourdes, France at around 9PM or 10PM.
In going to San Sebastian and Lourdes, France, we passed by different tunnels or highways under mountains. We passed by Bilbao, Basque country and stopped at a gasoline station (CEPSA) and had our toilet break at 4PM. Then we left this place at 4:27PM bound for Lourdes, France.
We entered the border between Spain and France at around 5:06 PM. The police went up the bus and inspected our passports/visas. And then we left the border for Lourdes, France at around 5:11PM.
The France–Spain border was formally defined in 1659. It separates the two countries from Hendaye and Irun in the west, running through the Pyrenees to Cerberus and Portbou on the Mediterranean The Franco-Spanish border runs for 656.3 kilometers between southwestern France and northeastern Spain. It begins in the west on the Bay of Biscay at the French city of Hendaye and the Spanish city of Irun. The border continues eastward along the Pyrenees to Andorra. At this point, the small country interrupts the border between Spain and France for 63.7 km on the Spanish side and 56 km on the French side. Then it continues eastward to the Mediterranean Sea atCerbère in France and Portbou in Spain.
We stopped at a convenient store for 30 minutes at 6:30PM because according to the driver, we have to. We left the store at around 7:03PM bound for Lourdes, France. We arrived at Lourdes, France in our hotel (Hotel La Solitude) at more than 8:30PM. The distance between Covadonga and Lourdes, France is 526.4 kilometers (5 hours and 37 minutes); between Covadonga and San Sebastian is 319.9 kilometers (3 hours and 35 minutes); San Sebastian and Lourdes, France is 209.3 kilometers (or 2 hours and 16 minutes.
Some of us attended the Rosary and Candlelight Ceremonies of Lourdes, France at 9:30PM.
For more pictures, please see this link: My facebook