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DAY 1 - USA/BRUSSELS - Today, we depart our home airport to connect with our overnight flight to Brussels. We enjoy in flight movies, dinner, and breakfast while aloft.

DAY 2 - BRUSSELS – This morning, we arrive in Brussels and are greeted by our Unitours Tour Manager as we transfer to our coach bus for our tour of this magnificent city. Brussels is a heart-shaped city of contrasts. Like many European cities, on one side are tall shiny modern buildings and the other side is "Old Brussels", with its brick shops and houses decorated with ornamental ironwork. Our tour covers the main points of interest of the lower and upper parts, such as; the Gothic Town Hall and the famous Guild Houses in the Grand Place, the unusual Manneken Pis fountain, Petit Sablon Square, and passing by the Royal Palace and Parliament House. Following a stop for lunch on our own along the way, we visit St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, site of a verified Eucharistic Miracle dating back to 1370AD. The Cathedral contains artistic testimonies in the stained glass, which tell this amazing story. We celebrate Mass while there before concluding our day at our hotel.We enjoy our “welcome dinner” and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 3 - BRUSSELS/BRUGES/BRUSSEL - Today, we travel northwest to the medieval town of Bruges, a city that still looks much as it did in the Middle Ages. Our first stop is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where a vile of the relic of the Holy Blood believed to be saved from Calvary,has been kept and venerated here since 1149AD! We celebrate Mass while there and following our visit, proceed to Burg Square, rich in architecture and history and a beautiful place to enjoy lunch on our own at one of the many cafes nearby. After our lunchbreak, we visit the Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde, a centuries old Benedictine monastery along the picturesque section of town know by the adjacent body of water, Minnewater Lake. While there, we admire the almost fairy-tale look of the buildings and the quaint shops. Our last stop before returning to Brussels is the famed Choco Story Chocolate Museum! After all, we are in Belgium! We conclude our day as we return to Brussels in time for dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 4 - BRUSSELS - This morning, we visit to the 5th largest Catholic church in the world, the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which is so large it is home to not one but two museums inside! Designed in a unique Art deco style, it’s construction was delayed by numerous events, including two world wars, causing it to be finally completed in 1971! We celebrate Mass while there and then stop nearby for lunch on our own. This afternoon we travel to the northern side of Brussels to a church considered by many in Brussels to be the most beautiful, the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel and St. Gudula, who is the patron saint of Brussels. Her bones were brought here in the 11th century, with the church starting as a mere chapel in the early 9th century. As one of the early Romanesque style churches, it was rebuilt, and remodeled several times over the centuries and the crypt under the choir is all that remains of the original structure. It’s stained glass and gothic architecture draw the religious and non-religious alike by the thousands each year. We conclude our day and return to our hotel with dinner and overnight.

DAY 5 - BRUSSELS/BEAURAING/LIEGE/BANNEUX Today, we travel south of Brussels to the town of Beauraing, where in 1932, the Blessed Mother, under the title “Virgin of the Golden Heart”, appeared 333 times to five children between the ages of 9 to 15, over a period of months with tens of thousands of pilgrims in attendance over that period. This pilgrimage site was even visited by Pope St. John Paul II in 1985, as these apparitions received the approval of the Church by 1949. We celebrate Mass here at the shrine. Following our visit, we break for lunch on our own before our drive to nearby Liege. In Liege, we visit the incredible St. Paul Cathedral. Though the foundations date back as far as 966AD, the present-day cathedral was begun in 1240AD and remodeled and expanded over the next two centuries. The bell tower and spire were added in the early 19th century, with the last major remodel and expansion happening in 1865 through 1875. We conclude our day with a short drive to the town of Banneux, for dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 6 - BANNEUX/AACHEN (Germany) - This morning, we travel to the site of recognized apparitions of our Blessed Mother under the title, “Our Lady of the Poor”. Known locally as Our Lady of Banneux. In 1933, Our Lady appeared to 11- year-old Mariette Beco in a garden behind the family home, for a total of eight times. We celebrate Mass at one of the many chapels while at the shrine and visit the spring which the Blessed Mother declared “reserved for all nations, for the sick”, promising to intercede for the poor, the sick and the suffering. Following our visit we proceed east, stopping along our route for lunch on our own. Our next stop is one of the best-known Cathedrals in the world, containing the throne of Charlemagne, who made Aachen the capital of this part of his empire. The Aachen Cathedral and treasury are visited by countless pilgrims each year. It is estimated that construction of the first chapel began in 796AD, just adjacent to the palace grounds nearby. Upon the death of Emperor Charlemagne in 814AD, he was entombed here. Because the cathedral has been rebuilt and remodeled so many times over countless centuries, the exact location of Charlemagne’s tomb was hidden. In 1355AD the Gothic choir was added and the over the next few centuries, the cupola, the side chapels, and the steeple were all added. During WWII the Cathedral sustained heavy damage form the “collateral” bombings in the nearby industrial towns. Most of that damage has been repaired but at a cost in excess of $40 million euros! Because of the extensive collection of literally priceless historical artifacts, a large amount of what the treasury holds is only on display for a short time and only every seven or so years. We conclude our day with some personal time for shopping before returning for dinner and overnight at our hotel. 

DAY 7 - AACHEN/COLOGNE/AACHEN - Today, we drive east to Cologne, a delightful city which was started in the first century AD. Our first stop is the incredible “Kolner Dom” as it is known locally, or Cathedral of St. Peter. This is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting tens of thousands each year, which says something of its grandeur. With the two prominent spires which can be seen for miles, it is the third tallest church in the world! The spires themselves are the tallest in the world. Though the original foundations for the medieval design were laid in 1248AD, the Cathedral would spend nearly six centuries waiting for the funding. The building resumed in 1840 and would be completed 40 years later! WWII saw numerous battles adjacent to the Cathedral, but that damage was repaired by 1956. One of the most popular attractions inside is the Shrine of the Three Kings…Yes, “the Magi” are believed to be entombed here! Also entombed here is St. Irmgardis, a wealthy countess from nearby Aspel, who lived in the 11th century and spent her family fortune funding the building of churches, monasteries, hospitals, and other social institutions. We celebrate Mass while there before proceeding to the market area for lunch on our own and some time for relaxation, shopping, or site seeing on our own. We conclude our day with a stop at the famous Cologne Chocolate Museum. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Aachen.

DAY 8 - – AACHEN/GEEL/ANTWERP – This morning, we return to Belgium and travel to the town of Geel and the Church of St. Dymphna. Started in 1349AD, it was not completed until 1510AD. Known for its unique architectural style, as well as the numerous paintings by famed Flemish Masters, it also holds the tomb of St. Dymphna. She was not from Belgium but rather was from Ireland, the daughter of King Daman, in the 10th century. After losing his wife, the king became mentally ill and in his search to rid himself of his grief, convinced himself there was nobody as beautiful as his late wife, except his own daughter, Dymphna. At 15, her nickname was “Lily” so she was known to be very beautiful. To escape her father, she fled with her confessor, a Friar named Gerebern, to Belgium and the small town of Geel. As fate would have it, the mad King Daman found her and ordered Gerebern beheaded, while he beheaded his own daughter in a fit of rage. Though her remains are here, St. Gerebern’s are in nearby Xanten, Germany. Not surprisingly, St. Dymphna is the patron saint of the mentally ill and the victims of incest. We celebrate Mass while there and break for lunch on our own nearby. We proceed to Antwerp, a short drive west of Geel, to visit the Het Steen Castle, known as “The Stone Castle”, which has foundations dating back to the 9th century but was constructed in its current form in 1200AD and completed in 1225AD, as a gateway to a much larger castle belonging to the Duke. Over the centuries it has been both a prison as well as a fortress and now, serves as a museum to our medieval past. Following our visit, we arrive at our hotel for dinner and overnight.

DAY 9 - ANTWERP/BRUSSELS - Today, we start our day at the Cathedral of Our Lady. Begun in 1352AD, construction stopped in 1521AD without it actually being finished. What existed after 1521AD was partially destroyed several times by fire from Protestant uprisings and the French Revolution, which spread eastward into Belgium. In the early 19th century, there were many who wanted it torn down but it was “miraculously” saved and restored, with the last restoration taking place as recently as 1965 and completed in 1993. There are numerous tombs of important figures in Antwerp’s past located with-in, but its the beautiful stained-glass windows that attract the most visitors. We celebrate Mass while there and, following our visit, break for lunch at the nearby Grote Market, where we have extra time to relax, do some last minute shopping, or simply stroll among the quaint buildings. We return to Brussels for one last time and enjoy our “farewell” dinner at our hotel.

DAY 10 – BRUSSELS/USA - This morning, we transfer to the airport and board our flight back to the U.S. arriving later today. Our memories of our spectacular pilgrimage will stay with us forever.