Hello one and all 🙂 I am so grateful for patience that I have forced you to have with me as I retroactively write about my Summer experience. Time goes by so so fast and it is not always the best time to pull out my iPad, but wow have I seen and done so much!
My World Youth Day experience, which was so much more extensive than my speed blog post could offer, ended on the most high note. I had a day to myself because all of my fellow pilgrims were already off to their next destinations and I had a night train to Budapest, Hungary. During this day I picked up my train ticket at the post office in Krakow center, and made my way around town to discover a burger restaurant and an amazing tea place in the heart of the Jewish Quarter. Ironically, the tea place was English/American themed, but the workers were so kind and the tea delicious.
I was able to catch up with my father, and soon after I wandered my way back to the Jesuit Church next to the center where my bags were stowed away with the Jesuit coordinater for the U.S. chapter of Magis. I arrived about an hour and a half early, so I made my way into the church, and within fifteen minutes, a mass started! it began with a moment of adoration, which caught me so off guard but was so exciting (Adoration is when the Blessed Sacrament – the Eucharist – is exposed, and Catholics pray and worship in its presence, which we believe to be Jesus’ presence!). Then there was Mass, 100% in Polish, which is lovely to listen to, but I can’t tell you anything that was said to me.
The best part about going to Catholic services around the world is that they all share similarities, so even when there is a language barrier, I know what us going on and what responses to give and what is coming next. It’s a universal church, and so radical to experience!!
Afterwards, I got my backpackand made my way to the trainstation. My train did not depart until 10:30 pm and got into Budapest at 8 am so I wandered around and ate a quesadilla in the mall that is connected to the rain station. There was a random Polish man who walked up to me with his World Youth Day backpack and started talking to me about the next World Youth Day which will be in Panama! I absolutely plan to go, and he said we could meet in california as he wants to do a month long pilgrimage through North Central America. He then gave me a clay bell souvenir from a nearby Polish town which I have since had to part with because I broke it. I had nothing but wonderful experiences with all of the Polish poeple I have ever met – their spirits are radiant!
My experience with the night train was inexchangable though it was difficult. The train cars are incredibly tiny, like little sardine cans. Gratefully, in my car there was only me and a middle-aged Hungarian man who spoke only a bit of English. I woke up throughout the night to the realllly loud crackling of the wheels on train tracks right out of our window and the group of French folk next door who were having a grand ole time, booze and all. I also was certain that the ticket I purchased was supposed to come with breakfast but I did not receive any – however, it was no worries! I made it to Budapest and would be seeing my mom and cousin in nine hours!!!