To commemorate the World Youth Day 2005. I am sharing the e-mail I sent to my friends after the event. I intentionally did not edit it to keep its originality and more especially its high spirited emotion.
I was in Europe for 3 weeks.
1st week: We stayed in Volkenroda, Germany- a place where only few Germans know it existed aside from the inhabitants in the place. It is surrounded by wheat field. It was Arch. Rosales who committed to the Chemin Neuf community that we join their pre world youth day camping. Some activities were good. Some activities weren’t so creative. So, we tried to escape. We had to walk 2 km or more only to find out that the nearest mall/center was close because it was weekend. hehehe
Food was always bread, cheese, butter, ham, sausage, sour cream, fresh tomatoes and cucumber.
Everyone thought it’s summer (august). No sweaters/ jackets.. When we reached Frankfurt airport, it was already cold and windy but bearable. In Volkenroda, it was freezing cold. Temperature was down to 9 degrees centigrade! We slept in tents. Ergo no heater! Shower rooms too don’t have heaters. ggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! Nakonsensya gyud mga pari coz their accommodation was nice.
2nd week: world youth day – Koln, Bonn, Nievenheim, Dusseldorf —Germany
“Benedicto amigo, juventud es contigo!” Thats a Spanish cheer! 1 million cheerful youths gathered in Germany. The event was poorly planned. There were incidents that we had to walk to the next train station because the central station is full packed. We experienced stampede too. We had to hold hands so we wont get separated from one another. Another incident, the bus’ shocks broke down coz it was overloaded with Indians from famous kerala. Worst, during our last day, we had to walk 3 hours to Marianfield for the vigil. The path was swampy if not dusty. Imagine the exodus in Moses’ time? Thats what i felt! Way to freedom is never easy…after the vigil, we had to walk another 6 hours just to reach the nearest train station. Walking though made me sexier!
It was during this week that we visited Koln Catherdral where the relics of the 3 kings are, Beethhovens house, saw Rhein river and more….. and of course saw PAPA BEN!!!!
3rd week: Amsterdam,Brussels, Paris and Lourdes
We traveled by Eurail!
Amsterdam- windmills, van gogh museum, rik(something) museum. we failed to witness the red light district at night. of course, we had to be holy. 5 priests were with us.
Brussels – centralplatz, manequin pis, chocolates
Paris– we arrived there at 11 in the evening. From the cab, we saw eiffel tower with its dancing light. So beautiful!.. in fact we visited the tower twice- morning and evening. We also went to notre dam, sacre coure, hotel invalides where napoleon’s tomb is, louve museum, rodin’s sculptures, arc de triompe and MOULIN ROUGE.
Paris is very luxurious, romantic and magnificent! i love it!
Lourdes- departure to lourdes: we arrived at the train station 5 minutes before the time. when we reached the platform, the French guy told us to go back coz twas not the right train, we had to ask- run -ask and run again only to find out seconds before the time that we were on the wrong station. ngek! hehehe In lourdes, we drunk the holy water the way we do to ordinary water (im holy now!), attended the processions, visited Bernadette’s places.
Despite the hassles, the trip was worth reminiscing! The theme of the world youth day was appropriate: it was in latin but in english guess it’s “we have come to worship him”. It’s from the story of the 3 magis. They got lost- had challenges on their way to Bethlehem but they simply followed the star. So, they succeeded! they were happy! Just like us!