Saturday, August 13, 2011

Madrid for World Youth Day

I'm currently in Madrid with pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, including 22 of our seminarians and Archbishop Naumann. So far so good. The flight over was really easy, compared to many international flights 6 hours from Dulles. The flight home next weeks looks much more grueling. Lisbon to Munich to Chicago to Kansas City.

Our hostel accommodations are crowded but fine. Lots of arguing trying to get enough beds for everyone, but besides the 'honey who shrunk my bathroom' reaction the rooms are fine and cool and the water hot. Speaking of hot, it's in the 90s everyday so far in Madrid, but it doesn't feel that badly, only 30% humidity. It's feels great in the shade actually.

On day one we pushed through the jet lag and saw the new Madrid cathedral, followed by an evening Mass at the original cathedral where St. Isidore and his wife Mary, one of only a few canonized couples, and the patron saints of Madrid, are entombed. On Saturday we visited the gorgeous town of Segovia, and spent time in the old cathedral, had Mass at a Dominican convent, and then said evening prayer at the tomb of St. John of the Cross, with a visit to a castle in-between.

We're getting the hang of Spain. Madrid is a busy but beautiful and fun city. Only one theft so far in our group. They are night people here - everything runs hours behind our normal schedule back home. We're eating around 8:30pm in the evening, which is absurdly early for the folks here, but with 500,000 plus pilgrims descending upon the city, I'm sure there will be lots of food available at all times.

Remarkably, the siesta is as sacred here as having 500,000 pilgrims. Yes, most of the ancient churches are locked from 2-6pm, with a matter of fact sign telling you to come back later. They assume of course, that you, like them, will be up until 2am everyday.

More later.