Latest News: Madrid WYD

We are going to Madrid!

Antonio Harb, Jean-Claude Perrottet, Joel Boneham, Denzel Cavestany, Cronan Yu, Reuben Shearer, Nathan Beard, Clemens Del Rosario, Anthony Healey, Jeremy Tan, Edwin Choi and Nano Zamora are lucky enough to be going, but we can follow their journey to WYD virtually!

A big thankyou to our correspondent Anthony Healey for the latest update.

 

Sunday, August 7

We’ve reached our first checkpoint in our incredible journey: Singapore Airport. I write this from right next to the Hard Rock Cafe of Terminal 3 at 10.34pm local time. All I really have to reflect on is the high quality of the service provided by Singapore Airlines (which included over 170 movies to choose from, one too many cups of Coke, and the blanket to keep as a souvenir), the imminent lack of sleep, as it is midnight back home, the 14 hour haul to Rome to come, and of course the Australian’s dismal failure in the Bledisloe.

And we’ve all been treated to the awesome Singapore food, very cheap and very fast.

Cronan comments on how quiet the airport is, then I reminded him that it is the middle of the night.

On to Rome!

– Anthony H.

 

Wednesday, August 10

Ok – I am in an internet cafe and we don’t have much time so I can only write a few lines.

Having a great time. Seen heaps of Rome. A few interesting stories though. Joel lost his passport on Sat night and so we went to embassy twice Monday and Tuesday to sign forms. We got temporary one today.

Will write more when we get to Spain.

– Edwin C.


Thursday, August 11

Haven’t got much time so update is short and sweet.

Since Sunday, we’ve been to the Vatican several times (including the Cupola and the had a guided tour of the Scavi, where we saw fragments of the bones of St Peter). We visited the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, the Colossem and the Circus Maximus all in one day. Apart from St Peters, we have visited the four major Basilicas of Rome; St Paul Outside the Walls, St John Lateran, and St Mary Major. Whilst all of these are incredible, any of the numerous churches rival even the greatest of Australia.

More later,

– Anthony H.


Saturday, August 13

Today has been an interesting first and final day in Barcelona. Several highly interesting things happened to us. This morning, we rose early to travel from Zaragoza to Barcelona (a two and a half hour trip). It started well, after we had been to a sung Spanish Mass at the Our Lady of Pilar in Zaragoza. A word on churches: not a single church we have been to, whether it be a small church in Rome to a grand cathedral, not a single church is not less magnificent or less beautiful or smaller than the greatest churches in Australia. They are an easy comparison to St Mary´s in the city.

Our trip through the Spanish countryside continued. This is basicallly expanses of dry crops, bordered by low hills topped with modern windmills.

This is us shortly after leaving the airport. Two hours later, we arrived in Zaragoza, and spent the night in the sports hall of a school there, again falling asleep to Reuben´s snores, this time amplified by the echo-iness of the hall. Another rough night and early morning. Today´s road trip was uneventful until we sought to stop at El Templo de la Sagrada Familia (the Temple of the Sacred Family, a huge church in the heart of Barcelona City). The unreliable GPS decided to take us first towards Murcia, which is a city 3 hours south of Barcelona. It then to us to Calle Sagrada Familia, situated half an hour into the mountains surrounding Barcelona, nowhere near our destination. On the way to the wrong place, we clipped a kerb. Bang. Tire gone. Swearing, sweat and grease followed.

Half an hour later, the amazingly dumb GPS then took us on the scenic route back down to Barcelona city. After a while searching for spots to park the big vans (after often ending up in half an hour zone, translated from Catalan, or pointing the wrong way down one-way streets) we arrived at Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia is a century old, and not yet complete. It can be simply described in three short sentences. Coolest. Church. Ever. It tops my personal list of modern churches. I say ´modern´ because it is too different to the ancient basilicas of Rome to be comparable.

Then we caught a train to Nou Camp, the home of FC Barca. Nano refused to enter the ´unholy ground´. We took a museum style tour of the incredible stadium, which I though to be a stuck-up show of self awesomeness. I did get some photos however, before my battery conveniently ran out.

The day ended with kebabs… in Spain. Doesn´t make sense. Oh, that´s right, we´re in Catalunya.

As for previous days, the days in Rome were spent trooping the streets in trams, trains and buses. The city can be described as having white, yellow or orange buildings, with a maximum of five or six storeys, with shuttered windows at regular intervals. The streets are cobblestoned often, and graffiti is plentiful. There are also fountains sticking out of walls, pouring drinkable water. Every morning we spent a few minutes filling up our water bottles at the nearest fountain. Brilliant idea, if you ask me.

We visited the four major basilicas, and many other churches. St Peter´s was astonishing. It took my uneducated expectation of the size and increased it by a factor of two. We went below ground, to see the bones of St Peter in the Scavi, and to the top of the Cupola, to see allllllll of Rome. And we climbed all 512 steps, correct me if I´m wrong. St Paul Outside the walls documented an image of each and every pope, and was also stunning. St John Lateran was lined with statues of scenes of heroes from both the Old and New Testaments. St Mary major had a roof of gold, containing images of scenes from the bible. Pictured are St Peter´s and St Paul´s.

On another day, we went to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Paletine Hill. We all found the historically enlightening and interesting.

You should also know about Mario, the waiter at the restaurant that we ate at all but one night we were in Rome. He was Romanian, working in Rome for two months. He was funny, polite, took care of us well and served great food. I said to him, “Mario, you are an absolute boss.” He replied with, “No, I am not de boss. De boss is de guy downstairs who makes de pizza.” Ah, Mario. You will be missed.

Flying with Easyjet was not so easy. The plane stayed of the tarmac for nearly two hours before take of, because it was ´overweight´. When half the bags were removed (several recognised as ours), to be delivered to Madrid later, and the plane was still not light enough, nine people were asked to leave the plane, to catch another flight at 0800 the following morning. Four volunteered, rewarded only with rounds of applause from the other passengers. The other five were picked at ´random´. Finanally in the air we arrived in glorious Spain two hours later.

Having plenty of fun, we miss you all. See you soon.

– Anthony H.

 

Sunday, August 21

It seems the WYD crew has been to busy (having fun) to send us any updates so we have had to go in search of news ourselves. We found this photo on the website of the Shrine of Torreciudad which proves that they were all still alive and well a few days ago.

 

We also dug up a few video highlights from the WYD Vigil. If you look really really closely you can see them – they are surprisingly easy to spot amongst the 1.5 million odd young people there (lol…joking). There are heaps more video highlights on the Rome Reports website.

Lets hope we hear from them soon.

– Tim S.


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