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Welcome to the East Anglia World Youth Day adventures 2016

In a series of regular updates, young communication officers with the Diocese of East Anglia's 80-strong pilgrim group to World Youth Day will report back from Poland. Sarah Mawe reports on the ups and downs of day one.

WYDLogoWorld Youth Day ' Day One, July 20

After what seemed to be a smooth start from our meeting point at St Peter Howard Church in Cambridge, by coach to Luton Airport, chaos reigned when we weren’t sure where to check in. To make matters worse, our flight was delayed due to baggage mix up. Now when we say delayed we don’t mean by a few minutes, no we mean hours! One hour went by, two hours went by then finally, after three hours, we took off.

We arrived at Poprad Tatry Airport in Slovakia to spectacular scenes of green mountains rolling hills, fields and forests. We came into land with a bump and a cheer – hurray we made it! Off across the tarmac we wandered, all marvelling at the mountain range – well I say all – Daniel was marvelling at the tractor. Through passport control and baggage reclaim we went and then we were met by waving flags GB and Polish flags from a familiar face, Fr Adam Sowa who came to meet us at the airport along with Anya our mountain guide.

After toilet stops and group photos we filed on to the buses to begin our journey from Slovakia to Zakopane in Poland. The roads twisted and turned and up and up we went through the mountains.

July20Prayer500The atmosphere on the bus was filled with excited chatter and some peacefully catching up on lost sleep.

We arrived at the La Salette order retreat centre, Malenka Zakopane to more amazing welcomes all the staff who were dressed in traditional Zakopane clothes. We piled off and were allocated rooms, dumped our bags, made ourselves at home and then made our way down to the small chapel.

After Mass ' food – soup then chicken and chips. Hunger abated, we chilled in our rooms until we gathered in our groups to get to know each other more.

Some groups ventured in to town to find a good watering hole others went in to the gardens.

Night drew in and after a long day we wandered back to the centre to cosy rooms and comfy beds for some much needed sleep.

Pictured top, the East Anglia group at Poprad Tatry airport and, above, a quiet moment at the La Salette retreat centre, Malenka Zakopane.

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