It shows how fast time flies when you realise that Rio was eighteen months ago and yet we are now only 18 months from Krakow 2016; memories from Brazil live on and especially with my colleague James – but that’s another story entirely!
No sooner had the festive season ended then I hopped onto a plane for a whistle stop, 24 hour, trip to Krakow to see how things are progressing, and in particular to put the final touches to our Pilgrim package.
I arrived on 6 January, a public holiday in Poland, and on the same day that the World Youth Day official hymn was released. I was pretty unprepared for the -8 degrees temperature in Krakow and how a hat and gloves would have helped!
The city had a light covering of snow and there was ice everywhere but it was pretty clear that this is typical for the country at this time of year; so everyone was prepared and just pressed on regardless – unlike me as I slipped and slided and shivered like a buffoon.
It was wonderful though to meet one of our WYD travel partners on-site and to see the pilgrim accommodation; I was truly impressed with the quality of the rooms and the wider site infrastructure that has been made available for us. Bring a football as there’s an outside all-weather pitch that we can use too!
The walk from the accommodation to the old city is about 25 minutes and just another few minutes to Błonia Park; both areas being at the epicentre of the celebrations. We don’t know finer details yet but rest assured that we’re well-positioned to access all areas with ease.
We’ve now confirmed that the total cost for the Pilgrimage will be £750 and have a basic itinerary in place; we’ll fully participate in WYD’s Mission Week as we spend as few days in the Diocese of Łódź ahead of WYD proper. This will be a wonderful time to engage with the people of Poland and to share time alongside millions of people for around the world – and of course, to worship with our Holy Father.
Here’s the first phrase that you might find useful in Krakow; and I certainly would have: Jaka jest prognoza pogody?