The time I joined a procession.

It costs 4.50€ to get from my house to Salzburg. So I went again last weekend.  I could get used to this! The trip was a bit shorter this time, but it began as a beautiful day. (I live at the foot of this mountain- I’ve been told that cable car is the oldest in the world, and it’s quite famous. You can google Predigtstuhl cable car if you’re interested.)

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I don’t know how punctual German transportation is, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I showed up half an hour before the bus was supposed to arrive, and 45 minutes later I was beginning to get worried. There was a sign attached to the bus schedule that I had completely ignored because, well, it was in another language and I couldn’t read it. Suddenly I thought to myself; “What if this sign is telling me that the bus doesn’t stop here or something?” The little German I do know told me that there was something negative written, but I just didn’t know what it was. So I pulled out my not-so-trusty translator app and typed one of the first words from the sign.

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Oh. Well I guess it’s nothing to do with bus schedules! My guess is that the sign told you not to run out in front of oncoming traffic or something. The bus pulled up as my app was translating so I didn’t have to worry about that anymore.

I was attending a Jazz festival in Salzburg, which is awesome. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to much of the festival because soon after arriving I heard chanting and looked across the river to see a huge procession. Liturgical garb and Marian songs tell me these are Catholics. Now I’ve been in a foreign country for a month now with no contact with Christians outside of attending mass with them. This was family! And I thought this was a great chance for me to meet some people who clearly cared enough about their faith to be walking the busy streets of Salzburg. So I waited for them…

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When they crossed the bridge I saw that it was all young adults! This I did not expect. Even better, maybe I could actually make some friends here. So I casually joined in. Sometimes I make choices and then as I live through the consequences I start laughing at myself because I’ve either done something stupid or hilarious. As we continued through the streets of Salzburg and turned a corner to head towards the Dom, a white ribbon blocked the road and circled the square to reserve the area for the procession. As I walked into the ribboned area, this was one such moment where I realized that I was posing as part of this group and I didn’t know anyone and they didn’t know me. HA!

I attempted to listen to what the priest was saying. But I soon grew tired (as I often do) of trying to translate, and I also realized this would take a while. So I moved towards the outskirts of the group and contemplated leaving. I girl approached me and tried to give me a medal, so I began talking with her. After a few minutes of broken German, we realized that neither of us actually spoke German and both of us spoke English decently. Foreign country probs. They were a gathering of young people from Holland, Austria, and Germany, all together for the weekend. To make a long story short, after about 15 minutes, I’d invited myself to hang out with them that afternoon and was inquiring as to where I could meet them later. We had also been talking about churches that had more young people in them. The girl told me the names of some churches I could attend, and I had to ask her to write them down since I couldn’t pronounce nor remember them. The conversation went something like the following:

There is a website with all our churches listed

Oh? That’s awesome! Can you type it into my phone please?

Proceeds to type web address

clicks on link. 

Oh. Cool! This is great. Ok see you later!

I left that group never to return. Hopefully it wasn’t too abrupt an exit. As I walked away I laughed out loud at how hilarious my life is and that I had just spent at least an hour following, joining, and talking to this group of people. They all seemed so nice and I’m sure they are all great people. But you see, the website she gave me was for SSPX parishes (Catholic fraternity currently in process but struggle of being re-united with the Church). Well. Not reeaally something I’m interested in, but cool. A waste of an effort but a pretty great story!!

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. I listened to some music, watched the men’s rugby world cup semi final match at an irish pub down a dark alley, and left for home in time to catch the bus this time. Twas a good day.

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