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Our 33-day Pilgrimage Review from Tom & Sue

Bon Jour:

Tonight it will be back to “Hi” and English after our trip home.  We can’t believe our “Personal Pilgrimage” is over already.  Although it was an arduous trip at times … the 33 days flew by.

We spent yesterday in the apartment hotel that I had booked outside of Paris and we packed and caught up on e-mails and the like.  I even made veal goulash for dinner, since we never made it back to the restaurant in Krakow to have real Polish Goulash.  It was pretty good if I do say so myself.

Our flight leaves at 7:00 AM your time and we get home around 9:00 PM if everything runs on time. It will take several days to shake jet lag, do laundry and go through the stacks of mail.  But I look forward to that, at home, watching American TV.  If we could stay any longer, we would be back to Krakow. Did I tell you I love Krakow?

Spiritually, this was a very rewarding trip.  And, as we saw so much suffering of pilgrims visiting so many Shrines, we offered up all of our Prayers, pains and suffering for so many people that it made our problems seem small.  We have been blessed to have been able to make so many of these “personal pilgrimages” and see and experience so many things.  We thank God and Our Blessed Mother every day for their Blessings.

We hope your journey with us was as rewarding for you, and we thank you for the Special Intentions many of you sent to us to Pray for, as well as all of the support that we got from your e-mails as we traveled. The back seat of the car was filled with all of you, though … and you were all very orderly.

Our plane from Paris to Philadelphia was on time after we spent a little time in the American Airlines Lounge relaxing.  I tried to spend the last of our EURO but the cheapest thing I could find at the airport was $ 3.5 EURO (less than 4 bucks) and all I had left was $ 3.41 EURO … I was 12 cents short so if anyone needs some EURO, I have some.  Susan and I shared many laughs on the flight from Paris and relaxed and had some fun.  The laughing stopped in Philly!

Once in Philly, we went through customs before heading to our connecting flight to West Palm Beach.  DON’T EVER CONNECT THROUGH PHILLY!  Customs was bad (but not as bad as Miami International).  Going through Security to get to our connecting flight was a nightmare, but we finally got through.  Our flight was late in boarding which was a good thing … the walk/run to get to the other side of the terminal and to our gate was far, far away!

The plane from Philly to PBI was a 1970-1980 “Vintage”.  My seat was broken and I got yelled at twice when we finally were ready to take off 1-1/2 hours later because my seat was not in the “upright position”.  The Attendant finally realized it was the plane’s problem … not mine.

Good thing we were still on pilgrimage because I thought the plane was going to blow up at any time … the engines sounded like they were on their last legs.  (See Last of the Photos).  So I calmly put our “safe flight back home” into God’s hands (thank you, God, for the safe return home).

Sam & Johna waited patiently for our return flight and they had planned to pick us up when we landed.  They were there when we had retrieved all of our luggage.  It was more than rewarding to see both of them after the flight on the Wright Brothers 3rd Plane!

Sam & Johna had stocked up our refrigerator with “vulture” eggs, bacon, English Muffins and all of the goodies one needs when they arrive home after a long trip.  They had turned our water back on and collected our mail for us … what great friends!  They had also brought along some wine, so the four of us tasted it together until it was gone.  Then we graciously “threw them out” because “Jet Lag” had overtaken both of us.  It was almost midnight … almost 6:00 A.M. in Paris.  A long, long travel day was finally over.

On Friday we managed to get unpacked (somewhat), got the laundry done, sifted through the mail and I made a feeble attempt at the supermarket to get a few things … nothing was an easy task with our brains and bodies still “jumbled”.  We spent most of Friday and Saturday in our “jammies” except for Morning Masses to offer our Prayers of Gratitude.  I thought about wearing our “jammies” anyway but decided against it.

This morning (Sunday), we surfaced at our normal 8:45 A.M. Mass and we were very happy to be back at our “Cathedral Home” with so many friends who have followed us on our journey.  Still jet-lagging, we finally returned home after the 10:30 A.M. Mass and have been looking at the stacks of ironing still left to do … while both of us are complaining that we brought too many clothes with us … oh well … the joys of returning home after a long journey.  We still have to unpack some small gifts and the “trinkets” we bought for our “Pilgrimage Shrine” at home but all will be done when we return to normal.

So, as always, I end with a review of our “Favorite” and “Not So Favorite” moments, memories and experiences from this, our “7th Personal Pilgrimage”.  It wasn’t easy deciding on them after driving approximately 3,000 miles during our journey, but we will give it a try …

Mountain Range Driving (Alps, Cantabrian, Pyrenees) (TOM LOVED)
Supermarches – Carrefours (Supermarkets)
Lots of King-Sized Beds and Big Showers
No cell phones, no voice mail, no texting
The opportunity to join the Sisters for Mass in their Monastery Convent at Notre Dame de L’Hermitage in Noiretable, France, reverence the Statue of Our Lady, being invited to join them for lunch and to learn to communicate between French and English.  Meeting Father Jean (Rector), Sister Marie Paul and Sister Susiac “a/k/a Sister Flower” (the happy Nun).
Mountain Climb, Mass & Lunch in Orcival & Olby, France with our Cathedral friends, Brigette & Richard
The “Wine Cellar” in Fougaron with “Be-Be & Bob” at their B&B
The kindness of Sister Patricia Mª of the Trinity of Jesus in Agreda, Spain
A return to Our Lady of Prado Nuevo Shrine (outside Madrid), Florita’s Grave, Father Guillermo and his Parents, finally meeting Consuelo & Humberto,  Mass in the Capilla, the Rosary, seeing Sister Pilar again, “Amelia”, the Religious Sisters and the Senior Residents at “The Ship” in Prado Nuevo and receiving Amparo’s/Florita’s Rosary Beads.
Visiting our friend, Beatriz, at her Hotel Rural la Concordia in Monzon de Campos and having her surprise us with news of her pregnancy … wonderful!
Our 5th trip to San Sebastian de Garabandal, the Parish Church, Father Rolando, Sari & Papa, Los Pinos, Michael & all of the wonderful memories. Our gratitude to Father Rolando for all of his “special kindnesses”.
Meeting Father Robert Witwicki at the Basilique Notre Dame de Verdelais, France and his time and kindness spent with us (although much too short).
When arriving at La Solitude Holy Family Shrine in Martillac, France, we were surprised to be told that a Sister Catherine was awaiting our arrival to show us around.  Just sorry we didn’t have more time to spend with her.
Cracow, Poland – EVERYTHING … Visiting Cardinal Dziwisz, Father Tomasz (our memories  together, dinner, laughs and friendship), the Churches, the Saint John Paul II Experiences, Divine Mercy Shrine, Wadowice, Kalwaria and our driver & new friend (Tomek).  DID WE TELL YOU WE LOVE CRACOW (KRAKOW) AND THE ZLOTY (?????)
Wonderful friends, Sam & Johna, for taking us to the airport when we departed, watching over our home and picking us up on our return.  If they were reading the Trip Reports, they would know that we have thanked them (LOL, Sam & Johna!)
All of the friends … old friends and new friends, that we met along our journey that were so kind and gracious to us … we are forever grateful to all of them.
33 Days of Prayer & Reflection with little interruption and all of the Sacred Shrines we were Blessed to travel to and Pray in.



Mountain Range Driving (Alps, Cantabrian, Pyrenees) (SUSAN SERIOUSLY DISLIKED)
Avis Rent-A-Car in Paris – Aggravation picking up and returning the “BMW” (Not the Mercedes I ordered and extra charges I am fighting)
Finding a Laundromat in France or Spain
It’s lazy of local shop-keepers in Spain and France to close in the afternoons!  I often needed to buy things during “Siesta Time”.  This should be banned (LOL – STUPID!)
Motorcycles and Traffic Jams on Highways
When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there  (only joking).  The receptionists spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish, everything was Spanish.  No one told us that there would be so many foreigners in Spain. (LOL – STUPID!)
Parking Garage in Zaragozza and the $ 350.00 scratch on the “Beemer”
Disappointment that our time did not permit us to stop at the Church of St. Eulalia in Bordeaux and meet Father Didier Monget.  The Church were the father of St. Therese de Lisieux was Baptized.
Arriving at Santuario del Cristo de la Agonia in Limpias, Spain to find it closed again … our fourth time traveling there and only gaining entry twice … that’s too bad.  (But we stayed outside and Prayed in front, knowing that Jesus and the Miraculous Crucifix were just inside the door.
Driving the treacherous roads to get to Our Lady of Lekitio, Spain
U.S. Customs “Welcome Home” Attitudes
Philadelphia Airport, Security and Delays
The “Antique” Plane from Philly to PBIA



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