I had a day of rest today. A headache and a very bad night of sleep was cause for intentional grounding. So it is appropriate that today I also share about my day of rest in St. Johann, Tirol, Austria.
Sunday, June 23—It was my 16th day of travel. Symptoms of a terrible cold that had started to work its way through the bus, combined with a forecast of rain, convinced me I should stay back from sight-seeing and take a day of rest.
I had visited Chiemsee, the day’s pilgrimage destination, with my cousins five years ago, so it made the decision to take this day off from travel much easier, admittedly despite a bit of FOMO. My dear friends, Joyce and Laura, left some breakfast for me in my room and said, “Go back to sleep.” And I did. Just like I did today when I realized going to school was not to be.
I slept until 11:30 am (both then and today, so apparently rest was just what I needed), had a simple brunch and headed out to explore the town of St. Johann in search of throat drops and cold medicine. It was the right choice to sleep in and spend some time alone, but by myself I felt an acute sense of homesickness and a little bit lonely. I reminded myself of the importance of balance—of being together and alone, of having activity and rest. This is what my body and spirit needed today.
Having no timeline nor agenda, only tiredness telling me to turn back when it was time to rest again, I meandered the winding streets of St. Johann, along the river, through the town, and across a highway. We had already stayed a few evenings in St. Johann, Austria, the hometown of Fritz Minhard, our tour guide (also five years ago), but had not much time to explore, so this was perfect! FOMO is getting better.
I visited the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary known as St. Johann in Tirol. I was most attracted to a side chapel. Feeling homesick, I lit a candle for my family. The time I spent in this chapel was a paradox of profound sadness and comfort, an awareness that God is present for both.
The walk to the nearest gas station/convenience store was a little farther than I expected, but I found the coveted Ricola throat drops that had been helping, but sadly no cold medicine. I chuckled at the product placement of throat drops and shot-sized bottles of liquor. I could kick myself for not taking a photo, wondering later if this might have been a remedy that the Austrian doctor would have ordered. Back to bed to rest a bit more before the bus of pilgrims returned.
Together, many of us walked to St. Anthony’s Chapel (Antoniuskapelle). Just as we were arriving at the chapel, we experienced the second torrential downpour of the pilgrimage. Trapped in St. Anthony’s, we got a little history lesson, became singing “survivors” and selfie-takers. After some time, we realized we needed a plan. We could not stay overnight in the chapel. Fritz, tour guide and host extraordinaire, got a taxi to his van and then made four trips back to the hotel so that none of us had to walk in the rain.
St. Johann countryside was painted on the dome of the chapel.
The last evening in St. Johann was enjoyable–time with great friends and again…always room for dessert! We prepare to head to Switzerland in the morning!