Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Italian Pilgrimage: The Adriatic Sea

Could it be that our guide, Patrizia, suspected that we might be getting weary of the long bus rides and non-stop visits to churches on our pilgrimage and might be ready to enjoy a brief respite with a bit of nature?  Or did she just enjoy the seaside so much that she wanted to share it with us?  Whatever the reason behind it might have been, our brilliant guide suggested that we stop for just fifteen minutes to visit the Adriatic Sea.  She said that we couldn't leave Italy without dipping our toes in the waters of the sea.  Needless to say this sea-glass-obsessed beachcomber was thrilled with this news!  I had secretly been hoping that I might be able to bring home some Italian sea glass but hadn't dared to mention that selfish desire to anyone, so visiting the Adriatic Sea was really a dream come true.

But, before we visited the sea, we stopped for lunch at a delightful restaurant, Cafe Soriano in San Benedetto del Tronto, the largest seaport on the Adriatic Sea, which is part of the Italian Riviera. Patrizia has many family connections throughout Italy and the owner of the restaurant was a relative of hers who was able to help Massimo, our skillful bus driver, find his way around this town that was perhaps a bit unfamiliar to him.

A toast with Fr. Bill Miller from Peoria, Illinois, a most kind and holy priest.
Our entire group waiting for the bus to take us from the restaurant to the sea.

Shortly after we finished our delicious lunch we were off to the sea!  When the bus stopped by the beach I nearly ran to the shore to begin my search.  While others took their shoes off to step into the warm water, I satisfied myself with just quickly dipping my hand in and then began my search in earnest.  I found many beautiful shells, a few interesting rocks, a piece of pottery and yes, a few pieces of sea glass!  Paul was sure to rib me about this being real "sea" glass and not the "lake" glass that I find in Wisconsin on the Lake Michigan shores.  I always feel that searching for sea glass is a meditative prayer and this experience was no different.  My eyes were on the shoreline but my heart was on God.

The beautiful Adriatic Sea.

Umbrellas abandoned on this weekday.

A very satisfied sea glass searcher.
 After our visit to the sea we left for Lanciano and at the end of narrow road, trying to make a turn, our bus got stuck!  Traffic was backing up and no matter how many times Massimo tried to back up and start again it just was not going to work.  I was praying to the Blessed Mother to see us out of this jam and she did not let us down.  Massimo finally decided that the only way out of this was to back out and so the bus rode backwards all the way down the street we had just come from.  Patrizia said, "Don't worry.  We'll go backwards to Lanciano.  Everything is possible in life!  And now we're going to Abbruzi, and you know what they have in Abbruzi?  The best food!"  Patrizia was always upbeat, hardworking and confident, a truly wonderful guide!

Just when I thought this day couldn't get any better it was about to become absolutely magnificent. We were now on our way (driving forward not backward) to Lanciano to see the Eucharistic Miracle, my most anticipated visit of the pilgrimage!

1 comment:

  1. What a thrill that you gathered sea glass from the Italian sea! That sounds heavenly. I really miss Italy.