Pescara with Nate & Maria Morrison

06.16.2010

Today was just the day I needed right now.  My good friends from Portland, Nate and Maria Morrison, were in Italy too.  They are on a whirlwind wine tasting tour of some of the wineries featured in Maria’s parent’s wine shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Before I left Portland, we had made tentative plans to try and get together while we were all in Italy.  I had a much more flexible schedule, so I touched base with Maria before they left Portland to get an idea of where they might be and when.  It was decided to try to meet up while I was in Castel di Sangro with my cousins.

We finally figured out that it would be best to meet in Pescara since it was easily accessed by train and bus.  It is a lovely beach town on the Adriatic Sea.  I think I might have to go back there again.  It’s also a port town with ferries to Croatia and other points east.

I took the bus from Castel di Sangro and arrived just a little bit after 11a.  I know that people give the Italians a lot of grief about their timeliness, but I have to say, both the train to Sulmona and the busses to/from Pescara were all on time.  I spent some time wandering around Pescara before heading back to the train station to meet Nate and Maria.  It was surprisingly warm and there were clear, blue skies with a gentle breeze along the beach area.  They arrived just before 2p, taking a later train that we had originally thought due to price.  There are  many different prices depending on which train you take, it can sometimes be a ¼ the price if you just wait 30 minutes and take a slower train.

We set out to find a place to have lunch and found a ristoraunte with a lovely view of the beach and the ocean.   I had rigatoni with shrimp in a red sauce.  It was really good.  We had a great time getting caught up on my travels and I enjoyed hearing about their adventures in Italy, too.  After lunch we set out to find gelato and found a great place just off the main drag near the train station.  They had homemade gelato, which according to Nate, is a rare thing in Italy now.  He has developed a method to determining if the gelato is made in-house or if it is pre-made.  This stuff was the real deal.  I had chocolate and coffee gelato.  Oh my goodness!  It was so good…..  We saw they had Illy Coffee.  Maria’s brothers are distributors of Illy Coffee back in Portland, so I always make it a point to stop at places serving it when I travel.  Maria and I noticed they have a frozen coffee drink featured, so we each ordered one to try them.  They were really good.  I hope they have them in the US soon!

It was getting to be close to the time we needed to get back to the train and bus stations, so we headed that way.  We hugged and kissed goodbye and I snapped a picture before leaving.

I can’t tell you how good it was to see familiar faces.  I’ve been traveling for just a little over two months and I have been having the time of my life.  I’ve been keeping in contact with friends and family through emails and Facebook, and recently, with Skype.  I even was able to see my sister when she was traveling through Barcelona on her way to South Africa for World Cup.  While on the Camino, even though I was traveling by myself, I never was truly alone.  Since leaving the Camino, the hostels I have been staying at have not been the kinds of places to meet people.  I’ve met some really cool people in the evenings but no one interested in actually going out and doing something the next day.  So, while I don’t want to say I am lonely, I am feeling a bit isolated at the moment.  That’s why I decided to take more of an initiative with Couchsurfing to meet people in Israel.  Let’s hope it works.