Friday, September 7, 2012

Brindisi, Italy

From the moment I entered the ferry terminal in Corfu, it was clear that my time in Greece had concluded and I had begun an Italian adventure. All around me Italian travelers were crowded together, waiting impatiently like myself for this late night ferry to arrive and take them back home. The terminal doors opened to allow all the deck passengers to escort themselves to the ferry platform, but after making the trek out there, there was still no ferryboat to be found. An hour after the scheduled departure time the travelers began to cheer as our boat floated slowly into sight. The crew lowered the pedestrian ramp and the race was on to find a comfortable place to settle in for the night. I was amongst hundreds of passengers, rushing through the ferry trying to find a place to set up camp during the over night journey. As I began to think that my night would be spent in a cold metal chair in the dining area, or on the windy open deck of the boat, I turned the next corner and found a small patch of carpet. Glancing quickly at the two women sharing the circular couch above the carpet, I looked desperately at the floor hoping that it wasn’t already occupied. They nodded approvingly at me and I threw down my bags with relief, rolled out my sleeping bag and claimed the area as my own for the night.

In the morning, as we approached Brindisi over an hour and a half behind schedule I was concerned that the kind woman I had been emailing with would not be there to meet me. After quickly getting off the boat and hoping on the first shuttle bus I could in order to reach the public port, I was relieved to hear my name shouted from the distance as I stepped off the bus. My new friend, and savior, had waited patiently for my arrival, her only concern being for my safety and having no concern for her own time spent waiting. I knew in an instant that I had struck gold with this kind soul that had offered to take me in. We walked quickly to her home, conveniently just a few minutes away, and she prepared breakfast for us as we sat and chatted about our travels, both from the past and our hopeful plans for the future. She has an overwhelming passion for travel, and was gushing with advice about everywhere I should go, not just in Italy, but in practically every European country. The day was spent at the beach, relaxing after a long journey, and sharing travel stories.

In Brinidis that evening was the conclusion of the festival for San Lorenzo di Brindisi. The streets of were full of beautiful lights and lined with vendors selling all sorts of snacks, candies, and trinkets to be enjoyed. We ventured to a nearby church to participate in the traditional ceremony of recognizing San Lorenzo on his day. My new friend interpreted the ceremony to me, as we marched along with all the people following the statue of the honored Saint. The procession lead us through the town centre, where another Saint who shares his day of recognition, joined the parade and lead us to another church. Fireworks went off in celebration and prayers were chanted or sung as we continued back to the starting point, leaving San Lorenzo behind, in the place of his home church. After the parade was concluded, we wandered through the small city of Brindisi, as she pointed out the sites and we visited the waterfront before calling it a night.


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