36 Hours in Trieste

We had a wonderful dinner on our second and last night in Ljub, which just about made up for the lousy one the night before.  Great trance music, dinner next to a goldfish pond, a friendly waiter who recommended the beefsteak, which was indeed lovely.  A nice bottle of red wine- ah, civilization!

Wednesday morning we packed up (luckily it all still fits, though like our clothes, it’s getting a bit snug) and trundled them off to the train station.  I love trains – rarely are there delays, you know the train is going where it says it will, and all you have to do is read.  We had picked up sandwich fixings in Ljub and enjoyed our rolls with Emmentaler and prosciutto while the countryside sped by.

Arrived in Sezana, which is not much to write home about, with no taxis waiting and our phones not working.  Finally tracked down a train man who told us to try at the hotel and, indeed, a brisk receptionist called us a cab and we were on our way.  Crossing the border was entirely uneventful.  No stamps on our passports for either Slovenia or Italy!  Too bad.  He delivered us to the train station, from which we got another cab to our B&B.

The Gens Julia is up THREE flights of stairs, 77 steps as one of us noted.  (Just assume we’re high up in this building.)gens-juliaBut it’s quite lovely:  a modern bathroom, comfortable bed and air conditioning (!) which  we may well need, as it’s warm and humid here.  David welcomed us with a glass of juice and some maps and dinner recommendations, and we launched ourselves into Trieste.

Here’s the thing about Trieste: like San Francisco, it’s built on hills, and they are very steep.  We started out walking downhill to the Piazza del’Unita, the grand square by the sea.  It’s quite big and empty except for a few statues and columns. I wish I could remember what Jan Morris said about it, though I do think it’s been re-engineered over the centuries.  We tracked down the TIC and got information from a somewhat testy young woman.  (At one point, when I asked about the bus, she pointed out that she had already told me this – SORRY.)  We were all a little testy at this point, truth be told.  We’re at that point in a trip where we’re both a little weary and wondering how much longer this will all go on.  But, onwards!

Armed with a tourist/bus ticket, we began walking uphill towards the castle and cathedral of San Giusto.  Steep hills up to an old church with a darling Jesus having a little drink, and these beautiful mosaics.  The most purple one is a 1930s modern work.  We walked in a desultory way through the castello, enjoying the views of Trieste and ignoring everything else.   Then back down the hill to the remains of the Roman theater, which now faces the fascist-style building housing the police station.

We took David’s recommendation for dinner and made our way back UP the hill to a little hole in the wall, that wasn’t open at ten of seven.  We sat on a bollard around the corner, looking at the waxing moon and giving it ten more minutes, when a car pulled up and a dashing man with long hair and an elderly woman got out, unlocked the door and invited us in.

The interior was brightly lit and already provisioned with table settings and baskets of bread.  We took the nice man’s advice about what to eat and drink and ended up with a thin white wine and lots of fish.  First, the most delicious fried shrimps and some other little fish, then Alison had lasagna, which was divine, while I had pasta with clams.  We  ended with sardines for me and something else for Alison, I’m sure it was delicious…  And so to bed, in the nice cool room with the a/c running.

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