Statue Of Liberty, New York City, USA

Plitvice National Park, Croatia

Soufriere, St. Lucia

Tambor Beach, Costa Rica

 

Trieste, Italy

We chose to begin our 21 day, 30th wedding anniversary vacation in northeastern Italy. As seen on an episode of the television series “House Hunters International”, Trieste was an attractive destination with its close proximity to Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.

Upon arriving at their small airport, the tourism office provided attraction information, maps, and tickets for local transit. The one hour bus ride from the airport to Trieste cost $4.10 euro per person. There is also an option to  spend $18. euro for an FVG card which covers your transportation for 48 hours, the $10. entrance fee  to the very enchanting Miramare castle, and access to other attractions. This card can be purchased for a longer duration as well at a modified cost. I would recommend going with the package deal if you are an independent traveller as it can be difficult to find locations selling bus tickets when you need them, especially at the castle. Ypu may want to sit on the ride side of the bus from the airport to the best views of the Adriatic Sea as you near Trieste. We stayed in a well equipped, spacious apartment that we rented through Airbnb. The price was competitive with a grocery store and bus stop nearby and easy access to the highway if you have a car rental.

Our first day was spent exploring the waterfront and center of Trieste. We walked past the yacht club and marvelled at  the absolute beauty of the waterfront area. During our stroll, we looked up and saw people on the top of a building with stunning rooftop architecture. Thinking this would be a great site for taking pictures of the city, we made our way through the streets to find out it was the Gallery of Modern Art. The entrance fee is usually 10 euro but on  Sundays there is no charge. With a huge storm looming, we were able to take refuge for a few hours until the torrential  rain passed. Not only did we get stunning views and pictures from the top of the building but we also enjoyed the exhibits, sculptures and paintings. While we do not frequent museums and galleries often,  it was actually a lot of fun and would recommend it as a great attraction to visit.

Within a few blocks of the gallery, Trieste has a compelling city center housing ample shops, bars and restaurants. In the heart of it all is the Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia which is as beautiful in the daytime as it is at night. With stunning architecture on the buildings and palaces, it is a tourist favorite and it is worth checking to see if there are any special events being held there when you are visiting. Across the road, you will find the Le Ragazze di Trieste. If you are patient and can wait for an unobstructed shot, the sculptures provide a great place for photos. A walk out and onto the Molo Audace provides a beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea, with sunset being a favorite time for many. A few blocks over is the Canal Grande which can be a lively area in the evening. We enjoyed the music of a band that was playing inside a restaurant and in the streets.

 

The next day we visited the infamous Miramare Castle where we spent a few hours enjoying the botanical gardens, strolling the grounds, and taking in the beautiful views of the Adriatic. There is a charge of 10 euros if you wish to enter the castle. There are numerous ancient artifacts, furniture, sculptures and artwork from all over the world and the history of the owner and his family is very interesting. Lockers are available if you would like to store your belongings but be sure to keep your camera/cell phone with you as every room bears its own unique charm and piece of history. The castle provides a nice break from the city and, while it can still be a busy tourist attraction, I cannot imagine vacationing in  Trieste without visiting Miramare.

There is two entrances to the grounds depending on which bus stop you get off at. Before boarding bus #6, ensure that you have return bus tickets as there is nowhere to purchase them at the castle or at the surrounding bus stops. Otherwise, you could be stranded  and have a VERY long walk ahead of you to get back into the center of Trieste. A day pass is a little over $4. and saves alot of hassle or the FVG card is a great buy if you plan to utilize transit often to tour the city and plan to visit the castle. The bus system can be a bit confusing as there is no central bus station and each bus has its own stop downtown. Tickets cannot be purchased from the bus driver SO must be bought in advance at designated locations such as a cigar shop. A single ticket is time limited so you don’t want to purchase it too far ahead of your boarding time, especially if you plan to access another bus route following.

With a great fondness for European churches, San Giusto cathedral was often mentioned as a local favorite. Following a very steep walk, we made our way to the church. In addition to the views of the city, the compelling interior and exterior of the cathedral are definitely worth the hike.

We rented a car upon leaving Trieste and found the Hertz location difficult to find. Directly across from the Grande Canal, there is the boardwalk facing the sea. On the right hand side, there is a railway building. You need to go through that area, walk past the cars, enter the back building and go through the brass doors. On the picture below, it is the long flat building on the left hand side. Should you be renting a vehicle from another company, be sure to get clear directions prior. If you are planning to visit another country, ensure that you purchase a Vignette sticker at a gas station prior to leaving Trieste or a massive fine may be imminent.

Our final day in Trieste was spent enjoying a long awaited stroll on the boardwalk. As viewed on our bus ride from the airport, the boardwalk stretched all the way from Miramare Castle to the city. Whether relaxing by the sea, exercising outdoors or enjoying a cold beverage on a hot day, the boardwalk is definitely a place to embrace ‘down time’. The Adriatic Sea serves as a playground for locals including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, cliff jumping, swimming and sunbathing. After celebrating Barry’s birthday with some local beers, we took a quick detour to check out the historical landmark of the Victory Lighthouse before heading back to pack.

   

Looking back, I would have to say that some of our most fond memories of Trieste would be about about the local residents. While there were many moments where the language barrier created challenges, they made every effort to understand us and to try and help in any way possible. We used our Google translate app often and were able to muddle our way through most of the time. Surprisingly, very few of the younger generation were fluent in English but that did not stop them from trying to help tourists. When we asked directions, we had one young women actually walk us from one bus stop to our connecting route even though it was several blocks away. On our first night there, an older gentleman not only walked us to our correct bus stop but also gave us tickets as it was too late to purchase them from stores. He even asked if we had eaten and offered to make us dinner. When there was a delay getting the keys for our rental property, a neighbour buzzed us in to the building, contacted the owner for us, and offered us a beer while we waited. Never have I seen so many kind people in my travels.

Trieste is more than just another beautiful Italian destination. It is place where in the midst of culture, history, mountain views and architecture, you are reminded of the value the kindness plays when in an unfamiliar place. It is a place where the great deal of community pride  is combined with playfulness and a commitment to enjoying the finer things in life whether it be nature, exercise, the arts, food or wine. It is a place, that if you have the chance to visit, you will likely never forget.

Happy travels, J&B

 

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone