Originally, Trieste was a stopover on my way around the Adriatic to Dubrovnik. When I realized that Croatia was going to take more time than I had, both in terms of planning and length of stay in Europe, Trieste remained on my list of places to visit, for no other reason than it sounded interesting.
Everything I read led me to think of Trieste as a quiet, not-much-visited city, but I didn’t reckon on “Barcolana,” a week-long sailing festival, culminating in a race in which over 1500 sailboats take part. Over the course of my three-day visit, the waterfront became crowded with the booths of sponsors and vendors and the Piazza Unità d’Italia was the scene of a variety of multimedia events. As a former sailor, I enjoyed seeing the boats, especially when they were under sail.
Away from the waterfront and the piazza, the city was going about its business. There is a pedestrian zone a couple of blocks back from the waterfront, with shops, bars, and restaurants, where the passeggiata, the evening stroll through the city center, takes place. Intriguing alleyways and stairways lead up the hills to the cathedral and castle.
There aren’t any ‘must-sees’ in Trieste like the Louvre or the Uffizi, but what I did see was wonderful. I wrote in an earlier post how much I enjoyed Miramare. The day after that, I visited the museum of the sea. All of the exhibit captions were in Italian (which I knew going in), but I enjoyed seeing the ship models and instruments and the dioramas of fishing. By walking to this museum, I also saw marinas further away from the city center, where there was a thicket of masts.
Of course, I did some geocaching, replacing my ‘farthest east’ from Venice last year with one of my finds in Trieste. As often happens, looking for a geocache provided a walking tour of the city and led me to a location I might not otherwise have seen, like the Teatro Romano. It also provided an introduction to a stranger when I met a fellow geocacher on the waterfront one evening. He was from Austria, visiting his parents in Trieste and had participated in Barcolana one year. It was great talking to him and I ran into him, his wife and their baby on the waterfront the next morning.
I loved knowing I was about as far east as one could get in Italy, I loved being in a port city, and I loved being able to see the city on foot. There’s something so intimate and interesting about seeing a city from that perspective and it was great to be in a city compact enough to make that possible.