Trieste, Italy - June 7, 2012
Buon giorno, tutti, from Trieste.
I really don't know why I am here. It was a fortunate fluke actually. I got up yesterday morning with the full intention of taking another health day at Camp Ljubljana but lying there, I noticed that a lot of the stuff in the tent was either wet or seriously damp. Anything lying on the floor had a wet spot under it. So I pulled everything out just to dry it, then saw that it might rain again. As I was getting pretty dry and it was only about 9:30, I decided just to pack up and move on... otherwise I might just get wet all over again.
So I was looking for a city and a hotel to go to. Asked about Trieste, but no one I talked to had been there... not the German, not the Dutch guy with the R80/7 at home, and not the British girl traveling by train with her dog. So I decided since it wasn't far and the Dutch guy said that he heard it was sunny this way, I just came here. The whole city isn't mentioned in my guidebook. What a shame.
This is really a very pretty city. It sits on the Adriatic cupped in a natural amphitheater made up of the surrounding hills. Beautiful city square opening right out onto the Mediterranean... and very nice neo-classical and baroque architecture. Lots of Roman stuff with a small theater and forum. Castle on the hill. You name it. All very close.
Main Square, Trieste
Sittin' by the Dock of the Bay
Anyway... this is not a tourist town by any means... I've only seen one shop selling Trieste refrigerator magnets and that's it. Not even postcards. So I was very surprised to see on the margin of the map I had, an ad for a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus. That was a surprise. It was hard to track down, but eventually I did find the starting point and so took that. There were only 5 of us on the bus. Like I said, not a big tourist town. But I did one whole loop of about an hour, then went back to where there was a funicular that went up into the hills. And all it took was a bus ticket. About $1.50. The car was like a San Francico trolley, only electric. It powered itself up for a while, but then grabbed onto an exposed cable that rode a series of pulleys up the hill and around the curves. Cool old technology. Very steep. Uncomfortably so actually, unless you were sitting in a seat with a back... which I wasn't. So I just had to try to prop myself up. Anyway, it's about a 1/2 hour up and another 1/2 hour down. There are some trails to take at the top but my map didn't go that far and if you're not careful, I guess some of the trails wind down the backside leaving you stranded. So I just took it back down to town.... riding backwards with a seat back to lean on.
Took the long walk back to the hotel. There are still some things I'd like to go back to see, but that would require another day here. I'm in a hotel with a good location, but a little on the expensive side. Hot, muggy, cloudy but no rain here either yesterday or today.
So after the last dispatch regarding my horrid night, I got about a half-dozen very nice and supportive emails from people... some saying that I sounded really bummed or depressed. Sorry if that's the impression I gave because I am not really down at all. I'm tired and feel sick... but not really down. In fact, I am much better shape mentally this trip than I was last trip at this time. By this time last trip, I had just gotten to Turkey and I was just a beat dog. Much worse weather then than now and that probably had a lot to do with the total exhaustion I was feeling. No, I think I was doing fine and right on schedule this trip until I left Monaco, then started seriously needing health days... a few in Cinque Terre, followed by a few more in Bled, followed by a few more in Ljubljana, and actually one or two here. Just hard to get much enthusiasm or energy when I'm fighting some bug. But that should pass at some time. Hopefully before Diane gets here so she doesn't just get to play nursemaid.
As for the change in plans, that just makes sense as the original "plan" was stupid. In retrospect, if I had thought of it even earlier, I probably would have aimed a bit farther north, maybe to see Niels and spend time visiting some German and Austrian cities I have not seen as Diane and I will be coming this way again in a couple of weeks anyway. So I would have done a few things differently, but this will work. So don't worry about me. I wrote Diane that I thought I had gotten a spider bite on the face one night but maybe it was a tse-tse fly bite instead. Travel is ebb and flow. I'm in a physical ebb right now that's all. Go slow, rest lots, eat well, take breaks, don't cover too much ground for the sake of covering ground. Reduce hassle and stress. Now... if I could do those, that would be a good plan!
Master Recovery Plan
OK... off to somewhere tomorrow. Not sure where. I might head down the coast... maybe into Croatia if the border goes easily. I have to watch my time now, in order to be in Budapest on the 13th. And as most of Slovenia and Croatia is on this "sobe" room system, you're often turned away if you only want to spend one night... so it's hard to keep moving. It's almost easier to camp... but I have no listing for camps in Croatia. Oh well, I'll wind up somewhere. And I can travel in Slovenia on the highways legally now. I got snagged at a tollbooth coming off of a highway yesterday... not sure how I even got on it as there didn't seem to be any special signs. But the girl at the tollbooth there was asking about my vignette. Guess you have to purchase it before getting onto their highway system. Anyway, my atlas doesn't show Slovenia as one of the countries that require a vignette, but she was very nice and just sold me one instead of calling the cop over to issue a citation. 7.50 Euros for 7 days. Beats the Spanish and Italian toll rates. So I was happy.