29 July 2012: Day 11 – Trieste

0 km!!!

Ahhh, a day off!  Waking up in our B&B with no plans to ride off was a welcome treat, as was the rare opportunity to wear non-padded shorts and let our hand-laundered cycling clothes dry.  These cycling trips are so wonderful for helping us realize what it is we really need in life, and what we really should appreciate!

Just like the rest of B&B Zenzero and Cannella, breakfast did not disappoint.  Cereals, biscuits, delicious Italian coffee (espresso, cappuccino, whatever you like), jams…mmmmm.  We didn’t have any major tourist plans, except to wander the city and enjoy the day off.  A quick glance at our map and a brief memory of an old-looking archway when we had ridden into town compelled us to head in the direction of Parco della Rimembranza.  Leaving the air-conditioned confines of our B&B, we were met with a blast of hot air as we made our way outside.  Sigh…it was clear the mountains were far behind us and summer’s heat was upon us.

The Park itself was nothing out of the ordinary in all honesty, except for the views it affords of Trieste.  It sits above the city, so that the panoramic views are breathtaking.  The city spreads out below you with all of its beautiful buildings, narrow streets, residential homes with flowers in the windows, old churches, and the Adriatic stretching out into great blue serenity for as far as the eye can see.  It really is extraordinary!

And thus we spent the morning exploring Trieste’s back streets, mostly those surrounding the main square, or Piazza dell’Unita D’Italia (that we had discovered the night before).  It was a pleasant stroll among the narrow, charming streets, but since we had (of course) slept in, siesta would soon descend upon us.  During our exploration, we came upon a delightful Italian grocer, that to us in America would be considered a gourmet grocer.  Here, I believe, it was a standard Italian grocer with every type of Italian cheese, prosciutto, salad, etc.  We decided to sample some of these delicacies and bring our treasured finds to a picnic spot along one of the canals that dips into the city.  It’s not at all like Venice with canals for streets, but there are a few areas where the city is built around the water where fishing boats/dinghies are moored and one wonders how well those little boats actually fit under the bridges over the canals that lead to the sea.  It looked like a tight squeeze.

Post-siesta we made it a point to check out information about the ferry to Grado, since we figured that would save us a few hours’ riding time the next day.  Having counted the miles, we were in for a 100+ mile day, and any time we could save would be hugely helpful.  The ferry dock wasn’t all that interesting or informative.  There were a few kiosks and a poster that stated the ferry leaves every day except Sunday at 8am.  Only two bicycles were allowed on board per ferry (one ferry per day), so we knew that if we wanted to catch a ride, we needed to get to the dock early the following morning.

Trieste conjures up two memories that became the first of many in the days to follow.  First, the Piazza dell’Unita D’Italia was the first time we witnessed glow-in-the-dark-flying-toy-bomb-things.  Um…not sure how else to describe them…basically they are these plastic toy things that hoards of Indian peddlers twirl in their hands and launch into the sky maybe 50-100 feet (or more?) and God help whomever they fall on.  We managed to steer clear of the rapidly flying and falling objects.  They were fun to watch in Trieste, a bit of a novelty if you will, but that quickly wore off in Venice where they were in every piazza in the city (of which there are hundreds…), in Siena, and of course all over Rome.  Sigh.

The second memory is dinner that second and final night in Trieste.  Because we had underestimated – despite having been warned – the reality that restaurants do indeed close on Sundays, we found ourselves in a bind.  Having enjoyed a doner kebab waaaay back in Derry, Ireland during our last trip, and having seen many doner kebab spots along our trip thus far, we thought, why not?  When in Italy, why not eat doner kebab?  Ok, that doesn’t seem to make much sense, but sure enough, we found our lucky kebab spot and had a take away meal complete with baciri melon for dessert in our favorite spot on the water looking back at the lights of Piazza dell’Unita D’Italia.  Ahhhh.  Heaven.  Yes, I am not at all ashamed to admit that this doner kebab was one of many to follow during the rest of our trip south to Rome.  The evening was beautiful as the temperature crept down to comfortable high 70s.  With the water lapping the dock and the lights of the Piazza shimmering in reflection, doner kebab and fresh melon in our bellies, we were glad we had ridden so far east to visit this lovely city.

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