Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Trip Notes # 5: Italy

May 6, 2018

Our next destination is Trieste, Italy (located between Izola (Slovenia) and Venice) to see a castle that has historical and unique significance relating to Mexico.

                                      Spectacular Coastline Near Castle 

Maximilian, as in Maximilian and Carlotta fame and younger brother of Arch-duke Franz-Joseph, began to build this beautiful castle high on a coastline hill overlooking the Adriatic.

The ornate Austrian-Hungary architect designs combined with hunting themes was well worth seeing.


Maximilian  also started to design a good part of the surrounding (gorgeous) park grounds and angled the building so that many of the windows look across the bay to Slovenia. 

Many castles and palaces of this era used Asian art to show the wealth and global awareness.  Maximilian's castle was no different.

We use the words, "started" and "designed part" because Maximilian  never finished his project. As part of a wedding present, the pope (at the time) gave him the presidency of Mexico. Two years later Maximilian was executed by Benito Juarez for those that remember our history lessons.

It seems to us that transferring from the plush royal household to the under-developed 1860's Mexico was not such a great wedding present. While touring he castle, we came across an interesting note: Carlotta ultimately became insane - living until 1927.

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Our Trieste hotel is in the heart of the city. Trying to find a place to park is difficult. After checking in, we left the car in a parking structure and walked a good part of the city.

Government Building

Picturesque Plazas

The old and the new:
Roman Theater

Pretty and Modern Alcoves To Eat, To Drink, To See And To Be Seen

Surprise! Surprise! During our walk along the Trieste harbor area, we came across Eataly. We've been to the restaurant in New York, Los Angeles and now Trieste. Little did we know that these restaurants are world-wide. 20 in Italy, two in Moscow, one in Denmark and Finland, etc.

Every day the weather forecast calls for rain. Everyday the weather is beautiful, slightly on the hot side (high 70's, low 80's) and best for trying some of the many Italian Gelato flavors: Rich, creamy, flavorful and delicious!

We planned to have dinner at one of the best restaurants in town. However, just by happen chance, we found a hole-in-the-wall "gourmet" restaurant across the street from the hotel that offered a variety of homemade dishes, interesting carved meats and great salads.

After a lot of walking and a short rest in our hotel room, we returned to this restaurant and had a most unusual culinary experience. 

Dinner was a platter of meats, local cheeses, olives and a bottle of local wine.  

Out of the oven and in a paper bag came delicious rolls

 Everything we thought we wanted, the owner convinced us that he could offer something better, something unique and especially local to the area.

Hams Drip (Only) In Late Summer Time. Maybe...

The meats did come with a dash of mustard. The owner kept asking if we wanted the meats to be "spicy!" We kept saying, "No!" Finally, a couple next to us, started a conversation and informed us that "spicy" meant shavings of horseradish. We had a good laugh. The couple joined us for awhile - she was born in Canada, grew up in Italy. Her husband is part Croatian, part Italian. We spent part of the time discussing "local Trieste recipes" - many derived from the Austrian/Hungary influence.

Driving in Trieste (and probably throughout Italy) requires several more eyes. Both of us have to be continually on the alert for scooters and motorcycles that dash in and out, around and between as the drivers rush to and from. It's a little unnerving!

Also, we have forgotten what it is like to speak to Italians. Their speaking volume is much louder than ours - it's sort of like screaming at each other. Then, there is the spatial relationship. Jerry asked a stranger for help with directions. The man was anxious to help as he moved in very close to Jerry - almost nose to nose! 

At first, we had sort of an "Ehh" feeling about the town - congested, noisy, dirty (graffiti) and a one-timer. However, as we walked around the town, we quickly found that Trieste is actually a fun, harbor town offering fond memories.The key? It's what one makes of an opportunity.

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