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Published: April 24th 2022
We travelled to Trieste on Good Friday and it's now the end of week three and have left Florence for Sorrento. After four city sightseeing stays, Trieste was time for a bit of R&R and it certainly did that. I had booked a room in Villa Tergeste in Miramare about 8km from the city. It is a grand old villa which till COVID-19 was a hostel, the owners, Sandra and Giovanni, decided to move into a different market and it still needs more change but it is getting there. All of the rooms have stunning sea views and access to a first-floor private terrace. Running alongside the villa is a fish restaurant which sadly was only open at lunchtime.
Our first night meal was at a promenade cafe, pretty average, but amazing sunset views with the Miramare castle in the background. It was built for Maximilian I, a guy from history who has followed us around on the trip. He was awarded Mexico as a reward during one of the many Austro-Hungarian conflicts. Sadly, he came to a sticky end and was assassinated!
My idea of chilling was early morning walks along the seafront before delicious breakfasts. We were
regulars on the no 6 bus which went from Grignano, the other side of the castle to Trieste along the seafront. A day ticket was only 3€. On Saturday we thought we would have a short stroll then get the bus to the city. There was a ticket machine at our end then the next one was in a tabac, 3k away!! A bit longer than a stroll. A coffee stop looking out to bay helped, it was sunny but Trieste is renowned for its wind and we certainly experienced it during our stay. The water was full of jellyfish, thousands and thousands of them. They were pink with a circle of purple beads and looked like Victorian lamps.In the evening we got the bus part way for a drink and ended up eating in a little bar, the highlight was the swordfish carpaccio.
The staff in the villa were amazing , Nancy was a cheery face ever morning. Marco was always on hand to sort out our queries, he sorted us a table for Easter Sunday lunch and got our laundry organised. Sunday we had a stroll up through the castle grounds and down into Grignano, we tried
to get a coffee but everywhere was setting up for lunch. We got the bus back and walked out onto the front terrace for Sunday lunch. It was a set meal for 55€ and despite the cost it was well worth it, including drinks it was 60€ each. Starter was an antipasto of fried anchovies, carpaccio of salmon, garlic prawns and a white fish marinated in orange with courgette and tomato. Second course was pasta with tuna, raisins and pine nuts them main course was a large plate of fish to share, A whole bream, a langoustine a large prawn, some squid and some small crumbed fish together with some fried potatoes. Desert was homemade Tiramisu and semi-fredo. I washed it all down with a litre and a quarter of lightly sparkling local wine, a bit like frascati. I needed a snooze before our evening trip out!
I had spotted a Monet exhibition in Trieste so headed off after breakfast on my own. It was themed around Impressionism in Normandie and there were only 4 of his paintings but some interesting other works. The Impressionists are my favourites by a long way. I had a wander through the streets
of Trieste, beautiful city with stunning architecture. You can see the Austro-Hungarian influence here too. Chris had walked to the castle again and managed to pull his calf muscle.
On our last day we decided to get bus into Trieste and then a second one up to the castle. The buses were fine but we went the wrong way! Chris's leg was bad so headed back to rest and I wandered around town. Found a reasonably priced restaurant and booked a table. We had to eat early as the last bus was 20.49! Food was fabulous, I had one of my favourite dishes- aubergine parmigiana and then suckling pig and cabbage. Chris had veal cheeks. Yummy
Our next destination was Florence and it didn't disappoint. As first-time visitors we were blown away by the beauty of the buildings, who wouldn't be. Sadly, due to its size and the volume of visitors it was a nightmare walking around. Busier than Venice! The 3-part visit to the Opera, Baptistery and Santa Reparata were really good. The cathedral is stunning outside but a let down inside, thankfully it is free. I went on my own to see the Basilica Santa Maria
di Novella, similar style of exterior but fabulous interior with amazing frescoes. It wasn't too busy and the old cloisters were fabulous. The Uffizi is a Florence must do but it was overwhelmingly busy and impossible to enjoy due to a combination of people with audio guides or large tour groups. We got the number 12 bus up to the Piazza Michelangelo and enjoyed the city from above we enjoyed the walk back but had to battle our way across the Pontevecchio .
Florence has been a bit of a mixed bag. There was a canny Geordie lass, Holly, in the Irish bar in the Duormo square with no extra charge for sitting on the terrace. There was a lovely vinoteca five minutes walk away , run by a guy who reminded me of Manuel in Fawlty Towers, we enjoyed some very tasty wine there. The little Chinese cafe round the corner had tasty freshly cooked food at reasonable prices. But one day we had two coffees and two very average sandwiches for breakfast for 21.50€. Our last night in Florence was a real triumph. We had stopped, a previous night, for a glass of wine in a little lively bar and lots of customers saying how good the food was. We booked a table and knew it was downstairs but didn't realise it was shared tables. We had dinner a lovely young couple living in Milan. She was Italian from Lake Como and he was German. The food and company were great.
Next stop Sorrento for Pompei.
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