I got up nice and early to see my host this morning… then went back to bed as I was so tired and woke up again at 11am. Oops. Still, enough time to explore a little so I forewent the bus and decided to walk from his flat into the town – about 5km, I was told.
Lidl was my first stop, to pick up the stuff I couldn’t put in my hand luggage. I have yet to see a documented case of a RyanAir flight being hijacked by someone wielding toothpaste but I guess they have to be cautious.
Next door to the supermarket is the Risiera di San Sabba. Originally a rice-husking factory, it became a military barracks in the early 20th century… and then was taken over by the Nazis as a waystation for “insurgents” before sending them off to other camps for “processing”. Numbers are hard to come by, but the reckoning is a few thousand were killed here (and cremated, their ashes scattered in the nearby port) and many thousands more sent by train to Germany and Poland.
As ever, I found this place deeply moving and upsetting. Despite its comparatively small size compared to, say, Auschwitz it does nothing to lessen the extent of the atrocities committed there. Quick to walk around, but the memories will last a lifetime.
From there I walked into Trieste itself, trying to stay as close to the coast as I could (not easy until you get very close to the town). I passed the local football teams’s ground – an impressive stadium – and picked up pizza for brunch from a small corner shop. Lunch later was grapes and a banana from another shop. I was behind another tourist in the queue who was paying for an ice lolly with a €500 note. FIVE. HUNDRED. EURO. The girl on the till had never even seen one before. My entire trip is costing less than this guy was handing her.
So the walking began / continued. Similarly to my 2-day stay in Rome, I just… walked. I had a few things I wanted to see and I just used my legs to get between them all. The weather was hot and humid (as I type this at 8pm, it’s not got any less oppressive), but in typically Italian fashion there are plenty of water fountains for when you run out of sports drinks.
I found the yacht club, the Piazza Unitá d’Italia and its gorgeous view out over the sea and the Teatro Romano. Unfortunately the Piazza was a little non-photogenic as it features a concert by Talking Heads’ David Byrne tomorrow, and the stage / seats currently fill the area.
I walked uphill to see various churches, cathedrals and the liberation monument, as well as enjoying the wonderful view this high point offered me.
And then I caved and got a Burger King for dinner. At least I had a beer (a Slovenian one) with my meal, something you can’t do in the UK because… erm… I don’t know. Just because.
Right now, I’m back in the Hop & Rock, supping a staggeringly delicious and tart sour mango beer that I need to get the name of. I’ll give it a little while then head back to Alessio’s where I think another guest may be staying.
Tomorrow I have a fair bit of free time before my bus to Tolmin. I may spend it asleep!