Thursday, May 26, 2016

Trieste and joyriding in Croatia!

Tuesday morning, we got up and had a light breakfast.  Then Bill drove us to Trieste, which turned out to be another white knuckle experience.  First there was the prospect of getting out of the hotel's crazy parking lot and negotiating the super narrow streets and blind corners.  Then, we had to deal with Italian drivers, who seem to have no qualms about forcing their way into traffic, speeding around corners, and basically scaring the shit out of people who aren't Italian.


A little fuel before a scary drive into Trieste.

Traffic going in to Trieste was pretty heavy and Bill and I both wondered aloud why we do this to ourselves...  driving in Italy when we could drive in perfectly sane Germany, France or Austria.  The answer to that question is that Italy is just awesome.  The food is wonderful.  The people are interesting and fun to watch, as well as very warm and hospitable.  The terrain is beautiful.  Once we managed to find metered parking near the waterfront, we were able to walk around and enjoy the city.


The pier overlooking the Bay of Trieste.


The big main square in Trieste.  You can get free WiFi here.  ;)


Near the marina.




Some youngsters were learning about an old amphitheater.  Some looked interested in what the guide was saying and some didn't.


This was embedded in a wall.  I love finding little shrines and artistic impressions.  Graffiti fascinates me, even if I sometimes wish the artists would be choosier about what buildings they deface.

To be honest, I didn't find Trieste to be long on things to do.  We mostly just people watched and enjoyed the free WiFi in the center.  At one point, we walked past a sex shop.  I chuckled at the sight of bright red men's underwear on a mannequin.  They were trimmed in lace and had stringy suspenders attached to them.  The suspenders seemed more decorative than functional.

When it came time for lunch, we walked around toward the Grand Canal and found a cute little restaurant with checkered tablecloths.  I was having one of my famous hangry/sugar crashes and was about over it when we sat down.


Bill ponders over lunch.  Our waiter raised an eyebrow when we ordered a whole liter of wine.  Yes, we're lushes.  I'm more of a lush than Bill is.

Bill ordered a liter of house white wine and pasta with truffles and ham.  I had a scallop starter and fried fish, which turned out to be calamari, sardines, and squid.  Fortunately, I love fish very much and the cook did a good job!


My scallops... Yum!  They were breaded and served still attached to the shell.


Bill's pasta with truffles and ham.  I complained when he ate a lot of garlic a couple of days prior.  Truffles are even more aromatic to me and not in a good way.  But he loves them and really enjoyed this dish.


I had lots of fried jewels from the sea.  No, I didn't finish this.  It was a lot of protein!

As we were finishing up, I paid a visit to the restaurant's unisex bathroom, which consisted of a squat hole.  I hadn't seen one of those in awhile!  After Bill checked out a James Joyce statue on a nearby bridge, we decided to walk around a little more... basically back to the main square where we took a seat at a big cafe with great desserts.  They had normal tables there, but they also had comfortable chairs and couches with cocktail tables that faced the square.  We were able to sit there and watch the world go by.  Bill had a coffee and I had Irish coffee...


A squat toilet!



The cafe.  I probably ought to zoom in to see what it was called.  I felt much better when we left there.


The Grand Canal.


James Joyce is honored on the bridge!


And with a James Joyce bar across the way...  I might have been tempted to pay a visit, but decided not to.


If you're really patient and have no watch or cellphone, you can tell the time with this...


Bill picks out drinks while I people and dog watch.



I had an Irish coffee.  I guess he wanted me relaxed for our next activity.

Our meter was due to run out at 3:45pm, so we decided to move on from Trieste.  I came up with the brilliant idea of heading into Slovenia, which we did.  But then, as we got closer to the Croatian border, I talked Bill into driving into our next virgin territory.  Good thing we had our passports because Slovenian border guards were checking at the Croatian border.


We made it through... and soon learned that Croatia is not on the Euro.



An example of apartments in Pula, which is where we ended up stopping after a lovely drive on a very well-maintained and mostly empty toll road.  We got some Croatian currency at a gas station, but we needn't have bothered.  You can pay the tolls in euros and they are quite cheap!




An ancient arena in Pula.

Had we set off earlier, we probably would have spent some quality time in Pula.  It was getting late, though, and we were tired.  So we stopped at a supermarket, used the WC (for free!) and bought several bottles of Croatian wine.  I don't know if we'll like what we bought since I don't speak Croatian.  I'm eager to try, though, when we get home.  And our sneak peek was very satisfying.  We will have to go back soon and see more of beautiful Croatia.




Great highway with cheap tolls and beautiful scenery.



We stopped in Slovenia for dinner.  The restaurant had a Slovenian name, but our waiter made sure to tell us it was called The Three Hunters.  He mistook us for German... the first of several Slovenians who have.


I had delicious roasted pork with vegetables and local wine...


Bill had rabbit gnocchi.  Had we wanted to, we could have also had dishes made with bear.  Bear meat is apparently a delicacy in Slovenia.


I had beer for dessert.


This was when the waiter reminded me of the name of the restaurant.  I think he was hoping I'd review it.  The food was very good and he was a good server, though the ladies room reeked of old urine.  Too bad for that, since it was otherwise a fabulous meal and very reasonably priced.


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