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Off the European Peace Walk: Day 22: Ljubljana, Slovenia to Trieste, Italy

Note: My adherence to the itinerary of the European Peace Walk went off the rails on Day 13.  Any information after this day loosely follows the EPW guide. Trieste is the final destination of the European Peace Walk.

The bus is sexy.  The red curtains and the black and grey interior tell me I am on my way to Italy.  The sky above Slovenia is cartoony with a rich baby-blue color, holding billowy clouds above wooded foothills.

We enter Trieste from high above, winding down a mountain.  Between trees, I catch my first glimpses of the Adriatic Sea, gray-blue and sparkly.

Entering Trieste, Italy

Entering Trieste, Italy

Although I have an address, I have forgotten to download the instructions to my hotel.  So, arriving at the Trieste bus station I am delighted to find an “i” sign which is the universal sign for an information office.  But in this case, perhaps the “i” stands for “invisible” because there is no such office to be found.  Outside the station, I wonder which direction to choose.  A cab is waiting but that would be too easy.  I decide to go by instinct, which gets me terribly lost.  Because I am not a goose.

I wander aimlessly for a good while, trying not to look lost.  Finally, I enter a hotel asking the receptionist which direction I should go.  She kindly hands me a map, dotting my current location and circling my destination.  Unfortunately, putting a map in front of me is about as useful as putting a xylophone in front of a manatee.  Between my blurred vision, because I refuse to accept that I need glasses at age 45, and my usual map-dyslexia it’s of no use.  Back to instinct.

So, I carry on, imagining that I will eventually bump into the street in this city of thousands of streets.  And then, lo and behold, who do I see walking towards me but Gary, one of the eight in my PeaceWalking group!  The odds, in this city of 205,000 people, are incredible!  Gary is technologically savvy and uses his phone to guide me chivalrously to my hotel door.  Suffice it to say, I could have walked for ten years and never found this hotel.  So angels help me.  Again.  They’ve never let me down.

The building was built in 1860’s and it’s foyer is stark.  A red carpet leads to a central elevator that is slightly bigger than a breadbox.  While the sign says it holds four people, accidental pregnancies would occur if capacity were reached.  The lift groans as it rises, like it’s been doing this for 100 years and it’s had enough.  I know the feeling buddy, but let’s go!  One month later I arrive on the 3rd floor.

At the door stands the receptionist who looks so much like an ex-boyfriend that I can hardly look at him, which makes for awkward conversation.  He shows me to my room, decorated with lace on the bed stand and dark wood furniture.  A sparkling clean chandelier hangs over the bed.  Really, the room is so clean I hesitate to sit down, which is surely going to make this an uncomfortable hotel stay.  Finally, I sit, despite feeling that I am contaminating my pristine environment by merely existing.

I am in Italy”, I say aloud, reminding myself of where I am.  It seems surreal.

I venture out and discover I’m in the center of a trendy shopping district. Hundreds of scooters line the streets. Outside bars hold masses of people.  The wind is fierce.  

So many scooters!

So many scooters!

After wandering, I end up in a dollar store run by Chinese men who speak Italian loudly making my brain do somersaults.  It’s the store’s grand opening and you just can’t beat the values!  But how am I going to get 200 rolls of Chinese tin-foil home?  Restraining myself, I spend less than one euro to buy a pill container (which I incidentally need) and convince myself that it’s “cool” because the week’s days are written in Italian.  Yes.  I am so cool.

Italian pill box.

I am so cool.

I’m parched, and despite looking for a gelato shop I find nothing.  But I do find a grocery store where I purchase a pint of vanilla, the only flavor available.

I hastily return to the hotel only to discover that the host is gone and I have no access to a spoon or a freezer.  This is a gelato emergency of sorts.  One or the other is needed — and fast.  I stare at the gelato so it understands I’m not messing around.  I rip off the plastic lid, and with Herculean strength, fashion it into a scooping device which delivers the intoxicating dairy into my mouth.  When there’s a will…

Satiated, listening to the sound of scooters buzzing, I fall asleep in Italy for the first time.

[mappress mapid=”38″]

Photos of Trieste, Italy (click to view):

 

3 Comments

  1. Well done Laura although only 6/10 for execution and perseverence
    Time for a few goodbyes I suppose.
    I have enjoyed your stories although I haven’t followed all.
    Looking forward to hearing Rob & Helgas take on all this.
    Maybe catch up in Australia(Raymond Island)
    Go well
    Richard

    • Hi Laura
      Ref my last comment….just thinking…who am I to rate you performance …I am sorry
      I wasn’t on the walk and it sounds though in parts
      Well done to you and all.
      Richard

      • You can rate my performance. Or not. It matters little to me. It only tells me about you. Thanks.

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