Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Undiscovered City

Picture a city with tree-lined avenues, buildings from the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian empire (and others with hints of Venice), a fairy-tale castle, coffee shops and delicious pastries, parks and seaside charm. That's Trieste, favorite of James Joyce and British travel writer Jan Morris.

See what I mean?

Castle Miramare was completed in 1860. It was a residence of the Hapsburg Archduke Ferdinand Maxmilian II, later declared
Emperor of Mexico. When he was assassinated in Mexico, his wife, Charlotte of Belgium (Carlotta) is said to have gone mad.
 I wonder if Carlotta's ghost haunts the castle?

Yet the charms of Trieste were not what drew us to this lovely city.
Rather it was the charm of one of its residents, Fiorenza, a friend of ours from Seattle who returned to her native city a few years ago when her mother needed more help. Thanks to Fiorenza's assistance, she is able to stay in her own home. 

Kevin and Fiorenza in downtown Trieste.

It's true--you haven't experienced hospitality until you've experienced Italian hospitality. Fiorenza and her mother, Stella, showered us with food and affection, which, in Italy are very closely linked! 

Tea, Stella, Fiorenza, and Kevin after another delicious meal! (Tea is pronounced tay-uh.)
She is Fiorenza's renter,who has become a close friend.

It was wonderful to see Fiorenza again. She has many friends back in Seattle who will be pleased to know she is doing well and has many supportive friends. And they are all so close! It's easy for them to get together, because they live within blocks of each other. They are all warm, welcoming people just like Fiorenza!

Below: After more food (tiramisu--yum!), with Fiorenza's friend, Marisa.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay with Fiorenza and Stella. We got to explore the town and catch up on the news from mutual friends. Here's a photo of Fiorenza as we were catching the city's signature tram/cable car to the suburb of Villa Opicina:

And while it doesn't fit the narrative of fun, friends, and fabulous food, I will close with one of the other important things that happened in Trieste:  Kevin got a haircut! As you can see, I had my reservations, but it turned out quite well.

A huge thank-you to Fiorenza, Stella, and their many friends for providing that "home away from home" feeling when we needed it most. Grazie mille!

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