So last weekend, Ramin and I decided to get away from Venice for the weekend and headed to Trieste, a port town on the Eastern border of Italy. We arrived Friday night via train, found our hotel, walked around a bit and turned in early.
Saturday morning, we met up with a group of students traveling to Trieste for the day and made our way to the Miramare Castle. It was about a 5 mile walk down the shore along Trieste’s sandless beaches. We stopped halfway to grab some lunch at Trattoria Pescaria, where everyone (but myself) had really great seafood (#FishAreFriendsNotFood). When we finally arrived at the castle it was raining a bit, but we were still super pumped. The views were absolutely amazing. It was surrounded by water on three sides, and the grounds consisted of beautiful gardens. Ramin and I stayed a bit longer than the rest of the group, then took a bus back, stopping midway to visit the Vittoria Lighthouse. We climbed up the hill, then up the lighthouse and the views were insane - it was a 360 of all of Trieste.
Ramin and I made our way back to our hotel, changed out of our sweaty clothing, and then headed out to dinner. The entire city was absolutely INSANE. There were hundreds of thousands of people everywhere. It was a city wide party. Music and people everywhere. We grabbed some pasta near the main square and then joined the party for a bit (I even got a free hat). On our way home, we stopped for gelato and it was the best gelato I’ve ever had ever…I’m not even sure what flavor it was but it was delicious.
The next morning, we hopped on a bus and headed to the Grotta Gigante, the largest public cave in the world. It was about a 30 min bus ride, up the mountain….it wasn’t the best bus ride in the world to say the least. However, it was totally worth it. The cave was incredible. I expected a small, little, claustrophobic cave but it was massive. No pictures or videos can do it justice. It was about a 500 step climb down and then 500 back up.
That afternoon we headed back to the train station, hopped on the 3:30 train and was back on the island two hours later!
Last night, Ramin and I made our way over to Andrea’s apartment for a much needed protein boost. When you think of Italian food, you think of pasta and pizza….and it’s pretty accurate to what is served here (with a panini or two thrown in). We’re pretty carbed out to say the least.
Andrea to the rescue.
She made us fabulous omelettes with cheese and spinach and pancetta (+onions for Ram) with toast and homefries. It felt like home. It was pretty great.
Today, we had more photo classes. I sat in on the documentary class for the first time and got the chance to see everyone’s projects they’ve been working on. Andrea talked to the basics class about final projects and it gave me SUCH flashbacks to last year and the immense amount of stress my final gave me. See, I love Venice, and I love photography, but I don’t like shooting Venice….so last year I went as pretty weird and un-Venice as it gets. I’m thinking of revisiting last year’s final to reshoot a bit and make it even stronger. Updates to come…
And now onto tonight - in about two hours from now, Ramin and I will be boarding a train to Trieste, a port town on the border of Italy and Croatia. We’re super excited so expect some beautiful pictures of the Adriatic super soon!
Sunday morning, most of the class headed to Florence. Ramin and I opted for the 9:30 train (instead of the 6:30 one we did last year) and got into the city two hours later at 11:30. We first walked over to the Academia to see if we could get tickets to see the David as they were sold out online, but unfortunately the line was absolutely crazy, so we made our way over to the Ponte Vecchio to grab some lunch at Buca dell’orafo, the amazing restaurant we discovered last year. Unfortunately, since it was Sunday, it was closed. So we found a cute outdoor restaurant called Celestina right over the bridge where I had some amazing tortellini with bolognese and peas. At this point, it was piping hot and the sun was right overhead, so we were struggling a little bit…
After lunch, Courtney, Alexa, Aileen, Nicole, Megan, Elaine, Josh, Ramin and I headed over to the Boboli Gardens. They were stunning. It was a nice change of pace from the cities we’ve been in for the past couple of weeks. At the top of the hill were spectacular views of the entire city.
We then walked back across the city, over the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo. Ramin and I had visited it last year, but it was just as incredible. Unfortunately, the dome was closed, so we couldn’t climb to the top, but it was a worthwhile visit nonetheless.
Then it was segway time. So last year, Ramin, Sam and I rented segways and segwayed all over the city. It was one of our favorite things we did, so Ramin and I decided that we had to do it again. So all seven of us got on our segways and took Florence by 15mph storm. The best part were the looks we got - it’s not an everyday occurrence to see seven college-aged kids zooming around on segways, but it was worth every penny.
Nicole, Alexa, Megan, Aileen, Court and I wanted to go shopping for a bit, so we broke off from the group and hit up the main drag towards the train station. I bought a really nice leather wallet and a few souvenirs so it was a successful shopping trip.
Then the rain came. And I don’t mean a sprinkle or two. No. Downpour. Absolute downpour. We took shelter under a little panini cart for a bit, but we knew we had to get to the train station soon or else we’d miss our train. It showed no signs of stopping so we literally sprinted in our dresses over to the train station. We were soaking wet, but we had time to grab a quick dinner (at McDonald’s….no judging) before we boarded our train.