I left the house around 9am and followed the route to the Cattedrale di San Giusto. The other day I’d gotten a bit lost in this area, but this time had no trouble following the map to get to the castle. It’s quite a steep walk up as you reach it, and in the heat it can be difficult!
I left the flat around 8pm and walked to the bus station, which is next to the train station in Piazza Liberta, in the north of the city near the coast. It was a bit of a walk up, but only took about 20 minutes or so to get there. This time, I took the paper map with me. No more jumpy GPS location, no more disappearing street names, no more inaccurate directions. I’m probably sounding like a bit of a Luddite, but a good old paper map, combined with a few basic observations, feels a much more reliable way of navigating a new city than relying on your smartphone’s whims. Oh, and did I mention there’s no battery to run out? 🙂
It’s been a while since the last post as I’ve been busy with other writing and various other activities that unfortunately haven’t left much time for writing articles on Italy. I do hope to find more time for it though over the next few months.
Anyway, I’m writing this sat in a little apartment in my favourite Italian city of Trieste in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. I’m here for a short break, but also to find out a bit about the local housing market, as I’m interested in buying an apartment to let out using Airbnb or something similar. I’d also like to be able to use it as a holiday home when I travel to Italy. Compared to London, the house prices are astonishing. You can get a decent, spacious apartment for around €50,000 or even lower. Don’t ask what you can get for the same price in London. Just don’t…
I’ll be in Trieste until Wednesday, after which I’ll be travelling to Brescia to meet up with my friend Alessandra. We’ll then be going once again to her native area of Val Camonica, where I’ll stay until Friday. There is apparently a public art installation on Lake Iseo called the ‘Floating Piers’ that lets people walk across the lake to reach some of the islands.
We got up at 7am and got ready to leave. Alessandra and her mother were keen to leave as soon as possible, because if there was any traffic incident on the route out of the valley, there could be some bad delays. Apparently there is only one road out, and if it’s blocked, then you’re basically stuck if you’re going by car.
We had breakfast on a table out on the balcony, the warm sun in charge of the day. I think I need to start visiting Italy in the winter, otherwise I’m going to end up thinking there’s nothing but sunshine in this country. Sitting outside, you could see nearby houses as well as the surrounding countryside–the vast cliffs of green marking the valley looming everywhere you looked.
I got up early to pack up and head out to the station, leaving the keys on the table as the landlady had requested. Back in the restaurant café, I was again attacked by those annoying flies–probably the same ones as yesterday, hmm. At one point, I felt a slight panic when I realised I couldn’t find my bag in the place I’d left it, only to realise I’d left it in front of the counter when paying for my espresso and brioche.
Getting up around 6am, I got ready and headed out towards the station. The next train to La Spezia, luckily a direct one, left at around 8am and arrived around 10am. While waiting for the my train, I went to get a coffee and croissant (cornetto!) at the railways station’s café. This one had a ticketing system, where you pay for what you’ve ordered at the counter, then take the receipt over to another counter and get your food. The funny thing was that the guy at the second counter didn’t even bother to check, but just asked me what I wanted (a coffee, as it happens).
While brushing my teeth in the morning, I noticed the water in the sink turned a bit orange/brown, before becoming clear again. Scary. I wondered if it was just a trick of the light, but then it happened again, this time for longer. Worrying, indeed. I turned off the tap and turned it back again, and the water clear once more. I decided to mention it to the landlady later on.
The hours until 8am passed reasonably quickly. I spent the first three hours or so in this French-style bar, until the security gates opened. Before I went in, I of course went through the routine of taking out all of the ‘liquids’ in my bag and putting them in a clear plastic bag to show at security. As I went through the x-ray scanner, the beep went (don’t we all dread that!), and I was asked to take off my shoes and undergo a body check. The security guy mumbled something while he was doing it, and then, a few seconds later, in a louder voice, asked me to “Just say no.” Then I realised he’d been talking to me earlier and asking me if I had any metal objects on me. Ah, the downside of staying awake too long!
Well here I am again at Stansted Airport ready to while away the wee hours before my early morning flight to Parma. I’m heading off for a five day trip in northern Italy, taking in Parma, La Spezia, Verona, and the valley region of Val Camonica near Brescia.