Happy week to you,
We’ve been on our feet the past few days tripping to Trieste, Zagreb, and Lake Bled. Speaking of which, why have Europeans been giving us the ‘once over’ finishing at our lower extremities? In the absence of extra phalanges or claws for nails, we finally realized that the humble jandal is responsible for our smile denial. Though not the best looker, these rubber lovers will not be axed due to their lightweight and shower protection qualities, regardless of turned down noses. Thin skinned, these happy hobbits did quickly scurry off to purchase linen shirts…ensuring that at least the top half is on point.
Ok so on to Trieste…Travel writer Jan Morris (in Lonely Planet) got it so right in describing Trieste as a city of “prickly grace”. This port town, nearly cut off entirely from Italy, feels like it has experienced apocalypse and mass exodus in bygone eras only to be recently repopulated and gentrified by a total pick ‘n’ mix of cultures. The result is an interesting, but at times confused, city that is waiting for people to show up to the party. With a new casual, cool clique in town (tatted and organic, of course), fantastic coffee everywhere (home of Illy), sprawl of up and coming shops, and some sensational locals (thank you to the wholesome, hearty laughed, and engaging Tamara for looking after us at her B&B), it might not be too long before Trieste sheds its braces and attains its potential.
After Trieste, we trained to Zagreb. In the 12 hours we were there, I was stunned with the number of young backpackers around the place. A location that is relatively cheap and has free public transport (was it free, or did I thieve again? I’m not entirely sure), I can see the attraction. Zagreb has an awesome central city hostel (we got to sleep in individual rocket beds) and excellent wine bar showcasing Croatia’s finest right next door. A fly by nighter, but more of Croatia to come.
Just yesterday we picked up our new mode of transport, a dinged up rental with a touchy sweet spot (a few stalls to be expected, right?) and a steering wheel on the other side of the car. So far, Maia’s loving the motorways and doing a great job of the driving – especially roundabouts! Sadly, I am unable to have a go as dad, in expletive fury, gave up on my manual lessons the first time I took to the open road at 15 (I don’t think I’m cut out for that kind of coordination).
Knight Rider drove us to Lake Bled, an insanely popular but strikingly vivid setting in the Julian Alps. Highlights were a hike up to the castle, Vintgar gorge (do this after 6pm as there’s hardly anyone there!), and the clarity of the lake itself. Absolutely stunning.
We are now back in Croatia and tomorrow get to explore Plitvice Lakes.
Missing you all back home and abroad. A special shout out to Bren and Kris on their engagement. Looking forward to a toast(s) when we get home.
Reading: Robert Harris, Pompeii (**); Joanna Rakoff, My Salinger Year (****); Lionel Shriver, The Post-Birthday World (***).
Listening to: Shaun’s playlist – retro hits getting some air time today.