The hitch-hike from Venice to Trieste was achieved with the minimum of fuss, for once. One bus from town to near the airport, a taxi driver who took us for nothing, a wise old lady whose car had some serious roof issues and a portly Italian gentleman, and we were in Trieste before lunchtime. After a coffee kick, we were ready to find our couchsurfing host, the wonderfully interesting Milad a PhD neuroscience student from Iran.
Trieste is perhaps the least typical of all the Italian cities we have visited. The architecture is a crazy mix of Austrian, Slavic and Italian influences with the Germanic austerity dominating (no surprise there then :). The people were also different to the Italians we had encountered, more measured, controlled and friendlier. Perhaps it is living next to the sea or the relative lack of monuments to attract the tour groups but the city felt more relaxed with space to breathe. Or maybe I felt that because we had just come from the tourist Mecca of Venice.
Our stay with Milad was interesting to say the least; he is a very intelligent man whose speed of thought enabled him to skip between the sciences as I would skip between dishes at a buffet. We talked about physics, biology, psychology and the unanswerable God question. Through his studies Milad moved in academic circles and we were lucky enough to be invited to the birthday meal of his Turkish friend Ertuğrul. The weight of intelligence in the room was mind-boggling, not often in my life have I felt like the stupidest person in the room but a little self-deprecation here, a splash of story-telling there and I found a niche in which to sit myself.
We finished our stay in Italy with a dip in the Adriatic. Well, I say we, Ania spend 15 minutes staring intently at the water before deciding she didn’t like the look of the waves so I waded in alone, got a big mouthful of dirty, salty water and decided: ‘that would do’.
Italy is a country in which we really only scratched the surface but learned enough to know that one day we will have to return. The history, culture, weather and natural diversity is simply stunning; it’s just a shame that the path has been beaten so frequently that the natives are extremely cynical, not to mention sometimes down right rude. Ciao Italy, until next time.
written by: Jon
Follow our 2 month hitch-hiking trip across the north of Italy and the Balkan Peninsula:‘The Balkan Peninsula by Thumb 2013′. It’s happening now!
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