To start the big Balkan trip this summer we split in teams and went from Chiavenna in Italy (close to Switzerland) to Croatia down the coast, being the Pre-gathering at Kupari beach, close to Dubrovnik the next destiny. The first night we slept in Trieste. I had imagined the city to be very different, I had always been thinking it was a small, romantic kind of fishermen’s´ town. Instead I found a huge, touristy, modern city. But it was still a nice city, sitting on a hill, looking over the Adriatic sea.
As I found out later, Trieste was one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy and therefore historically pretty important in Europe. It became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later, after the Second World War it was a spot were the East and the West met. Nowadays it’s one of the richest regions of Italy as centre for container shipping and financial services. That’s hitchhiking, you get to know places you would never have visited otherwise.
I´m always happy with learning languages italian while hitchhiking. In this trip the most mentioned term was “tiempo bruto” – bad weather. It was raining, but we came closer to Trieste steadily and there at the coast the clouds had disappeared completely. Two students took us the last part and we asked them about where we could sleep wild camping, not too far away. They explained us, that if we just walked up the hill there were some woods where we could easily pitch our tents and sleep, or hide them there and go and see the city first. There was just one road going up the hill, so we couldn’ t miss it, maybe 20 minutes, half an hour walk. So we agreed they leave us in the centre. It was already quite late, we bought the cheapest food we could find, olives bread and red wine, and sat down by the water to eat and watch the sunset. The food I eat on my travels, tastes always better than at home!
After dinner it was dark. We had no idea where to find that road up the hill. I asked some young people that seemed cool with wild camping and they agreed on it being the only spot in the city to sleep, they went to a sport centre there and behind it there were trees and bushes, but it was half an hour by bus going uphill, walking it would take us hours according to them. Then it still took us time to find the right bus, I asked about 5 times, everyone indicating a different way, but that’s how you learn languages, right? In the end we found it, had a good sleep including a nightly visit of a deer or something, making noise and running around. Then in the morning we enjoyed an impressive panorama view from up there.
On the next day it was sunny and hot as one likes it to be summer in Italy. We decided to separate and spend the day each exploring the city each on his/her own. My friend went walking all the way down and then found a café were they gave away English novels, I spent the day sitting for hours in the harbour watching sailing boats and drawing, close by someone played Cuban salsa music. Then losing time reading and drinking one (delicious and super cheap) espresso after another in one of the cafés. Then I took a walk around but it was hot and the backpack heavy, so I sat down again on a different spot at the docks, getting a tan, eating apples and taking pictures of the seagulls in the sunset. Waiting for our friends from the Chiavenna crew to arrive. When they finally appeared, after all the hugging we went to eat pizza and then pitched our tents in a park on the hill, but not that far up (we then had a map). On the next morning we seperated in two teams and started our way hitchhiking to Croatia!