Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Leaving Trieste

Unfamiliar cities in foreign countries are daunting. They are filled with streets with unpronouncable names, odd angles and a feeling of timelessness. Last year as I navigated the streets of Trieste, my eyes were automatically drawn to certain aspects of the city to help me find my way. The height of buildings, the colours of the walls, the location of the bus stops. As I pounded the pavement of the-not-so numerous streets here a half dozen, a dozen, hundreds of times, the city around me shifted and I noticed its more subtle treats. The spill of afternoon light on the leaves of its numerous sycamore trees, the way a mess of vines spills forth from a loosely bricked wall, the amazing cloudscapes in the sky. As I take in the more subtle details, the city changes character before my eyes; streets have become familiar and appear completely transformed from when I first walked along them.

There are so many aspects of living in Trieste I will miss: the variety of different architectural styles whose names I never bothered to learn, being completely and utterly surrounded by glorious nature. I will miss all the amazing running trails I never got to know. I will miss the Italian adoration of babies. I will miss the seemingly random and hilariously translated snatches of English that can be seen in and around town "For opening door, press button and pull handle contemporarily." Above all, I will miss long, lazy days in the park playing with la cocotte. I will miss the alps and living within a 3 hour drive of 3 different countries; where I come from one can literally drive for a day and a half and still be in the province next door - (for any Canadians reading, sing it with me: "A place to stand. A place to grow. Ontari-ari-ari-o."). I will also miss the person that this year has allowed me to become. Moving away means, to some degree, having the opportunity to re-invent oneself, letting go of unhealthy patterns and making room for healthier ones. I hope I can carry some of that home with me.

I went for a run last week-end with some of the runners I have met here. As we ran along, the talk was about a half-marathon coming up in the fall in Palmanova. This was the first race I ran after my pregnancy last year. It was so strange to hear them talking about a race I have already run; every month here, every race, every happening so far has been new to me. As they chatted about who was going to Palmanova I thought to myself: "Oh, this is where I got on, we're at my stop, the end of this crazy, wonderful ride. Time to get off."

Cloudscape over Trieste from Castello San Giusto

View of Trieste through window in castle wall

Delightful view from our house.

Roman ruins outside of Castello San Giusto

Piazza Unita' in a driving rain storm, the covered area we were standing in was flooded shortly after this photo was taken. I wish we had taken the photo in FRONT of the garbage can so that the emphasis was on the piazza, not the garbage can but we did not want to get closer to the rain with our camera. Take a second to click on the photo to appreciate just how intense the rain was. In the far distance, probably not visible, is the Adriatic.

Same piazza taken 3 ours later after the rain from the other end. The first photo was taken under the clock tower one can see in the background. I love the indigo colour that was chosen for the lights in the piazza.


  1. I am kind of sad on your behalf, though I know you are looking forward to going back. It is just hard that a little piece of our spirit has to die when we leave a place we have made our home. I agree that the cyclical nature of races helps define life and give us something constant. I had never looked at it exactly like that before, but I know what you mean about wanting to be at a race again. Pretty pictures, too. You're quite the photographic Monet with the piazza at different times of the day :). I am sorry we will miss you and the family at the cheese fest in Wisconsin in September. Not that we'll even be close, but you know, WI is still my old home. Happy and safe travels!

  2. That was really well written! You've been holding out on us...

    It's funny how, when you look back, you're surprised at how you've changed, rather than how everything else changes - I found myself describing a 100 mile race to someone, then pausing to realize I actually did run that race; it just doesn't seem like it was me who did it.

    I have to look up the cheese festival on my schedule; it's a competition among artisans, but I forget where or when.