Hi, I'm Andrew and I'm a photographer in Durban, South Africa. I work as a travel, commercial and event photographer, also offering portraiture, food, architectural and wedding photography. I also enjoy taking abstract, landscape and wildlife images. Please take a look at my portfolio, or contact me about doing a photo shoot.

Trieste and Venice

Posted on: January 2nd, 2013 by andrewrhb No Comments

I arrived in Trieste on a bus from Croatia, travelling through part of Slovenia on a route that promised stunning views if it hadn’t been for the mist.

It was early morning and the good citizens of Trieste were on their way to work. I had booked into the hotel James Joyce, appropriately named after one of it’s most famous (and one of Triestes favourite) inhabitants. Alas, the map I had took me in the general right direction, but that was it. I overshot and spent the best part of an hour roaming Triestes streets looking for the place. My bad Italian was matched by a surprising lack of local knowledge by Triestes inhabitants. It was by pure luck that I looked up in exasperation and found myself outside the front door……

I spent two days exploring Trieste and it’s surrounds, and in many ways I had a feeling of Deja Vu…  the Austrian and Slavic influences in the city are immediately obvious…. 

Trieste has only been part of Italy since 1954, having been a free territory for much of it’s recent existance… a major shipbuilding and financial centre in the north eastern part of the Adriatic… 

One can visit both the Castle San Giusto in the center of Trieste, and the Mirimare Castle, situated 8km up the coast.

By means of busses, ferries and trams, it is possible to get around all of Trieste and it’s surroundings….. I decided to catch the famous No 2 tram to go up to Villa Opicina, which is situated above Trieste and has stunning views of the city and the coast line. I had been waiting for half an hour with no sign of the tram, before I turned and read a notice which, even in Italian, made it clear that the tram was out of order. Fortunately a bus service was deputising.  There is a forest full of walking and running trails for the fitness enthusiasts, which offer peace and quiet and amazing views of the area. Villa Opicina is also very close to the caves in an area known as the Carso. The most famous cave being the Grotta Gigante, the largest tourist cave in the world, big enough to house the entire of St Peters in Rome.

  

In all honesty, two days is not nearly enough time to do justice to Trieste. There is just too much to see and do..

Muggia, a seaside resort is a short ferry ride away; The Riseria di San Sabba, a national monument and the location of the only WW2 concentration camp situated in Italy. Arts and culture abound, as should be expected; retail therapy for those in need; and the main square, the Piazzo Unita d’Italia (the largest city square facing onto the ocean anywhere in Europe) is surrounded by cafes and restuarants, allowing one to indulge in food, wine and people watching.

 

many Trieste inhabitants (and tourists) spend the evenings on the waterfront, socialising, chilling or rowing..

I will return to Trieste as it is one of my favourite places… and I never gave it the time it deserves to be explored… apart from all the local attractions, it’s proximity to Slovenia and Croatia make it the perfect springboard, or endpoint, to visits to these two countries.

Alas, all too soon I was on the two hour train trip to Venice. So much has been written and photographed of Venice that I shall keep any stories and descriptions to a minimum and rather show off some of my photos of the place.

That said, Venice is probably the easiest city in the world to get lost in; and the easiest to work out where one is. Keeping in mind the location of the Grand canal and which island one is on, I found it pretty easy to find my way back to some sort of familiar mark when I did venture off the beaten track.

If I can offer any advice to a first time visitor to Venice, it is this. get an accurate map from your point of arrival to your accomodation, or perhaps better still… ask your hosts to meet you. After my search through Trieste I e-mailed the hotel I was staying at in Venice for directions. They were good, but I still managed to miss the turn off to the hotel, and only found it because I have learnt to ask..

I was there in October, Autumn and was hoping to avoid the crowds. I guess that in some ways I did, but an iconic place like Venice is always popular. I found myself doing a lot of my exploring off the beaten track during the day and only really lookied at the popular places at night.

Venice is a tourist trap, and prices are high, especially in restuarants, more so those situated in the popular areas. I ended up paying over 30 euros for a second rate pizza and a dinky of red wine at a place near St Marks square. Rather look for food away from the canal and the square.  I found a little shop that served pizza and calzone slices with cold beer at a fraction of the price, and double the quality. yup, one has to stand inside the shop, but that all adds to the atmosphere.

That said, I did find a small trattoria away from the madding crowd late at night and spent an enjoyable evening chatting to the hosts and waitrons, who were interested in finding out more about South Africa.

As a photographer, I find that I am always looking for a different angle to take photos at, and in doing this I almost dumped myself and my equipment into a small canal when I lost my footing on a very slippery step trying to get as low as possible. this was made worse when my slop came off and was washed away by the bow wave of a passing water taxi… a half dozen or so residents found it amusing to watch this tourist trying to save hios footwear.

Once again, I did not have enough time to see the city in detail, I probably needed another two days. If I do return, it will be out of holiday season, and a lot wiser in my choice of eateries… and a final word of advice, get a one or two day pass for one of the water bus lines… it saves one money and they more or less transport one anywhere in Venice….

I also did not get to visit any of the art galleries or museums, but was fortunate enough to catch a short rehearsal in the opera house of Verdi’s La Traviata before they opened that night… awesome….

Both Trieste and Venice are bursting with culture and history… and I must admit, it is something that I just haven’t seen enough of…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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