Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our Italian weekend - Part 1

Our adventure to Italy began at 3:30pm on Friday afternoon. According to Google and the GPS, Aviano, Italy was about 6 - 6 1/2 hours away but once again it took us a little longer to arrive, 2 hours longer to be exact. Our drive was pretty smooth and uneventful until we reached the Alps where we started to get a little bit of rain which turned into a lot of rain. We apparently crossed the Alps at one of the highest elevations so as we climbed up, we watched the temperature drop and then we witnessed the rain turn into snow. SNOW! Big, fat, wet clumps of snow bombarding our car and accumulating on the road and the surrounding trees on the mountainside. We had to slow WAY down for the weather and I started to worry that I didn't pack enough warm clothes. Luke, however, thought the snow was hilarious and laughed most of the way. As we descended down the mountain the temperature rose and when we arrived in Aviano, at 11:40pm, it was 10 degrees Celsius (about 50 degrees Fahrenheit). We stayed at the Air Force base in Aviano and Saturday morning we woke up to a gorgeous day (the temperature was in the mid 60s all weekend), had breakfast and stopped by their base bazaar that just happened to be going on that weekend. It was 2 airplane hangars FULL of vendors from all over Europe. We had a great time looking around and found a few pieces of furniture we would have loved to purchase but there was no way for us to get those pieces home. After the bazaar we headed to lunch at an amazing little Italian restaurant where I had spaghetti carbonara (YUM!) and Brian had a great tomato and feta pizza. After lunch it was off to Trieste, a beautiful coastal Italian city near Slovania.
According to Wikipedia.org, "Trieste was a part of Austria from 1382 until 1918 when it was one of the few sea ports in the Great Powers of Europe. It was among the most prosperous Mediterranean seaports as well as a capital of literature and music. However, the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Trieste's annexation to Italy after World War I led to a decline of its economic and cultural importance." Trieste has had a long history of border struggles and rulings from various countries. In the 1940s, Trieste was divided into 2 parts, 1 part run by Allied Military Government (American troops) and the other part was to be annexed to Yugoslavia. The military leader of socialist Yugoslavia made several attempts to take over the other part of Trieste and those battles were the very first battles of the Cold War. In 1975, the Treaty of Osimo settled the border dispute with Yugoslavia.
Currently Trieste's importance as a port city is on the rise again after a huge decline. Italy has better situated ports to use than Trieste and the existence of a newer port in Slovania. Trieste, however, does have significant commercial shipping to the container terminal, steel works and oil terminals (this area is one of the most UNattractive parts of the city but you can't see it from the heart of the city or the marina, you have to drive further along the coast to run into it. It is huge and rusty and overwhelming and tucked away southeast of the main harbor and city center.
We spent about 2 hours walking along the harbor and marina area of Trieste (Luke loved seeing all the sailboats and didn't quite understand why he couldn't go on them) and into the town square where we found a carousel that Luke took a few turns on. It was a gorgeous drive into town and a fun walk through the town and as we left, we headed south for a few more kilometers so we could say that we visited Slovania as well. We crossed the border and then turned around to head back to the hotel to gear up for our Sunday in Venice.
Here are the pictures from our Trieste adventure, including a couple of the Alps before we got hit with snow.

Approaching the Alps

And again...

Right outside of Austria - we had to stop and get a pass for our car so I took advantage and snapped a couple pictures of the mountains with the cows in the foreground. :)
Ahhhh!!! How could I forget to tell you? That amazing Italian restaurant we ate at in Aviano, well, here is their not-so-amazing toliet! It's called a Turkish toilet and it is right at floor level. See where you are supposed to put your feet as you squat and hover over the bowl? CRAZY! Luke walked into the stall and said "What's that?" I told him it was a potty and he thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen "OOOOOOO - it's a POTTY!" He had a great time using it. Me, not so much. Pregnant lady hovering over a hole in the ground, nice. Anyways, I called it a crazy potty so every time we saw a toilet that was different than an American one, Luke was quick to point out the "crazy potty".
The Italian restaurant we ate at - mountains in the background
Approaching Trieste
Town hall
Me (25 weeks preggo now) and Luke
In front of the Town Hall

The carousel ride!
I know that the quality of the picture isn't the best but this is the cutest picture ever of Brian and Luke.

The sailboats
Walking along the harbor

The marina AKA Luke's paradise
And here is Slovania


Homemade Zen said...

wow awesome! btw the "turkish" toilet are everywhere in asia too...

Emily of Ella-Bear Bowtique said...

Luke is right, that potty is crazy! LOL. I always found the bathrooms in Europe to be interesting, to say the least. :)

Looks like a great trip! Looking forward to seeing your other posts about it.

smokeymountainscents said...

Wow. Looks like you had a wonderful time there. One of the things I miss about Europe. The Turkish potty is too funny.