|Trieste surprised us. It is grand, with wide avenues and miles of palaces and palazzos. No tourists. Lots of students. Lots of history. Nice people. Not a lot of hotel space, and we got the last room at the hotel again. It overlooks a busy square, with intercity buses dropping people off and picking up all night. The room though was great, very old hotel with ultramodern makeover. The wireless keypad in th room let us control the tv, or surf the internet, but very slowly. I was solicited as I walked to the train station one night to buy tickets to Venice. We only go to the best places.
We took a tram ride up the cornice. No views to speak of, and at the top is a small town, residential, not touristy and nothing to see. Still, the old rickety tram was an experience, with a sign on my seat advising me to give it up to anyone injured in the war.
We wemt to Miramare, a sparkling white castle on a point of land a short ride north. There was a friendly passenger who helped us find the right bus, and the driver, in spite of the scowl, helped too. The castle is tucked away in a park. All designed by Prince Maximillian, heir to the Habsburgs, but he lived there only a short time. He died soon after he became Emperor of Mexico and went to inspect his holdings. Empires are nothing but trouble.
The palace is pretty much as it was left. Stunning views, period furnishings. His bedroom is small and designed to look like his cabin on one of the ships in his navy. Her apartments are more like what you would expect.
The other striking thing here is the largest synagogue in Europe. We heard that the largest is also in Budapest. The community is now only about 400, but when this was built Trieste was a major center in the Austrohungarian Empire (I hope I am remembering my history correctly, or at least well enough to fool you all.) The synagogue was magnificent, still in use. Everything in it is on a large scale. Powerful feeling to stand up at the front. The organ in the balcony was never used on Shabbat or holidays, mostly for weddings, but was needed to compete with all those austentacious churches that we were trying to best.
We ate in a small neighbourhood pizza joint, wandered the pre Easter markets, and shivered in the damp chill. Next to Venice.