Saturday, May 24, 2014

Trieste - Primo (First)

We arrived in Trieste a little after noon on May 18th. We walked the kilometer or so to where Darrell’s meeting was going to be held in a beautiful old stone building. Around the back of it was a newer cement addition where we stayed. On the ground floor was a gym and an area for kids to learn languages and play after school. On the second floor was a dormitory where most of the conference participants stayed. Breakfast was included, but it was only rolls with butter and jam and coffee. The joke about an Italian breakfast being coffee and cigarettes was true I guess!

Trieste is in the red area in the northeast of Italy
You can guess by Trieste’s location that control of Trieste has changed over time. It was a colony under Roman rule during the time of Julius Caesar. It was held by the Byzantines, the Franks, the Venetians, the Habsburgs, yada yada! World War II ended with Slovenia (part of Yugoslavia at the time) losing Trieste to Italy. Because Slovenia is now an EU country, there are no border controls between the two and relationships are friendly with lots of cross-migration.

After settling in, we walked along the harbor area, and had an espresso to perk up from our early morning. We met Jason Briner, one of Darrell’s past students who is now a professor at SUNY-Buffalo, and walked up to the main fortification over town, the Castle of San Giusto.

Jason and Darrell with a view of the city
The next day, Monday, Darrell had a meeting with a smaller group prior to the conference. I toured Trieste on foot. One of the prettier parts of the city is around the Grand Canal. There is only one canal, unlike nearby Venice, but there is nothing like water or parks to break up the hardscape of the city!

Grand Canal in Trieste
Tuesday was the conference excursion to the Italian Alps to observe glacial features. While crossing terminal moraines among the fields was exciting, lunch was the highlight for me. We were in one of the main ham areas in Italy, and there is lots of prosciutto being shipped all over the world from here.

Pre-proscuitto hanging in the chilled room
Italian meals come in courses. You can have antipasto before the first course. Then the first course, primo, is usually a pasta dish. The second course, secondo, is usually meat or fish. Normally Darrell and I didn’t get past the primo, but we had a small tortellini dish this time, and then we had prosciutto for the secondo. Desert was a nutty cake served with an espresso.


After lunch we ventured up higher and higher into the alps. We stopped at a ski resort when the bus couldn’t go further, and I took a picture of this unidentified flower for our friend Vera to identify. No pressure, Vera! It seemed like it had already gone to seed, but the flower may have just been seed-like because it looked hairy even before it opened up.

Alpine flower or fuzzy weed!
We hiked up to a viewpoint to see the small remnant glaciers, and listened to the local geologist tell us about the extent of the glaciers during the Little Ice Age. We are so lucky that the scientific world now uses English as their primary language. The conference attendees were mostly from Europe and Russia, so any other language would have lost us. It is fun to hear conversations in so many languages all around us!

View of the Alps - Slovenia is just over the ridge!

No comments:

Post a Comment