A walk on the waterfront


Trieste Aquarium

It’s been a busy week. The washer didn’t get delivered until Thursday, but I found an organic grocery store up where the waterfront takes a turn to the right around the harbor and up a couple of blocks inland. It’s about a 20 minute walk from my place.

My brother came on Friday and hauled me out to the Ikea near Palmanova so that I could get some supplies for the house – laundry things, a little lamp for my bedside, a desk chair (which I am now comfortably perched in instead of the hard kitchen chair), and some stuff for the kitchen. What a difference a comfortable chair makes!

Today I didn’t have anything pressing to do so I decided to go for a walk along the waterfront. My first stop was the aquarium. Entry is €4.50 and I didn’t have quite enough in my pocket, so I went in search of a bancomat. By the time I’d got cash, I would only have had about 45 minutes to see the place, and I have no idea how much time I’d actually want to spend inside, so I went to lunch instead. I had Chinese (lemon chicken that wasn’t half bad) at a place on the tree-lined waterfront walk along Riva del Mandracchio.

The aquarium is an interesting building from the outside, formerly a fish market. Its high ceilings can be seen through broad glass windows and ironwork, while the outside features images of sea life along the roofline. I’m quite interested in checking it out, but I knew I should save it for a later day.


Aquarium detail: octopus!



After lunch, I continued up the Riva to the little park at Piazza Venezia, which features a statue of Maximilian of Austria, once Emperor of Mexico. Maximilian himself isn’t really all that interesting to me visually, but the four winged supporting figures around him are rather more so. I don’t know for certain who or what they are intended to represent. One is an African figure with a Pharaonic headdress. Another is a figure bearing what looks like a harpoon, wearing a lion skin, reminiscent of Heracles.


Maximilian statue: Winged African figure

Maximilian statue: Heraclean harpoon wielder with hippocampus riders

Harpoon and lion-skin

Walking further along the waterfront, where the coast takes a sharp turn to the right toward the freight rail yard, I came to the marina and a forest of masts. There’s a lighthouse there a little further along, but by that time my hips were starting to bother me, and I knew it was time to turn back. The view of the city through the masts of the boats in dock was really lovely, with the clouds descending slowly from the Carso.


Marina and lighthouse


Trieste from the marina

On my way home I stopped for a macchiato at Specchi. My receipt said “cappuccino Triestino.” I’ve been told that macchiato and cappuccino are pretty much exactly the opposite things here of what they are in the rest of Italy, but I got what I ordered, with a tiny cup of whipped cream and a little chocolate to go with it.

As I sat outside in the piazza, I watched the city go by. Dogs barked and attempted to chase pigeons (less than successful, considering they were leashed). Kids rode bicycles and played with soccer balls. A couple entered the caffè, speaking to each other in sign.

I stopped briefly at the tourist office just off the main piazza to ask about a bus map. The woman at the office said there wasn’t really a transit map, but she gave me some bus route numbers for places like Castello Miramare, Grotta Gigante, and the natural history museum. “Everything else, you can walk to from here,” she said. Bus 42 will take me to the cave from Piazza Oberdan, not far from my flat, and I think it stops by the train station as well. It’s about a half hour trip. There are hour-long guided tours and a visitor’s center out there. Bus 6 will take me out to Miramare. I’m definitely interested in both and will probably do one or the other sometime soon.


15 thoughts on “A walk on the waterfront

  1. I have a hunch (but please correct me if I’m wrong), that when you go to Miramare, you’ll find a connection with Maximilian of Austria. And, if it’s not that monument, then there’s another. showing 4 continents (ignoring poor old Australia, maybe it wasn’t known then).

    You’re surely finding your feet! Brava.


    • Oh, yes, definitely. It was his castle before he and his wife left to go get themselves slaughtered in Mexico. (Well, okay, I know he died. I’m not sure if they shipped her back to Trieste instead. I’ll have to go have a look on wiki or something.)

      I think it’s vaguely possible that the four figures here might be representing four continents, but it’s not clear to me who the harpoon-wielder is supposed to represent, and both of the female figures look European. I’m wondering if it’s not actually more of a four elements thing, really. The big fountain in Piazza Unità is more obviously a four continents or four directions representation, and I’ll have to get some good photos of that on a sunny day as well.

  2. Yes, you are definately missing the chilly. Ice on the Tolt, Puyallap, and Snohomish rivers, the fountains at the Science Center froze. And we aren’t nearly as bad off as other parts of the US.

  3. Oooooh! Looking forward to when you go to the Aquarium! How clever (sure it was more like convenience or coincidence) to have the aquarium in what was a fish market. The designs there are cool! I’m not happy, of course, for the why you’re there, but I am happy that you’re finding such interesting and awesome things! The idea of exploring someplace like that really tickles me.
    Oh, my gosh, but you are so not wrong about how much difference a good chair can make! Ye gawdz.
    Wishing you well always and cheering for your little adventures!

    • Well, once I actually get to the aquarium, I’ll take more photos, be assured. 😉

      I think it’s important to find interesting things to do and to explore stuff to find the places I want to hang out and the things I want to spend my time here at. It’s not a really big city, but it’s a very nice one, and that makes up for a lot, I think.

  4. hi,

    Interesting speculation about Maximilian’s angels representing the 4 directions. The Harpoon wielder has a lot in common with traditional depictions of Hercules (lion skin), but that is as far as I get with that. Maybe some day when you are in the piazza you’ll cross paths with a tour group off one of the cruise ships and you can eavesdrop in on an explanation.

    I’m glad something at IKEA worked out for you! I felt badly after recommending it and the read what happened after your first trip there. My husband is an academic and we shipped 3,000 books to Italy, and we bought IKEA bookshelves for at least half of them. So far no problems with collapse! But his books aren’t anything special. A lot of cheap paperbacks!

    It may be the receipt that says “cappuccino Triestino” just reflects the fact that the cash register is old and only has a number of options. I don’t know what a cappuccino Trestino is, but a macchiato is usually a single shot of espresso served in tiny cup or glass and “stained” with a swipe of milk froth as a finish. And never whipped cream on the side! (This is Austrian for sure!) A cappuccino in most of Italy is a shot of espresso served in a big cup, with hot milk dumped into it and spooned-over froth “capping” it all.

    So far no bora, eh? When I saw how nice and clean that bronze statue looked I wondered if the bora scrubbed it clean a couple of times a year.


    • So far no bora. I’m counting myself lucky!

      I haven’t had Ikea shelves collapse on me, but I have definitely had trouble with the shelves bowing badly under the weight. I need stuff that’s slightly sturdier, not made of chip board. Plywood works better, solid wood is best, but both are expensive for obvious reasons. I may cave and go with them just to have a place to put stuff, but I’ll have to not load them down quite so much as sturdier shelves, at least for the really heavy books.

      I doubt that the register is the issue. The place has been there for a very long time. If it were that that register is old, it would be showing prices in lire, not euros. I know that there are differences here in language and usage from the rest of Italy, so I’m leaning toward that being the reason. I asked for a macchiato and got one, so I was satisfied. I thought the line on the receipt was an interesting curiosity. I do know, however, that the teas their register lists are more limited than the menu, or that the menu changed since the register was programmed.

  5. PS: Have you checked out the Synagogue yet? It is only open some hours, not many, but it is an amazing building even from the outside. I seem to recall hearing there are several good bakeries around there too.

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