Saturday, June 22, 2013


For every departure there is an arrival -- a banality, yes, that, but one that most certainly describes this day for me.

Leaving Sorede. We're in the old bakery and Ed finds his usual chair to sit in while I do the purchases.
Two pains au chocolat.
Monsieur is tired? The bread ladies laugh. It is rather early to be tired already.

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Oh, it's the end of our vacation, I explain, only half truthfully. I limit myself to statements that are quickly and easily said in French. The line is forming, I can't linger. Still, I do want to say goodbye. People come and go, they write blogs, they stop writing them for unstated reasons, they disappear. I don't want to be like that. Let them believe that they were important enough to us these two weeks that, when we leave, we say thank you and good bye.

We'd said goodbye to Gunter and Baerbel (our hosts) already. In fact, I'd been up since daybreak cleaning the little apartment; it is a point of pride for me to turn it over nearly as spotless as it was presented to us. I am so grateful that in the first year of our stay in Sorede (in a place with issues) we came across their rental unit, tended with such care! I want them to know how happy and proud we are to be their returning guests. I say this with a choke in my voice. [We wont see them next June, but we're hatching other plans, other possibilities -- I am never without ideas!]

Ed had taken our walking sticks -- ones we carefully picked on the mountain, in the midst of our hike, not relishing a steep descent without something to hang onto -- and hid them carefully in the forest, just to the side of our Sorede home.
Look -- they'll be here (he leads me to a hidden spot, chosen with care, so that rains and winds wont carry them away), in case you come back without me.

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We talk like that, he and I. We take nothing for granted.

So now we are at the cafe bar one last time, chomping away on the pains as if nothing is different, even as I can tell that the configuration of sun and shade is entirely different than in the late mornings when we were typically here.

Did I tell you it is, again, a brilliantly sunny morning?

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the mountain we scaled

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the walk to the upper square

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a grandfather and his little one, under the linden tree

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the cafe bar

I say to our spectacular waitress as well that we are leaving.
So soon?
The French have such quaint ideas about the length of vacations.

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I drive us out of Sorede, pulling up just outside our village to take in the view.

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One last time, the loveliness of the place. No, really, just one last time!


And then it's a smooth sail to Barcelona airport (without traffic, barely a two hour drive; the speed limits are very high here). As we park our rental car, we see the enormous lines of people, waiting to pick up their vehicles. Oh, vacation has come to southern Europe! Time to leave!

We have tickets on Easy Jet -- one of any number of discount airlines that shuttle passengers between popular European destinations (eg: Barcelona to Milan: under $40). It's a no frill airline that charges for everything over and above the bare minimum, but that's fine. We are traveling with the bare minimum. Including the leftovers from our Soredian refrigerator. Which make for a fine lunch, on the airport floor.

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Initially I groan. From the beauty of the Sorede patio to this? But I see how carefully Ed has laid out all our leftovers, how sweetly charming it is to eat these favorites of ours on the floor of a busy terminal (before security, so we can finish up the juices and waters)  and I melt.

We fly to Milan and again, it's all easy -- no delays, no excitement in the air or on the ground -- just the perfect flight and the perfect bus ride to town where, at the train station, we find the perfect cafe bar (so urban!) to while away the hour until the train departs.

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Where to? Trieste for tonight -- an Italian port town just at the border with Slovenia. 

Not many of us travel great distances to spend time in Trieste, unless we're in fact bound for Slovenia or Croatia. Trieste is surrounded on two sides by Slovenia and on one side by water - which should give you a good idea of what tugs existed in its past. Wiki tells me that at one time, Trieste was the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. These days, if someone were to ask me what associations I have with the city, I'll say -- it's a port.

That it is. But as we pull into the station -- the last stop after a 4.5 hour ride -- we see none of that. It's nearly midnight and we're tired. I have a vague idea as to where our hotel is located and so we set out, on foot, in search of the little Hotel Coppe.

Well now, it may be nearly midnight, but there are several notable things about Trieste: the full moon (the largest of 2013!) shines brightly on this beautiful now not-so-large city!

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And, as its Saturday, there are a great many people out and about. Many many cafes and bars are open -- lots of places to pick up an ice cream cone. We do that. Dinner was an inconsequential thing -- eating on the train any leftovers we could dig up from our packs -- stale bread, a warm chunk of cheese, Figueres oranges. An ice cream now sounds exquisite.

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And finally, there's our little Coppe -- old outside, modern and all white inside, welcoming.

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You'd think we'd throw down the bags and stay in our room, but no. The city beckons. We go out. Not for long, not far, but enough to see and admire a most beautiful communal space -- the square that spills out to the sea.

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I can't focus on details now -- it is so very late and loading even more photos seems like such a chore, but I did want to note here that the city tonight belongs to the young people

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Okay, maybe not that young. I'm thinking of the dating years -- when women dress well and guys dress less well and there are groups of each and occasional pairings and it all feels like we've stepped into a world one third our age.

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But this is hardly a complaint. It's a vibrant lovely world out there in Trieste tonight. We're happy we caught a little glimpse of it.

From Italy, briefly, a good night, under the supermoon  that we have over us all tonight.