Firenze SMN – Bologna Centrale – Venezia Mestre – Mogliano Veneto – Venezia Mestre – Trieste

After three super days in and around Florence it was time to say our goodbyes. We’d all enjoyed this place, far enough out of the centre to be quiet but also near to lots of interesting places. We will miss our apartment with the grumpy statue inside the front door and the dramatic unlocking button for the front door that sounded like the opening sequence of Porridge!

We walked back to the station and said our goodbyes as this was where we would head off in different directions again.

First call for me was a stop in Bologna to catch up with Gilly, briefly. She had seen Carmen again the night after we’d been together in Milan and had an autographed note to pass to me, which was a really kind thought. We sat and chatted in a coffee shop near to the station for a while. I’ve been so lucky with very good friendships made through music across the continent over the years. Gilly and I were introduced at a Suzanne Vega concert in London many years ago, but over the years have been much more likely to meet at one of Carmen’s shows, and there’s no doubt that I would not have explored anything like as much of Italy if we’d not got to know each other. Ironically, Bologna itself is a place that I’ve not yet explored, but I will put that right at some point!

The destination for today was Trieste, a city I’ve not visited before. The first train was to Mestre, which is essentially the mainland junction for Venice. As such it’s a very busy station, with services constantly arriving and departing. As we pulled into the station the train manager announced the platforms for the next few departures, including one for Trieste, in a few minutes that I wasn’t aware of. My scheduled train was 45 minutes later. I hopped onto this service, very pleased with myself right up to the point when I realised that it took a very convoluted route and would actually arrive much later than my scheduled train!

The red line above shows the line that my train was on, with the green showing the direct route. Fortunately it stopped after just a couple of minutes and I was able to get off, switch platforms and catch a return to Mestre a few minutes later, still with plenty of time to make my originally planned service.

The constantly busy Venezia Mestre station
The constantly busy Venezia Mestre station

This area is very flat, so there was not huge amount to see at first, though as we got closer to Trieste the train climbed a little and we could see the Venice lagoon. We passed a couple of very pleasant small towns but the combination of filthy train windows and the sun in exactly the wrong location made it difficult to take photos.

The final few miles into Trieste are lovely, but the photos were awful. I won’t post them as I got some more the following afternoon which were better.

An oddity I spotted as I was walking through the train as we pulled into Trieste is that there was a whole carriage devoted to cycle storage. I don’t think I’ve seen that anywhere else in Europe, though I suppose it makes sense in such a flat area.

There is a lot of work going in in Trieste station. it will be a fine place once it is all finished, I’m sure.

My hotel was nearby and i headed straight there as I had planned this as working time. We had a change going on that needed me to be at my desk for a few hours from 5pm. I’d prepared for this last week, explaining exactly what needed to be done beforehand but unfortunately my requests had not been acted on and after about 3 hours of getting nowhere fast I decided to step away for a while, have a look at the city, find some food and come back to it.

I’d been told good things about Trieste. It’s quite an imposing city, with wide streets and some lovely buildings. Historically it was a key port linking central and northern Europe to the Silk Road, so has hundreds of years of maritime history.

You can see in the architecture that it has influences of all the surrounding countries, making it quite unique. There is also a short canal in the centre, which is really attractive.

I walked along the seafront for a while then cut back into the town, passing some of the many street bars and cafes. The central piazza is huge. It was empty while I was there but I could imagine it as a very busy space in the daytime.

By now it was time to find some food. Unfortunately places were either closing for the night (it was just after 9pm) or had no interest in finding a table for one. This is a bit of an occupational hazard as a single traveller so I found a small pizza bar, and took food back to my room.

Work got sorted in the end, but it was around 3:30am when I finally fell into bed.