Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 18, 2017

Worn faces

The stunning Trieste Cathedral is dedicated to San Giusto. It was consecrated in 1385. It is an amalgamation of two 5th Romanesque churches.

Trieste Cathedral

The church has a Gothic Rose window and a short bell tower constructed in the 13th century using Romanesque debris. It has a 14th century sculpture of San Giusto holding a martyr’s palm and a model of Trieste.

Trieste Cathedral

Trieste Cathedral

Inside the church are Byzantine mosaics created in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Trieste Cathedral

Trieste Cathedral

I find it amazing that it is possible to walk on centuries old floors and admire art created by long dead artisans. It was worth coming to Trieste for this building alone.

Trieste Cathedral

I particularly loved the worn faces on the exterior of the building. I wonder who the models were.

Trieste Cathedral

 

Trieste Cathedral

Beside the church are the remains of Roman Forum.

Trieste Cathedral

The cathedral is high above the city in a beautiful park. It is possible to climb to the top of the tower for great views, but we were there too late in the day. We must return.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 14, 2017

Marvellous monuments

While wandering the beautiful streets in Trieste I noticed lots of wonderful monuments. Artists have been kept busy over the centuries.

Trieste

Trieste

Trieste

Trieste

Trieste

Italy does these things very well. Austria does too, it seems.

 

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 12, 2017

Top tips for Trieste

Trieste is a sea port city in north east Italy. It is on the Adriatic Sea, quite close to Slovenia and Croatia. It is the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, one of the richest areas in Italy.

We visited on the way back from Croatia in May this year. There are several “must see” attractions in Trieste and we set out to find all of them.

The magnificent Piazza Unita d’Italia is a great place to begin exploring the city. It is difficult to show in a photo how huge and grand this piazza is.

Trieste

Trieste

We called into the famous Caffe degli Specchi for a coffee and a pastry to gather strength for the day.

Trieste

Trieste

The Molo Audace juts 246 metres into the sea not far from Piazza d’Italia, offering a different view. It is a popular place to promenade.

Trieste

A short walk away is Canal Grande dating from 1756. It was previously used for sailing ships, but they are long gone and now pretty little boats take their place. Cafes line the canal and are a popular place to gather.

Trieste

Trieste

Trieste

At the end of the canal is the Neoclassical Sant’ Antonio, built in 1849.

Trieste

To the right is the Serbian Orthodox San Spiridione dating from the mid 19th century.

Trieste

There are many grand buildings in Trieste reflecting its Austrian heritage. The city was part of Austria from 1382 until 1919.

Trieste

Trieste is a vibrant, lively city with outdoor cafes everywhere. Going hungry is not an option.

Trieste

There is a well preserved Roman Theatre at the foot of San Giusto. It was built in the second half of the 1st century.

Trieste

Trieste

The Synagogue of Trieste dating from 1912 is the second largest in Europe.

Trieste

In the interests of research we found the Caffe San Marco, opened just before WWI. It was saved from demolotion in 2013. It has now been beautifully restored and serves great coffee and snacks.

Trieste

From there we headed up to the green park above the city. There are lots of steps.

Trieste

Trieste

At the top is the Castel San Giusto built over 2 centuries, beginning in the 15th century. It is set in a restful park.

Trieste

Dark clouds gathered and it began to rain as we left the park.

Trieste

A gorgeous rainbow over Piazza Unita d’Italia took our minds off our damp clothes.

Trieste

Trieste

The piazza looked different again as we headed out for dinner.

Trieste

 

Trieste

We had dinner in the highly recommended Caffe Tommaseo. The service did not come with a smile, but the food was good.

The Piazza Unita d’Italia looked wonderful as we wandered back to our hotel after a busy day.

Trieste

We stayed at the superb Savoia Excelsior Palace. Even the name is grand. We don’t usually stay at 5 star hotels, but they offered an excellent last minute rate…how could we refuse?

Trieste

The hotel was excellent and we were able to park directly opposite in the enormous car park on the edge of the port.

We had a great view of the port from our balcony…one last look before we headed off home to Bagni di Lucca.

Trieste

Trieste is well worth an overnight stay. I hope you get a good deal at Savoia Excelsior Palace.

 

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 8, 2017

Pordenone

For no particular reason I had the feeling that Pordenone was a quaint small village, so we were quite surprised to find ourselves driving into a busy sizeable town. We drove through the newer outer areas and soon found the centre of the old town and set off to discover the delights of Pordenone.

The town is in the north east of Italy in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It dates from the Middle Ages and like most Italian towns has a complex history. It was originally a port on the Noncello River and flourished in the 14th century due to the river trade. In fact the name of the town comes from an old name which meant Port on the Noncello River.

These days the sleepy little river still runs through the town, with little evidence of its previous importance.

Pordenone

The construction of the Pontebbana road and the railway led to the decline of the port but the growth of industrial development. Pordenone is a well to do town, with lovely shops lining the delightful Corso Vittorio Emanuele II.  The street has excellent examples of Venetian porticoes and is known as the “Waterless Grand Canal”.

Pordenone

One shop in particular drew me in. I did not leave empty handed.

My camera battery died in Pordenone, so I can’t show you all the great things we found, but I did capture some of the essence of the town.

Pordenone

Pordenone

The church dedicated to St George was built in 1588 with several subsequent renovations. The bell tower, which is unusually built to one side of the church, was added in 1852.

Pordenone

The Gothic Communal Palace was built between 1291 and 1395. The clock tower of the loggia was added in the 16th century.

Pordenone

As you can see, the weather was mixed. The sky was cloudy, then blue, then cloudy again. Just as we were leaving, I looked up to see this amazing light.

Pordenone

We only spent half a day in Pordenone, but we would like to return. It would be an excellent place to use as a base to explore the region, one where we have not spent a lot of time.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 6, 2017

8 level toilet block

My favourite beach is being transformed. I grew up at Main Beach on the Gold Coast and I love the area. Many years ago a couple of high rise buildings were built on the edge of the beach. The council came to its senses and a 3 storey limit was imposed on new buildings.

Recently the wife of a major Australian retailer managed to get this overturned and she built this monstrosity that I think looks like a large toilet block.

Main Beach

Main Beach

Main Beach

 

This angle is particularly ugly.

Main Beach

It seems to have started a trend. Another 8 level building is about to be uncovered. It dwarfs the house my father built in 1969.

Main Beach

I think this is madness. Apart from ruining the beachscape, I can remember when numerous cyclones wiped out the front yards of the houses on the edge. Another series could do untold damage to these huge buildings. The council should be ashamed of itself for allowing this to happen.

Greed has caused this. I will never set foot in a Harvey Norman store, ever.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 3, 2017

Marble mountains

While driving back to Bagni di Lucca from a visit to Portovenere we saw this amazing view of the marble mountains near Carrara. I took these photos from the back seat of the moving car.

I have visited the area, but it was many years ago…time to return.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 30, 2017

Edward VIII sighting

Several years ago I spotted a very dapper gentleman at the station in Pistoia. I thought he looked remarkably like Edward VIII.

Click here to see him, he is at the end of a post I wrote about Pistoia.

I saw him again recently at the Florence railway station. He has not lost his sense of style.

People

People

You really have to admire people who put so much effort into their appearance.

 

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 27, 2017

Syros driving

Not much happens in Ermoupoli, the port town in Syros, on a Sunday so we hired a car for €35 for the day and set off to explore the island.

Syros isn’t very big and it didn’t take long to get to the next town, Vari. It is just 7 kilometres from Ermoupolis and is a lovely little farming village with a couple of popular beaches.

From there it was a short drive along the coast and across a headland to Posidonia, one of the most popular beaches on Syros. This resort is at Agathopes beach. It looked great and I can imagine all those chairs being filled in the summer.

Posidonia beach was also quiet, but we could see that it was getting ready for the season.

The beaches were remarkably quiet for a warm, sunny Sunday. Gallissas had a few swimmers.

We thought the prettiest beach of all was Kini. It looked impressive as we saw it from above.

There were a couple of expensive looking houses with prime views of the bay.

The esplanade along the water was lined with attractive bars, cafes and restaurants.

A few swimmers braved the water.

People began to arrive for an afternoon at the beach as we sat down for a delicious lunch.

Much of Syros is dry, barren and rocky. We saw  farms and the occasional vineyard. It looks like difficult farming land to me, but quite beautiful in its own way. Dry stone walls, pretty white houses and tiny churches dot the landscape.

Below is a map of Syros. We covered most of the roads seen here and drove 60 kilometres. It was a great way to spend a Sunday on the island.

Syros is a beautiful island, completely different from Santorini, the only other island we visited in Greece. A lovely Greek friend of mine suggested these 2 islands and we are very happy we followed her advice. We are keen to return to Greece to discover more of the gorgeous islands.

 


 

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 24, 2017

Ano Syros

Ano Syros looks down from above to Ermoupoli, the port town on the Greek Island of Syros.  The 2 towns now blend into one, but they were once separate. It is the town on top of the hill on the left.

It is 3.5 kilometres uphill to Ano Syros from the port so we took the sensible approach and took a taxi to the top and walked down the many steps to the bottom.

Ano Syros is a classic medieval settlement. The little town is famous for its coloured doors. We entered via a laneway just below the church. Come for a walk to the bottom of the hill.

From this point it was some steps up to the church of St George. It was closed but I could see through the grill. The original church was built in 1208, but it has been destroyed 3 times and rebuilt.

There were some excellent views from the top even on a cloudy day.

…down the stairs again.

Ano Syros

We saw a few people along the way, but many of the houses seemed empty. It wouldn’t be easy living with all these steps. I didn’t count them, but there were a lot. The €5 taxi ride to the top was money well spent.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 20, 2017

Syros…sunrise to sunset

After our time in Santorini we took the ferry to Syros, another island in the Cyclades group.

Ermoupoli Syros

Ermoupoli Syros

The early settlement of Syros goes back around 5,000 years. It has had a rich and varied history, including a period of Venetian rule.

We stayed in Ermoupoli, the capital of the island.  The town was built in the 1820s during the Greek Revolution as an extension of Ano Syros, which sits on a hill above the port town.

Ermoupoli Syros

I was up early to see the sun come up quickly over the port.

Ermoupoli Syros

Ermoupoli Syros

Ermoupoli Syros

Much of the town was built in the Neoclassical style merging with Greek Classicism and elements of the Renaissance. A good place to start a walk through the town is in the lovely Miaoulis square. City Hall takes centre stage.

Ermoupoli Syros

The square is lined with cafes shaded by palm trees.

Ermoupoli Syros

 

A statue of Andreas Miaoulis keeps an eye on things.

Someone, it seems, has a sense of humour.

Ermoupoli Syros

The pretty streets are paved with marble. Bougainvillea climbs up buildings and decorates the restaurants dotted around the town.

Ermoupoli Syros

Greek gentlemen like to gather to solve the problems of the world.

Ermoupoli Syros

We found the food market…lots of fresh seafood.

There are dozens of restaurants to choose from, but one beside the water called out to us.

Ermoupoli Syros

We liked it so much we went twice.

One of the dishes was called sea urchin salad. When it arrived it looked like soup.

Ermoupoli Syros

We ate it anyway. When the waitress came to take our plates she asked if we enjoyed it.

We did. When she asked what it taste like I replied that it was like eating the sea…salty deliciousness.

As the sun began to set the lights came on in Ermoupoli.

Ermoupoli Syros

Sunset over Ermoupoli was spectacular. The colours changed constantly.

Ermoupoli Syros

Ermoupoli Syros

Ermoupoli Syros

We visited Ano Syros and hired a car to drive all over the island on day 2 and 3. There will be posts to follow.

Syros is a completely different Greek Island from Santorini. I think it is more authentically Greek. I can see that it would be a popular destination for Athenians to spend their summer holidays. It was relaxed and calm when we were there in spring, with far fewer people than Santorini. I’m pleased we experienced both islands.

 

Ermoupoli Syros

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