Well, we got our day of sun to chillax on the beach, and it was a pretty fantastic day. First we grabbed some brekky at the resort (which was MUCH better than dinner the night before), and then headed down to the waterfront. It’s not what we in the States think as a typical beach, but it more or less functions the same way – but with a whole lotta extras! You can rent pretty much anything there: cabanas, chairs, mat, jetskis, paddleboats (with water slides on them). I mentioned the hilarious flotation contraption my brother and I got ourselves mixed up in, too. It really was a lot of fun.
The weather was perfect for laying around and doing nothing much more than reading and hopping into the Adriatic when we got too warm. What never ceases to amaze me is how comfortable Europeans are with their bodies. They just don’t give a shit. Men, and I mean big men with big, round bellies, wearing Speedos or small-ish versions of boxer briefs. Even the young, fit men wear them.
Something else that was interesting – about 50% of the young girls (around age 10 and under) would just be wearing bikini bottoms. I grew up a tomboy, with pretty much only boys in the neighborhood. One day, all the boys were running around without their t-shirts on. I was about 6 years old and decided to join them – sans t-shirt, them – until a neighbor lady come over and told me it was inappropriate for little girls to go around without their shirts on. I remember feeling disappointed and reluctantly (and shamefully) put my shirt back on before joining my male compadres. So I think a part of me felt envious for those little girls at the beach today — that they live somewhere where it’s okay to just be a girl — and be void of a stupid cultural norm around modesty.
Speaking of modesty, Europen women seemed no different than the men. Women in their 50s and 60s with their full, round bellies in bikinis, other women in their 30s and 40s with their jiggly thighs — all putting it all out there. A number of women were sunbathing topless, too. Whether it was their indifference, confidence, or whatever, it rubbed off and me. After our second dive in the Sea, I got back to my chair and went for it. When in Rome. Or Croatia. Or whatever. It felt really nice. And I won’t be coming back with any tan lines. Well, I do have some tan lines.
After a good 6 hours at the beach, as planned, drove up the coast to Trieste, Italy. And what a spectacular drive it was! We drove past grape vineyards and olive tree farms before coming upon this amazing valley of rolling hills. Croatia is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. After a short 10km jaunt through Slovenia, we crossed the Italian border and got to Trieste, Italy. Neither of us really did our research before getting there, and we were surpised at how big the city is. Luckily, our hotel is in a fantastic location, close to a lot of great places within walking distance. We headed to the seafront, passing tons of places to enjoy a coffee, glass of wine, cocktail, or whatever. After walking around, we found an amazing gelato place that was recommended to Phil, and it proved to be worth the jaunt to find it. He had something like an icecream sandwich, but way more impressive. I went for a scoop of pistachio and a scoop of dark chocolate. Wow, was it good!
I wanted a glass of wine, and Phil wanted an espresso, so we found a cafe that looked like our style and sat down. At almost every cafe, people were drinking something out of a wine glass that was orange-ish in color, served in a wine glass (with ice!), with a slice or orange in it. It’s called an aperol spritzer, and it was fantastic. (It’s just prosecco, aperol – a bitter orange flavored liqeur/apertif (like Campari), a splash of soda water, and an orange slice.) I ended up having two! Phil had a kiwi juice concoction and a cappucino. We ordered a couple tapas, not knowing that for every round we ordered, they brough out an array of other complimentary tapas for us to enjoy. We were full when we left, and skipped dinner to keep walking the city to see it all lit up at night, which proved to be just as great as we thought it’d be.
Tomorrow’s plan is to check out this castle in Trieste, and then head back to Munich. If the weather is good, we plan to take the long way back through the Dolomites.
While I miss my bed and my puppies, I’m sad this trip is coming to an end. I clearly needed the time away. As much as I love my job, and as often as I do travel, I sometimes forget that we’re here to live a life — not live to work. Phil and I were chatting and in a bit of disbelief that this is the life we have. “I love my life.” We’ve both said it a few times on this trip. I really believe it, too. Saying I feel fortunate and appreciative sounds trite. I do feel these things, but it’s so much more than that. Plus, it’s all the more special that my brother and I get to go on these adventures together – twice this year alone!