Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I really hated California. I've been to California 3 times and each time I went back to that abysmal state my hatred for it grew exponentially. Experience keeps telling me that California isn't worth my trouble and yet I want to return. I've been up and down that state and somehow I missed San Fransisco along the way. I've got to go to San Fransisco before I die and I can only hope (probably in vain) that the city of SanFran will change my mind about the entire state. If I wind up hating California just the same after I come back from San Fransisco, it won't bother me so much. And thats because I've been to Trieste. Everyone tells me its the European version of San Fransisco, with its tram-car public transport system, hilly terrain, and spectacular view out over the shoreline. Sounds alot like what people go to San Fransisco for, and because I loved these things so much in Trieste, I've got to make it West to compare.

I know I haven't toured all of Europe yet. I've only been to six countries on this continent so I know I can't rightly make this claim. I'm gonna do it anyway, though: if I were going to move to Europe, Trieste is the city I'd move to. Sorry, Florence, but you don't have a shore. On my last trip to Italy, I came to Trieste and had a miserable time. I was a hormonal 14-year-old doing my best to be the most ungrateful, spoiled brat in history. Trieste, then, was just another stop en route to making my parents hate me. My Italian brother's University is in this city and he invited me to come and spend the week at his apartment. I was super excited to see what University life was like in Italy. To be honest, the University part was really unexciting, but the rest of Trieste blew my mind.

The first thing I did was take a ride with my Italian brother on the historic Trieste tram. The inside came direct from 1970, where mustard yellow curtains complemented maroon leather seats. I was immediately overcome by humidity and stuffiness and neither presented much of a problem after living in this country for four full months. I glued my face to the window and watched the lanscape pass slowly by. The tram was engulfed by green; I was mesmerized with flowers, trees, and bushes. I couldn't stop telling my Italian brother that this was the most beautiful place in the world, to which he respectfully disagreed. We cruised at a trecherous angle for fifteen minutes and got off. I stepped out and struggled with myself to remain calm and placid. I can't truly say what I'd have done if I let myself go-maybe scream and run in circles waving my arms around or fall to my knees and weep. The view was just so spectacular. The cerulean sea swarmed around a jungle of terracotta and leafy green trees, all tucked into the face of a mountain that I was now standing atop. My view was framed by a tree on my left whose white flowers were in full bloom and vines on my right that climbed up the sides of an old, broken wall. I could have stood there for hours, enjoying that sight, and I'd have been perfectly content until sundown. We got gelato and wound our way back down the mountainside. We went through one of the many nature reserves in Trieste. Broken sea-shells made our path, descending through the forest at the same angle we went up. The fact that Trieste has more than one nature reserve, well, thats friggin awesome.

I was suprised to learn that Trieste is the former home to James Joyce. I've spent alot of time in my life reading Joyce (I've only got Finnegan's Wake left and I've read them all) and I was kind of ashamed of myself for not knowing that he lived here. In the center of town, an effigy of Joyce has been erected in bronze. I went there and paid my respects to him. I was also surpsied to learn that Trieste houses two gigantic contemporary art museums. I went into one of them on my last day in the city and I was hugely disappointed that I didn't go into the other, which was a sculpture museum. The one I went into was full of paintings from the early 1900s onward. I saw some names of artists I knew, learned some knew ones, and discovered some interesting new styles of painting. There were 3 floors filled with contemporary paintings, and the first and most contemporary floor was my favorite. This trip has convinced me that abstract art is totally my favorite kind. I found a painting in that exhibit that was one of the most interesting I've ever seen. The canvas was unprimed and was a series of color washes with splotches of color strewn throughout. It was my favorite because the palatte was so rich, with deep reds and browns making up most of the image. Another work I got to see was the Slashed Canvas, which is a work by some dude who, instead of painting on the canvas he'd made, decided to take a knife and cut right through it. It sold for millions. I remember making fun of this work with friends back home in my ignorance. Seeing it in person brought back fun memories and offered me the chance to re-think my position on it. I decided that after all these years, the work still wasn't worth millons. I love learning from the art of the ancients, but I'd live in Trieste where the art is all contemporary anyday.

The final deciding factor, for me, about Trieste's greatness was the shooting star. I was looking out my window at my Italian brother's apartment in the middle of the night. I couldn't sleep and decided to take some time to digest the view. Before me was the city and the shore, lit up enough to blot out the stars, and still the city was silent. The only sounds were the mewing of stray cats down below. It was strange and eerie and I was compelled to pray. I was praying for about half an hour, giving thanks for blessings old and continued in my life, when I looked up at the sky. Within an instant it was gone-I'd seen my first shooting star. A white ball of fire blew past my eyes, surrounded by purple and trailed by green. The entire thing was glittering. I'm serious. It was the brightest thing I've ever seen in my life. I started to cry because it was so out of this world. I made a wish and continued to pray, thanking God for letting me see something so cool. Not even the lights of Trieste could diminish the colors of that star.

The next day I left Trieste, but I was never more determined that I have to get back.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby

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