So, the room I got in the hostel was lovely. The bed was rickety, but I could have slept on a cactus field, and I got a wonderful 14 hours. My room looked onto the backyard of the hostel, where there was a full, functioning kitchen and laundry room – all in the open air. It must never rain in Venice. There was also a worryingly big dog in this “kitchen”, even more worryingly he was chained up.
I can’t help but compare my blog to a friend’s one. She is blogging from Kenya, where she has gone to make the world a better place and she had a lizard in her bedroom yesterday. I, on the other hand, am blogging from Italy, where I have come in pursuit of a paying job and am writing about a big dog. Also, her blog is sincere and almost apologetic for taking up her readers’ time, while mine is brash and unashamed.
Anyway, I left Venice this morning, after buying a fridge magnet, in the shape of a happy gondelier, to prove I was there. I took a train to Trieste. Trains are a genuinely fabulous way to travel. There are few things in the world as dirty and smelly, and yet so romantic. As the train pulled out of the station I metaphorically waved a metaphorical white handkerchief at a metaphorical lonely lover. I read for a good two hours. A whole Rumpole book, the last one, tragically (I don’t want to spoil it on you, but Rumpole almost gets an ASBO) and I made a start on East of Eden.
Trieste is a beautiful city, on a hill, by the sea, just like Cork. It doesn’t feel that Italian, more central European. This afternoon, I put a euro in one of those binocular things by the sea and looked at, well, the sea. I got a lot of pleasure from that as it is one of those things that my parents never let me do when we went on family holidays. I sat on the end of the pier for an hour and a half, and generally aimlessy arsed about (the three A’s as my mother calls them). Italy is a wonderful place for arsing about, as no-one else seems to be doing anything productive either. There was a protest in the main square. I’m not sure what it was about, but even that seemed good-naturedly listless.
I did try to be good with my eating. Waiters in Italy speak very good English, so far, but they are endearingly self-effacing about it. In Italy, you ask someone if they speak English, they will probably say, ” A leetle”. In Poland, the same question can often elicit an “Of course” in response.
Anyway, I went to a Triestine Restaurant and ordered “Scallopini”, which were helpfully translated into English as “Escalopes”. Now I have no idea what escalopes are. I can safely say that they are meat, thinly sliced. They tasted most like pork, but they could equally have been beef, lamb or horsemeat. This meal came with a seasonal salad (go Project Connor!) and a mound of bread (no Project Connor, no!) There were seven slices of bread. As I have chronicled here before, bread is something I find almost impossible to resist. Even though it was hard continental bread, not a shade on an Irish cottage loaf, or an Irish sliced pan, for that matter, I started horsing it down. The salad was another matter altogether. No matter how much I ate, the bottom of the bowl never appeared. The waitress had looked at me disapprovingly as I hoovered up the bread, and now I felt I had to prove I ate healthily too. In the end, I gave up, bested by a salad, a joyless food that doesn’t deserve the name.
I did leave one slice of bread behind. It sat there teasing me as I crunched on shredded cabbage and squelched my way through tomato slices. A small victory.
My hotel here is of much higher quality than the hostel in Venice, though it only cost about a fiver more. I am writing from the computer in the reception. I think I might be the only guest. There is a sign in reception that apologises for the lack of WiFi, stating that it is due to “the incompetence of telecom firm and depends not of us”.
I am sorry if my recent posts are a bit on the long side. Once I re-enter gainful employment, things will go back to normal.