Mia sorella: visiting my Italian sister

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of Italy  , Friuli-Venezia Giulia,
Friday, November 16, 2012

We arrived in Pordenone and were met at the train station by Irene.  Irene stayed with my family for six months when I was in high school, and I hadn't seen her since she left in early 2008.  It was so fantastic to see her and I was very excited to meet her family.  Marianne and Giorgio made us feel super welcome and cooked us a beautiful dinner (home-cooked meals are the best thing ever! Our first in 6 months!!) served with wine, cheese and dessert. 

Irene graciously let us take over her bedroom while she slept on the couch.  Giorgio prepared a fantastic Italian/Dutch breakfast for us the next morning with Brioche, bread and spreads and of course illy cappucino.  We then went for a walk with Irene to see Pordenone and some of the surrounding countryside.  For lunch Marianne made fantastic home-made pizzas and then Giorgio took us to the towns of Maniago (where his family home is- a beautiful big 100 year old manor with about 20 rooms and where his mother and some of this sisters still live) and Spilimbergo where we saw the beautifully restored town centre, cathedral and castle. We then met with some of Irene friends for a drink and then they came back to her place for pasta, some drinks and card games.  It was a lovely evening and nice to meet the people I had heard so much about. 

The next day we went to see Trieste.  On the way we stopped at the Aquelea basilica where there is an amazing mosaic floor.  This was probably my favourite church- beautiful and happy art work.  There was also one mosaic from a neighbouring building that has a bird that looks just like a pukeko.  Check out the picture! The floor was laid hundreds of years before NZ was discovered.....conspiracy??

We then headed to Castle Miramare in Trieste, which was beautiful.  Quite small but an ideal place to build a castle, very beautiful view across the water.  We then went into Trieste town and tried some typical Trieste food.   Trieste is right on the boarder with Slovenia, and was a main city in the Austo-Hungarian empire so the food reflects that style of cooking- sauerkraut, mashed potato, ham and meat sausages.  We then visited the Cathedral on the top of the hill, it has a wonderful bright blue painting inside the dome and a service was being conducted in Slovenian while we were there.  Very interesting!  While Irene and Giorgio visited a friend, Marianne took us around the main square of Trieste.  The buildings are very beautiful and reflect the Austro-Hungarian style rather than Italian.  The main square is sat right on the waterfront and looks fantastic looking back on it from the pier.  We then went and found an illy coffee shop (Trieste is the home of illy coffee- Marianne used to work for the company).  We ordered three capp in B (small cappucinos is glass) which were very nice. 
When we returned home we said a sad goodbye to Irene who was returning to Uni early the next morning and then went to bed exhausted.
The next day we had a lazy day, walking around Pordenone and reading at home.  The weather was rainy and not very conducive to exploring and we were quite in need of a rest day.  That night we had a lovely long dinner with Marianne and Giorgio, eating lots of cheese, drinking wine and finishing dinner with roasted chestnuts and port!  We really felt like we were staying with family and not at all like we had only met two days before. 

The next morning Marianne took us to visit her riding for the disabled stable for a quick tour before taking us for a look around Treviso (where our flights were from).  The town centre still has part of the old wall up around it, and had lovely old buildings everywhere.  We had lunch in a trattoria and then found a coffee shop for the mandatory after lunch esspresso or machiato.  We then said a sad goodbye to Marianne and got on our plane to Budapest. 
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