The working week after meeting the Italian community was shortened because we were going to an EVS on-arrival training event from Wednesday evening. Before that though we had to take a trip to Trieste.
We had been invited by the Municipality of Trieste to meet them and a group of six young Bosnians who were there on a short learning exchange, and on this day they were learning about EU youth projects under the Youth in Action (YiA) programme, which includes EVS.
We went with Elena and were greeted by a couple of representatives of Trieste, and after meeting the Bosnians we were introduced to the Deputy Mayor and then went into one of the council chambers for the morning’s events. Although only a small chamber, it was ornate, and exuded the power that politicians want to display. Once the Mayor turned up (unfortunately not wearing red trousers) introductions were made and then an EVS volunteer in Trieste, and her mentor, made a presentation on the YiA programme and EVS in general. After this Irena, Alessio and I made similar presentations to those we did for the Italian community; about ourselves and our motivations for coming on EVS, but with information on the work, our experiences of the application process and our organisation (with input from Elena).
Once all the presentations were done, and questions were answered we went for a guided tour of Trieste. This was being conducted in Italian, translated into Croatian, for the Bosnians, and then Irena was practising her interpreter skills by translating it into English for me. Directly outside of the municipal building is the Piazza Unità d’Italia, this square may be the largest square next to the sea in Europe (Wikipedia quote: “The square is often said to be Europe’s largest square located next to the sea.”). It was built when Trieste was the most important port in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is surrounded by 19th century buildings, which now house various municipal, state and foreign institutions.
The next stop was the pier, notable because it was built on top of the wreck of St Charles, a ship which sank in the port in 1740, and instead of being removed was built on. From it you have a panoramic view of the buildings on the sea front, the port and Victory Lighthouse; on a clear day you can see Miramar Castle in the distance.
From here we walked through the old town, including the area of the Jewish ghetto, and a long walk up hill to the Castle of San Giusto. As we (Istrian volunteers especially) were flagging in the heat we welcomed an overdue late lunch. During which we got to know each other a bit more – including comparisons of various currencies – and learnt about Srebrenica (where they were from, location of massacres during the Bosnian War), and the youth organisation they were a part of there. After this we were on our way, but not before Elena had signed up one of the girls for next year’s EVS (we hadn’t even been here a month!).