Alessio, Monika and I took a trip to Trieste, where we meet Piotr, his sister and Angela, an Italian Erasmus student who was living and working with him for a semester, to attend the Barcolana regatta. As none of us entirely knew how to get to Trieste whilst avoiding the excessive tolls on the Slovenian highways, driving there was a bit of an adventure, and once there the main road along the sea front was closed, so we had to navigate through Trieste, trying to find a (non-existent) free parking space, before deciding just to pay at the train station.
The Barcolana is one of the most popular regattas in the world, with over 2000 participants, taking place in the Gulf of Trieste. It is a very open event, with a huge range of entrants, with sailing beginners lining up alongside enthusiasts and professionals.
The Gulf of Trieste is a great location for a regatta because it is so windy here. There are two main winds that affect this area (and the whole of the Adriatic coast, with local variations): the Jugo is a south-eastern wind, that usually brings clouds and rain, and can last five to seven days or more. The Bura is a northerly wind that comes down from the mountains, especially during winter, bringing very cold, and normally dry, air – so it is used to dry cure pork. It can blow in strong gusts, making it dangerous, especially for sailing (so a strong bora would not be great for the Barcolana), and the Gulf of Trieste is one location where it is strongest.
In October, the variable autumn weather means it is likely that there will be some wind. Unfortunately not on this day. It was completely calm. We stood on the sea front for a while, watching the ‘race’ but there was no movement from any of the boats. It was a beautiful day otherwise, clear, sunny, warm, calm, but not a great one for a regatta. For lunch we ate at Copacabana restaurant, where we had eaten on our previous visit, and then on a little tour we visited many of the same places as before, but it was good to do it in the company of friends, old and new (or new, newer and the most newest).
Once our exploring was complete we invited our companions back to home for dinner. Unfortunately we had very little to eat in the house, and were unable to find a way to the Promised Land of the Discount Store at the Italian/ Slovenian border to buy some (we had been talking it up all day). Alessio came to the rescue when he went out and came back a short time later with a special treat in an inconspicuous brown paper bag… some Barilla spaghetti that he had got from a local restaurant, so he was able to cook a good carbonara.