Waking each morning to the sunrise was luxurious.

Miramare was our first destination of this new day, a Hapsburg castle built for Emperor Maximillian on a rocky promontory near Trieste, and used by many of the royal family including the last, Emperor Charles and Empress Zita. Fun fact: during WWI the castle furniture was trollied up to Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna for safekeeping. Wonder how long that took…

We opted to spend our time in the extensive gardens and wandering along the porticos and terraces of the palace. Because, sunshine and warm temperatures. Plus, when you’ve seen one palace interior, you’ve pretty much seen them all. 

Trieste was one of the oldest cities of the Hapsburg Empire, and its fourth largest owing to its port and shipbuilding facilities. The city has an extraordinary history beyond the imperial: it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy in 1918; became capital of the “Free Territory of Trieste” while under Allied occupation; was under Yugoslavian control for 40 days; and then annexed to Italy in 1945.

We have visited previously during Barcolana, an historic international regatta held in the Bay of Trieste, and with spectator counts reflecting the popularity of the event. There were no complaints to having the city practically to ourselves on this off-season weekend!

With mid-afternoon upon us we headed back across Slovenia and to our Croatian resort, where we dropped one rather exhausted Clayton Theodore before wandering Umag, the nearest “big city” with a modern grocery.  The evening before, a little tired from the long drive we went to the closest market, an unmistakable artifact from life under Communism. The grocery selection was a little, well, ost-algic.

Umag is a small and agreeable village, and I think we walked every street in its medieval center in about 20 minutes, savoring the open corniche without the hoards of summer beach tourists.

Then, a quick return to the apartment for dinner on the balcony. Aaah, the Adriatic.