Our decent down the final slopes of the Alps was through the alternating green fields and forests of Western Slovenia. With the craggy Julian Alps in Bertha’s rear-view mirror, our road down to sea level was a gentle sloping drive under bright blue skies on excellent roads that were well worth the cost of the 10 euro vignette we had paid to travel on the motorways.
We had one final stop in Slovenia, 5kms from the border, to top up with LPG and adjust our tyre pressures which had significantly increased when crossing the Alps at altitude.
We crossed the border with Italy a few miles north of Trieste and wound our way down the final forested chicanes to enter the port town under a steaming hot noon sun – “the orange thing” reached 26 degrees on this bright June afternoon.
There was no mistaking we were in Italy! Driving Bertha through the centre to reach the aire at the port we were grateful for the lack of traffic on the roads, as the Italian lunchtime brought the aromas of baked breads , fried fish and garlic wafting along the tall, hot, narrow streets.
We parked up at the leisure marina and got the bikes off to explore the historic centre. Trieste surprised us with its large public squares, grand merchant houses, colossal churches and emerald waterways.
A little down at heel it seemed a ‘grand old dusty dame’ and cycling was easy down the wide open pedestrian centres and along the suddenly shaded and cool streets behind the port proper. A supermarket shop and a port-side beer in a ‘pub’ selling Munich lagers set us up for an early night ahead of the 3am start for the ferry.
Once on board the Minoan Lines ferry we headed up on deck and looked out over the city in the early morning darkness to watch the rising sun bring a bright cool dawn to the busy docks below.
Little after 4am, we pulled away for the 30 hour trip down the Adriatic Sea to Greece.