Wish you were here!

Falesie di Duino

Saturday morning we went for a walk on the rocky coast between Duino and Sistiana near Trieste and the Slovenia border. It is a small nature reserve with cliffs. Nature there is very different from what I am used to although the place is actually not far from where I live. Soil here is very rocky, rivers flows underground for kilometers, and there is a particular micro climate that allows mediaterranean plants to grow. Woodlands  are rich of holly oak (quercus ilex), acer monspessulanum, phillyrea and terebinth (pistacia terebinthus), which are plants that you normally don’t see here in the north of Italy. Going there feels like a very exotic and foreign place to me and it’s only one hour by car from home.

The cliffs and the Duino Castle on the far peak

The weather was warm and still, the clouds merged into the sea. Pistacia and cotinus bushes set the cliffs on fire with their striking fall colours. Finally some nice autumn leaves to see and yet it didn’t feel like autumn at all! The sun filtered by the sky made me feel like I was dreaming.

A very easy and convenient path runs at the top of the cliffs from where you can keep an eye to the breathtaking view and an eye to the colourful and wild woodland and then you’d need another eye to watch where you step, but hey you can’t always be aware, can you?

Anyway let’s get back to beautiful nature and colours and views, not everybody made it to the end of the walk but the World is bursting with people and fishes were hungry that day.

I named acer monspessulanum, which is actually very similar to acer campestre except it has three-lobed leaves and prefers milder climate than here. In fall it turns a beautiful bright orange instead of yellow.

Wild cotinus and ash trees made the rest of the colours, every single plant grew up despite rocks and salty winds and dry summers and you could see how difficult it would have been by looking at the odd shapes that every branch has. Even the stones seem carved by wind and sun.

At midday the sun looked as in late afternoon, this coast where used as a military watching point during the first world war but nowadays only touristic and private boats sail here.

After a while we reached the Sistiana harbor, the end of our journey. The place has that odd melancholy of summer crowded places, forgotten in a matter of months… until next spring. It felt so intimate.


38 thoughts on “Wish you were here!

    • It is! I’ve been living here for 2 years now but only recently we started to hang around and visit places because we’ve been very busy with the house renovation.

    • Yes it is a campanula! I love it too and it was everywhere. Evidently it likes very well drained soils… I am not sure which kind of campanula it was though.

  1. Stunning scenery and really wonderful colours. I’m amazed more people don’t fall over the cliff while admiring the scenery, enjoyed walking with you, thanks for inviting us!

    • I would be happy indeed! I already have a half promise of house swapping with Mr. Kininvie, now I just need to convince you and my tour of UK will be assured!

  2. Hey Alberto,
    What a glorious piece of earth. I love the image of the acer between the iconic rocks. I can’t travel now I’m a quadriplegic so I so appreciate looks from the road less traveled like this beautiful coastline. Thanks so much.

    • One of the few places around here where I could see some autumn colours indeed! Seasons are so weird lately… It’s nearly December and there are plenty of green leaves out there…

  3. Sure, tell me to come now that you’re BACK. What a great trip. Glad to see Mina going along. Lovely dreamy photos, and I like the three lobed maple and its color. Next time let me know and I will dream too and meet you there.

    • It would be nice to meet in dreams, wouldn’t it?
      But you disappointed me a little, here… YOU didn’t get the humor about ‘wish you were here’ written like a postcard on the falling man sign… Linnie, dear, I am not sure I could meet you in my dreams again…

      • I’ve not seen that terrible falling man icon here– It seemed to have something to do with running downhill. Or possibly looking for one’s keys which one had unfortunately dropped on the ground while gazing upon the glorious views. Or some sort of activity warning, like “Marathon runners in this area, watch out.” Because I always tend to think the best of you Alberto…

        But now I know you were inviting me to fall off a cliff.

        • That’s because maybe you don’t have any cliffs in Oregon… I don’t know, I must check on Google maps. I spend a lot of time on Google maps, ‘traveling’ around and sighing.
          Anyway a very ancient Chinese proverb says: “a broken leg in Italy is always better than meeting a mountain lion in Oregon”… 😉

  4. Hey Alberto! Ehh bè l’unica scusa che hai per essere stato così vicino a Grado e per non essere nemmeno passato è il fatto che sai di non trovarmi, vero????ahahahahahahahhahaha, saluti dall’isola oltre la Manica chiamata anche Albione!Bye

    • Bibione, Albione, che differenza fa per te?! 🙂
      Tutto bene la? Spero di si. In effetti mi sei venuto in mente quando siamo passati per quelle zone!

    • It’s a pleasure for me sharing my jaunts (you even taught me a new word!). That maple is very similar to acer campestre but somehow in a contracted shape, except for the grow habit, the plant in fact is much taller. I liked it too.

  5. Limestone eh? I don’t like the stuff and can’t imagine gardening on it. It’s probably worse than clay. Still, seeing the cotinus growing wild like that is amazing. Yes, we must fix this house swap – but only if you leave your living room unlocked….

    • I bet clay is much much better than a pile of stones too but apparently mother nature creates very interesting gardens even in limestone!
      I have something to confess… There are no doors in the house, except for the bathrooms, I guess you will manage to see my pink living room and all the other colours too!

    • Lol! I guess the cow in the stream is Rudy in the gravel path! 🙂
      Yes the place could be a little tricky, especially if you live in denial of sight glasses… 🙂

  6. Alberto, I wish I were there. Isn’t it strange how such a short distance can have such an impact on the climate. Fabulous pictures of your trip and I can now read the print on your blog with blissful clarity. Did you increase the size of your fonts or have i received some divine intervention.

    • Hi Kevin, this is a post I published last november, it eventually came up for some kind of wordpress disfunction (or whatever, I’m trying to have it worked out!). However I do remember very clearly what we had for lunch that day: just a ham and cheese sandwich, sitting on a terraced bar on top of the hill, with the sun warming my face and a chilly breeze blowing from behind. That was the last time I ate actual cheese, the doc put me on diet the day after. Sigh, sweet days gone…….

      • Sounds like my kind of perfect day — although, I would miss cheese. Hope you’re doing well and that your doctors are happy with you.

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