This is the Castello Mira Mare, built on the water about 8 kilometres north of Trieste. It was the home of the Archduke Maximillian, great nephew of Marie Antoinette and one of the Hapsbergs. He and his young wife Carlotta lived here until they left for Mexico, appointed as Emperor by Napoleon III. Sadly it was a doomed appointment. Maximillian was shot by Mexican troops and Carlotta who came back to Europe to plead his case ended up going insane.
The castle is now a national monument and the lovely park surrounding it is part of a marine wildlife preserve run by the World Wildlife Federation.
We want through the castle this afternoon and saw some of the over-the-top rooms. It's certainly not somewhere I'd ever have wanted to live.
This is one of Carlotta's rooms.
Here's the chapel
I find these interiors so cloying that I can only stay inside for a short while. Fortunately the gardens outside were lovely with many different kinds of trees, including to our surprise a grove of Arbutus trees.
The high point of the day for us though, was our meeting with Rosa. We took the city bus out to the castle and weren't sure just where the stop was. An older woman who spoke very good English helped us to know where to get off. She got off with us and walked with us into the park and showed us the way to the castle. As we left her we noticed she was greeting and patting some of the stray cats in the park.
After we returned to the bus she also got on and we talked all the way back to town. Rosa is a single woman who had done a lot of travelling in her life. She learned English in London when she was an "au pair" years ago. She has been to Canada, the USA, many places in Europe and also to South Africa and other African countries. What a gracious and lovely lady she was. She walked us back through town to the central square and told us about her life. She never married or had children and now that she's retired she goes every day to the Castello park to feed the feral cats.
We love taking the bus when we travel because we so enjoy meeting and talking to people as we ride. Rosa, though, was a very special encounter. I just wish I had the wit to ask if I could take her picture. We won't forget her.
Tomorrow we will be taking her advice and going to Muggia on the bus. It's a seaside village just north of here.