Trieste, Italy is absolutely beautiful! This picture is JUST for you, Mom!! I'm out on a kind of pier that is all stone, looking back into the main city square with some of my classmates. We arrived by train on Thursday afternoon and I think most of us were overjoyed when we transferred to our other train in Udine and had the windows open with warm wind and sun rays shining in on us. Trieste has been no different and walking around the city and along the water without being freezing is so revitalizing. I've been in an unusually giddy and excited mood since Friday, I think because of all the sun and the warm weather. I can't wait for it to warm up a bit in Vienna. I think it will make it even more enjoyable.On Thursday, we dropped off most of our things off at the hotel and met at a large coffee house near the old port. We had some itinerary business to discuss and also some "Triesten" history lessons. Trieste was once one of the Austro-Hungarian empire's four major cities along with Prague, Vienna and Budapest. It belonged to the empire for around 600 years before the Italians took it back. After WWI, it became part of Austria but after WWII it returned to its Italian roots once again. Because of this, Trieste not only has very Austrian architecture and is somewhat of a melting pot for the Italians, Austrians, Germans, Slavs and other Balkan nations. Pretty interesting stuff, really. We had Thursday night to ourselves so we split up into smaller groups to find some food and found a delicious pork place where we were served a large dish with many different cuts of pork and different ways of preparation. Yummy!Friday was busy but really interesting! We met in the hotel lobby at 9am after our free continental breakfast and hiked to the military fortress at the top of large hill in the center of the city. It was really neat and had all kinds of weapons and armor from the middle ages. In the afternoon we too a bus to Miramare, the small private castle of one of the famous Habsburgs, Ferdinand Maximilian. The palace was situated at a point right on the ocean with ocean views in every room and a large park with lots of cool walkways and fountains. After exploring the palace and its grounds, we hiked to another small village near Trieste and found a great local place for dinner. More pork but all so delicious!Friday night was spent mostly in our rooms talking and sharing stories and pictures with each other from home, Vienna and our other travels. This morning we met around 9am again and had a guided tour through Trieste by a very cheery lady. It was neat seeing most of the city and she was able to answer any questions about where to do this and how to do that, etc. etc. This afternoon was all to ourselves so we branched off into smaller groups for lunch, had more gelato and now we're catching up on some much needed rest from being on the go for the last 72 hours. We're done for today and will meet again tomorrow morning for a final excursion and then our train ride home tomorrow afternoon.I've created another album of Trieste pictures so be sure to click on the link to the right of the page to see more from this bellissimo villaggio!