I had spent alot of time in December and January looking at apartment rentals on the internet but that did not pan out. So one rainy Sunday in February I looked at all the week-end adds for apartment rentals and plotted the ones I was interested in on a map. I was looking for an apartment that was furnished ,with a balcony, that was sunny, had a bathtub or good sized shower and was downtown. There are alot of real estate agencies in Trieste, so many that each agency actually has only a few listings.
The first apartment I went to see was nice and bright with a large balcony and with greenery all around. It was however up a steep hill and not being familiar yet with the city it seemed too far from the city centre. The next apartment was near the city centre, open concept but had a major pet odor. The third apartment attracted me because it had interesting period furniture but when I looked around it had small windows and was not very bright. The fourth apartment was again central but dark inside and on a busy street. So by then I realised that to be downtown would mean no balcony, a busy street and no sunlight. So I went back to the first apartment and by then I knew that I needed quiet more than downtown and the second look around confirmed that this would be the right place for me. Besides that, I had already been here for over a month and it was time to make a decision. Now I can say how right that decision was because the steep hill is a challenge but it is not an issue. I am in easy walking distance to all services and to the city centre, plus it is nice and quiet here and the from the balcony I even get a glimpse of the Gulf of Trieste. Today, day 5 in the apartment I did my grocery shopping all by foot – bakery, fruit and veggies, supermarket, butcher shop, all within an easy walk. And I was outside, in March, on a sunny 12C day. It was all I imagined and more.
I am in a condo building – four floors with 2 units per floor. So my bathroom, bedroom and kitchen-living area all have different views. The building was built in the 60s so the room sizes are a bit bigger than newer buildings. The apartment has new kitchen cupboards – a shiny yellow and a new fridge. The kitchen is my favorite room right now – bright and sunny with a patio door to the balcony. It is big enough to accomodate a small table and two chairs. The stove is gas and I am comfortable with the gas stove top but am not comfortable firing up the gas oven yet. It also has all the dishes, pots, pans, cutlery etc that I will need. It also has dish clothes, sponges, dish washing detergent – and a small storeage closet with brooms. mops, floor cleaner, brushes , everything I need to keep the place clean.
The flooring ha all been redone- large beige ceramic tiles in the bath and kitchen and greyish laminate in the living/dining room. I have a clothes washer in the bathroom and it is also a good size. It has a bathtub plus a handheld shower and an American style shower head so I am quite happy with this. I turn the hot water heater on after dinner and turn it off when I get up – as in Ottawa the overnight rates are lower than the daytime rates. There is plenty of hot water for my needs. The heat is centralized and legislated by the city. So it comes on around 6:00 am and goes off around 8:00 a.m. It is steam heat and it looks like the radiators have been recently replaced. It is an unusually warm March so I have no problems with the room temperatures. The heat comes back on for a few hours around dinner time. The city also decides when the heat is turned off for the summer and when it is turned back on for the winter.
The bedroom has a dresser, side tables and a wall to wall closet with sliding mirrored doors so everything including my suitcases is nicely stored away. The living area has a wall unit with a TV, dining room table and sofa bed so again, everything that I need plus a door to the balcony. I just need to add some pictures on the wall to personalise the space a bit. All the rooms have doors which is normal here. I have to learn to close all the doors because when I open the windows – which I love to do – the doors slam shut. What is called giro d’aria. It is not good for the doors to slam shut because they are all glass panelled and the glass could shatter. The windows all have shutters that I roll down at night.
The neighbourhood has some beautiful turn of the century buildings along with regular apartment buildings but unlike the city centre there is alot of garden space. To enter this building, first you unlock a gate on the street, then you enter a small courtyard with some flowers and then you enter the small lobby of the building itself.
The apartment is about 50 square meters and my house in Ottawa, excluding the basement space, is 130 square metres to give you a sense of the space. In Ottawa we live indoors and here I believe that I will be living more outside than in, though I have more than enough indoor space for my needs.
I feel really comfortable and safe here.