We’ve been in Italy one day when the oldest daughter decides she wants to move there.
The people are more beautiful, the food is better and the weather is hotter. She has a point.
“Why do we live in northern Europe,” she moans as we return from swimming in sea as warm as soup and blue as a storybook ocean.
She spends the next few days trying to devise ways to move south. Too young to get a job, Italian not up to moving schools and no family to offer free board and lodging it’s all looking a bit hopeless.
“You’ll have to wait until you’re older,” I tell her.
She hoovers up the dregs of a fresh lemon granita with a straw and looks me straight in the eye.
“I’ll never eat a Slush Puppy again after this,” she announces.
If that’s the only thing to come out of our holiday to Trieste it’ll be worth it.
Not one to let go of an idea once it’s bitten her she pursues her options avidly. Driving out of town one day we pass an Italian branch of Atlantic College, sister to the one back home half an hour’s drive from Cardiff.
“Hey, I could go there,” she yells.
A few days later we actually meet someone who works there – and teaches Italian. Game, set and match to the daughter. I can see her brain whirring.
“You’ve got to admit it’s quite nice here,” she wheedles, even though I’ve explained moving to Italy isn’t really an option for a family of five whose grasp of the language runs only to grazie and gelato.
Trieste, with its beautiful sparkling bay, green hills and elegant Viennese architecture, does seem to have it all. Just a few hours drive from the Alps and Venice it‘s a mere hour to the beaches of Croatia and less to the sloping hills of Slovenia.
Sparkling white wine, ham, cheese and ice cream are all local fare and you could spend all day beach hopping down the coast bumping into historic sites all the way.
“I’m definitely moving here,” declares the daughter again.
That’s the trouble with teenagers. Show them the world and they want to abandon you to explore it.
“I’d miss you,” I tell her, “Wouldn’t you miss us?”
“If you go can I have your room?” begs her brother.
He’s already mentally measuring up for new curtains. In his mind she has gone.
“I could come and visit and you could take me out for ice cream,” he adds.
“It would be cool to have a sister living here.”