British Element Trieste Force 1945 - 1954
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This photo dates from the beginning of the 20th century. There would have been an opening bridge to let the ships get out to sea.
More recently, I can remember when many of the boats had out-board motors and certainly looked as if they went out on the open sea.
A familiar sight in the fifties were the lights out at sea at night. Each boat would have two very bright lamps over the stern. I always assumed that it was a way of attracting fish.
Harry, that was one of my favourite night-time sights when I was in Trieste. I even once or twice caught the tram for Opicina to sit out by the Obelisk at the top of the hill to look at them.
And yes, they were fixed on the fishing boats to attract the fish. In those days the Pescheria down on the waterfront was always full of customers and the selection of fish was incredible. Fish sellers from Istria (nowadays Croatia and Slovenia) used to come to buy their stocks. To see the tables loaded with squid and calamari still alive was mind boggling for a British squaddie who had never before seen anything like it. Nowadays? The bay has been outfished.
I used to go out with a Triestine friend who worked in our cookhouse in Via Donadoni in his boat fishing for sgombri (mackerel to you). A line out of the boat with 10 to 12 hooks and you could sometimes reel in all twelve. And they were big fish. Nowadays, they look like sardines!
The queerest fish though were the anguisigoli. A fish with a long thin body and a very long swordfish type of mouth. I've caught one or two of those down in Grado on a line from the beach. They ain't bad to eat either. We used to pop down to Grado when we went back to Trieste on holidays with the wife's brothers. Always to the Bagno dei Poveri. The "poor people's beach". In those days there was a twice daily ferry-boat service between Trieste and Grado in the summer. It used to come into the bay alongside the 'poor peoples beach'
There were long poles fixed in the seabed to form the safe channel. and on those poles the mussels used to breed. So we'd swim out, dive down and grab handfuls of the mussels and then on the way back to Trieste in the car, stop off in the country side, boil the mussels and have a feast. Happy days.