We parked the car at Tronchetto, the artificial island between the mainland and the historic centre. There are loads of options, both for parking and for just getting to Venice. The closer one wants to park, the more expensive it is. Parking on the mainland is cheaper, but it’s a long way from the island and some kind of public transport is necessary, either by road or water. We just walked from the parking island, and caught the People Mover shuttle from Piazzale Roma on the way back ‘cos our legs were a bit tired by then.
Okay, so I’m going to make a confession … I didn’t think I’d like Venice much. Crowds, tourists, tacky souvenirs aren’t really my ‘thing’, but oh my goodness, it’s so beautiful I didn’t really even notice the stuff I don’t like. So much history and gorgeous old buildings & bridges, and even though there were lots of people around, we just nipped down a less crowded lane every now and then and got away from it. The Rialto Bridge across the Main Canal is being renovated, but we were still able to see all the comings and goings in the Main Canal – gondolas, boats unloading goods onto hand-carts, ferries. It was a busy Friday afternoon.
And no, we didn’t have a gondola ride. We’re far too stingey to spend EU80 on a 30-minute trip, and as neither of us are good sailors, it wasn’t on our ‘must-do’ list. I was going to add a Youtube clip of singing gondoliers, or of the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, but couldn’t really find anything I liked, so I’ll leave you to find your own.
Internet access has been a bit difficult to find as we’ve been meandering south through Switzerland & Northern Italy. We stayed at another good campground just across the border in the Italian Alps on Wednesday night. More stunning views across the valley to villages on the other side, and it was quite a bit cheaper at ‘only’ $35, but we got power as well. Crappy wifi though. That part of Italy grows lots of apples and potatoes, a bit like Tassie.
Then yesterday we headed further south to Venice, through loads of tunnels, even more than when we drove through Norway to Nordkapp. We stopped at a town to try and get some internet access so that we could book a hotel in Venice, but even the ‘free’ wifi at McDonalds was impossible to access, demanding either a mobile number (an Oz number was not acceptable), or a valid credit card, but that didn’t work either. We did finally get some at an Autochef roadside cafe, so we booked some accommodation for a couple of nights. There are plenty of campgrounds here too, but at this time of the year they’re probably charging close to the same price as we’ve paid for the hotel which also includes breakfast. For the last 120kms or so, we drove on the Autostrada – we took a ticket as we entered, then paid as we left – EU12.7, around $20, which seemed okay. When we drove on motorways in Chile it was costing us up to $25 per day. Only gripe about the Autostrada was that of the 3 traffic lanes, trucks hogged 2 of them most of the time.
We’re staying in the Hotel Ducale in Favaro Veneto, which is about 10kms from St Mark’s Square, to the north on the way to the airport. Last night we wandered around the neighbourhood. A few of the local shops are closed for a couple of weeks …. well it is summer and even shopkeepers probably like to have holidays when the weather is good. We found a pizza place and had dinner there – proscuitto & carciofi artichoke for me, patatas fritas fried potato for Greg. Um, yes, it was a french fry pizza, but it tasted really good. So did mine, probably the best I’ve ever eaten. We sat and did some people-watching for a while, and looked at all the trophies and awards the pizza-maker had won in various pizza competitions, including one in Las Vegas.
And today we’re heading to Venice, with all the other tourists. We’re leaving it till later in the day, when (hopefully) there won’t be as many because the tour buses and cruise ships have timetables that are more rigid than ours. It doesn’t get dark until around 8.30, so we’ll still have time to have a good look around.