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Europe 2015 - Venice

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A few days in Venice

We were again blessed with beautiful clear skies for our second visit to Venice, this time heading to an ACSI campsite just to the west in the suburb of Oriago and on a direct bus route to the city centre. We took advantage of a three day travel pass which enabled us to reach the Grand Canal and hop on and off the vaporetti (water buses) as we wished. The campsite was busy but we found a spacious shady pitch among the tall trees. Venice is always crowded but we found some interesting sights as we wandered around the maze of back streets as well as visiting Saint Mark's square and waterfront with the continuous circus of boats of all sizes from gondolas to cruise ships.

Venice  a traffic jam of gondolas
Gondola traffic jam
Venice a quiet canal
A quiet moment on the Grand Canal
Venice a four man rowing boat
Preparing for the regatta

Buying the three day travel pass was worthwhile as a single journey ticket on the vaporetti was €7 and we were able to frequently hop on and off, although many of the boats were crowded with standing room only. The routes were rather confusing to start with so we had a couple of journeys zig-zagging across the Grand Canal sometimes heading in the wrong direction. We ended up in the back streets quite often where there were many interesting sights such as markets, a carnival masks workshop and a gondola boatyard among the ever present bustle of boats.

A worthwhile longer trip was the twenty minute boat ride across the lagoon to the island of Murano, famous for its glassware and continuing further to reach Burano, a riot of colourful houses lining the narrow canals with shops selling delicate lacework and delicious gelati (ice creams). Returning to the centre of Venice, as we disembarked from the vaporreto we spotted some friends from home who we knew were visiting Venice - it's a small world!

venice Murano glass sculpture
Murano glass sculpture

Burano colourful houses  
A colourful corner in Burano

For our final day in Venice we caught the crowded early morning bus to the Piazzale Roma bus station and headed for the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery containing mostly  Twentieth Century art and a temporary exhibition of work by the American artist Jackson Pollock and his father Charles. There was also a small terrace giving an excellent views across the Grand Canal.
Venice doorbells
Venice doorbells

As we left the gallery we met our friends from home for a second time - what are the chances of that happening in a city packed with thousands of visitors?!! We somehow managed to catch an express limited stop bus back to the campsite but with the help of an English speaking local persuaded the driver to stop in the next village after the site so didn't have to walk back too far in the intense 32+ mid afternoon heat and welcome ice cold drinks in the shade.

Venica a back street
a Venice backstreet

Venice Burano coulourful houses

Burano canal and colourful houses
Burano colourful houses

Venice Gondola boatyard
A gondola boatyard

Venice Carnival mask workshop
Carnival mask workshop

Venice a quiet spotVenice porterVenice window cleaner
a quiet spotwell ladenperilous window cleaning

We now started our journey west taking the slow main road through a string of towns with lots of 50km/hour speed limits and found a LIDL store open on a Sunday, before taking the Padova bypass and autostrada which was quiet as lorries are mostly banned at the weekends. Turning off at Soave we found the aree de sosta in the town centre just outside the town walls and next to the police station. After tea we walked into the old centre where there was a craft market and a few shops selling the famous local wine and pane de Soave bread specialities. After a peaceful night we continued west bypassing Verona and taking minor roads to reach the large gardens of Parco Sigurta at Vallegio sul Mincio. It took a couple of hours to wander around the large parkland then after lunch we drove across country to very busy Desenzano del Garda and on to the pleasant lakeside ACSI campsite of La Ca' at Padenghe for a couple of days.

Soave local breadSoave entrance gatewayPParco Sigurta
Pane di Soave breadSoave gatewayParco Sigurta