(1st July to 8th July)
Leaving San Marino we headed north and back to the coast, choosing Bosco Mescola, which lies just inside the Venice and Veneto region alongside the river Po. This was a random choice as it appeared to be set in series of deltas and we supposed it would be similar to Delta Ebra in Spain. It was certainly quiet and the stop over site only had a few vans parked up. We took the opportunity to cycle around the delta visiting small port, Goro. Here I was amazed by the amount of commercial fishing boats that were moored up, there were hundreds.
Commercial fishing boats at Porto do Goro, Po Delta.
It was at Bosco Mescola where we confirmed that we could fit in a quick trip around Slovenia, which was not on the original route that was sketched out roughly at home. I was pleased about this as I remember Slovenia being a nice place as I used to visit Zrece (north east of Ljubljana) for work some years ago and I am interested to see the country and it’s people again.
Before Slovenia though, Sharon wanted to see Venice again and that led us to Chioggia which lies south of the famous city. At Chioggia we could easily day trip Venice on public transport and avoid the high costs of the Venice campsites. However, Chioggia surprised us and in turn delayed us and we ended up staying 3 nights there. Chioggia is known to locals as little Venice and it’s old town is encased by a canal network, be it one that is not as polished as it’s bigger sister. For this reason the old town holds it’s own charms and appears quite a normal town. The tourism in Chioggia is concentrated on it’s coastline where the familiar Bagnis (beach bathing clubs) line up and down the sea leaving the old town somewhat detached.
Canals at Chioggia.
On our first exploratory trip into the old town we stumbled across a canal side bar where the ‘aperitivo’ was nearing it’s end. Even though, the barman made us very welcome by frying some sardines (free) to accompany our wines. Here we met some party people locals who were very friendly and helpful as I was trying to find yet another tyre place. That brings me onto the drive to Chioggia – we picked up another puncture! I could not believe it, we stopped off at a supermarket enroute and sure enough when we left the car park we were on a flat. This time I changed onto the now good spare by the road side leaving us with a defunct 5th tyre which would need replacing or repairing as soon as.
At canal side ‘Café Red’ in Chioggia – cheers for the sardines!
The day trip to Venice was fairly uneventful and extremely hot. We walked around the streets, took a look at San Marco square and then ventured off into the Ghetto Nuovo (Jewish quarter). We ended the day aperetiving with Lynne and Welsh couple Chris and Janet, who were on a cruise ship that had stopped off at Venice port. This threesome delayed us some what (it was fun – we hope all is well and that Lynne made her flight home!!!) so we caught the last but one bus home and arrived back at the van after midnight. Again this bus journey saw friendly Italians at their best – whilst looking at the time table to see where and when the bus would be leaving, Venician Matteo, a young barman in the city who was also returning home, asked us if we needed any help and ensured we got on the right bus. Grazi Matteo!!
Walking towards Ghetto Nuovo, Venice
One of Sharon’s arty photos, a Prosecco aperetivo in Venice.
The next day was a bit of a mess to be honest. We left Chioggia at about 11am once we had visited a supermarket (Eurospar – really expensive when compared to Conad) and then tried to find a tyre place. This led us on a wild goose chase around Mestre to no avail. We finally gave up and refuelled ourselves with a very rare visit to Burger King. Whilst chewing through the burgers we noticed a small Gommista on an industrial site at the back of BK and it was here that the sole mechanic dropped what he was doing and helped us out – the puncture on the spare turned out to be unrepairable and therefore he ordered me a new commercial van tyre that arrived within the hour.
The van at a tyre place (gommista) again, outskirts of Venice. That is our 3rd tyre purchase since being in Italy.
Finally, we got going and our destination was a vineyard which had great reviews in Camper-Contact. I set the GPS co-ordinates and about 2 hours later we arrived at this destination. Something was wrong though as the ‘destination’ appeared to be in a sunflower field and there was defiantly not any access for camper vans. So we checked the co-ordinates only to find out I was one digit out on the North and that meant we were approximately 250 km away from where we wanted to be. Sharon admits she was pretty pleased that it was me that entered in the numbers!!!!! A quick search led us to a nearby campsite Riva d’Oro at Revine Lago near the Prosecco mountains. Here the highlight for me was getting to know a little the campsite owners Lisa and Tony who as it turned out used to run a restaurant in Breno that was based in an old 1960’s Alitalia airliner during the early 1990s. I was completely fascinated by this story and I spent some time on the net researching the history behind this plane. I think it is a very brave idea to pick up an aeroplane and site it on a plot of land as your restaurant base – however, I love it and there should be more of them!!!!
An old postcard showing the ‘Caravelle’ restaurant that was based in Breno, Brescia. For any ‘spotters’ the plane no longer exists on this site. It is thought that it was dismantled and moved to Cergnago in 1997 for use as a piano bar then to moved again to Rivanazzano, Pavia. It is assumed it was sold for scrap in the mid 2000’s. Fascinating.