It was only a couple of hour’s drive to Venice where we stopped at a lovely campsite called “Serenissima” about 20minutes from the city. It had been 42degrees that day and the night was very hot but not as hot as the night before thank goodness. We had one night there at the great campsite. We then bought a 2day pass for the buses and vaporettos in Venice for 20euros each and I promptly lost one after our first ride! We caught the bus into Venice with six bottles of Extra Virgin Oil for a friend of Mary Foreman’s. Deborah a lovely American lady who is married to an Italian and has lived in Venice for many years met us at the station to collect her oil and then we continued on to stay in a bit of luxury in a lovely hotel called “Campiello” near St Mark’s square. Luckily it was situated in a lovely quiet alleyway and it was wonderful to have a bit more space for a while! We wandered around the city together with the other millions of tourists but had fun shopping for essentials for me – dress, handbag and camper shoes!
We met up with Deborah, her husband, sister and brother in law and two other friends for a few apperitives before dinner. We had to move inside the bar as we had a sudden storm and torrential rain for about an hour.
They were a lovely crowd and Deborah suggested a lovely little Trattoria across from where we had drinks in Via Garibaldi in the quieter end of town.
We had the polenta with Baccala and seafood risotto which were delicious. The rain had stopped so we crossed the six or so bridges back to the hotel.
We decided to get up early 6.30am! and have a look around Venice when it was quiet without the millions of tourists and even managed to get into the church at St Mark’s square when no one else was there.
The hotel gave us a free taxi ride to Murano which is a real tourist trap where the chosen glass factory demonstrate the making of an ornament of hand blown glass and then hope you buy something. They did have the most spectacular showroom (unfortunately we couldn’t photograph the best pieces) with some beautiful work but it was all very expensive – smaller items of note started at 500euros to many tens of thousands of euros.
I ended buying a simple necklace and earrings from another shop and then we made our own way on the vaporetto to the island of Burano which is much more interesting and quieter. We had a nice lunch there at “Da Primo” and then caught the vaporetto back via Murano to Venice where we walked back to the hotel along the narrow alleyways and crossed the many bridges.
The vaporettos are the only way to get around other than walking unless you pay a huge amount for a private water taxi which we didn’t do. Travelling in the vaporettos in Summer is like being sardines in their can and it is always a relief to get off at a stop. You hear the locals complaining all the time about the crowds and you can understand them getting frustrated at the travel with so many tourists and unless they are very wealthy and have their own boat it must be awful in summer but then again that is Venice and they live off the tourism but it must be hard on a daily basis as there is no other form of transport.
The last time I was in Venice was 40years ago as a teenager with my father and it was the middle of winter so quite a different experience. They have also thinned out the number of pigeons in the main square – they finally realized that they caused the most amount of damage to their buildings and don’t even sell the birdseed to feel them anymore!
We watched the cruise ships go up and down the grand canal near St Mark’s square (with Pavarotti singing his heart out as they sail out!)
As we were wandering near the main square we came across a very distressed German girl who didn’t speak any English or Italian who was mentally handicapped and had become separated from her group. She had an armband on but it was blurred and she was crying and didn’t know the name of the place she was staying. She hung onto my hand and we walked along until we saw a policeman and I was about to ask what we could do and then all of a sudden she spotted the group. We were very relieved and the helpers with them thanked us (although I don’t think they realized she was missing at the time!).
Maurice and I got dressed up in the evening and went off to “Musica a Palazzo” which we had seen on the internet and booked a while ago. They perform a different opera on various days and we went to La Traviata. It was a fantastic experience because the four piece orchestra (piano, cello and two violins) and the opera singers perform the three acts in three different rooms of an old beautiful pink palazzo right on the grand canal. You move into the different rooms with about 70 other people and you can actually touch the singers they are so close. It was an amazing performance and the three singers had wonderful voices. They even gave us a nice glass of Prosecco during one of the 10minute breaks. Like many of the buildings in the city, the palazzo had a bit of a lean to the right which was noticeable when you were sitting down.
It was about 11.30pm when we wandered back to the hotel and some of the shops were even open then to get the last of their customers for the day.
After breakfast we caught the Vaporetto from San Marco back to Piazzale Roma and managed to get a bus very soon back to the Camping ground which we missed and had to turn around and go back to. The van was in the shade and we just managed to leave by their exit time of 12noon. We loved Venice but decided it would be better to go back at a quieter time.
We headed north then towards the Alps.

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