Venice and leaving Italy

Does Venice need explaining? If you’ve spent several days there then probably not. However if you just did a day trip then you may have missed what makes it so special. We stayed just 3 nights and still just scratched the surface.

Sunday 29 September 2019. Let’s start with the superb campsite, “Venezia Village” in Orlanda. €24 a night and as close as seems practically possible to Venice itself.

Small but perfectly formed

The spaces are just enough for a motorhome with an awning out. The toilets and showers at 10/10..perfect, they put most domestic bathrooms to shame. There’s a bar/restaurant and a small indoor pool (extra charge). The quality of the site was a nice surprise but it’s really about the location.

Cheesy, but you need to take a photo

Buses run from close to site, a 10 minute walk at most. Cross the pedestrian bridge at the Hilton Hotel and you’ll be able to take a #5 or #19 bus every 10 minutes. The campsite sell a 24 hour pass that includes the Canal boats as well as bus fares. It’s the best value travel pass ever. €23 and you can ride the boats all day, all over, including the islands.

Ride the Grand Canal until you are bored of the views (impossible)

We got there on Monday morning, about 11am, and it was packed. It continued to get more packed by the hour. You have been warned. We did however manage to get front seats on the Vaporetti (floating bus boats) and so got some great photos along the canal, to Piazza San Marco (tourist central).

We stayed on the Vaporetti and it took us out to sea!

The view from the boat is incredible, things you just can’t see by walking. We decided to stay on the boat and repeat the journey. However, to our surprise, it took a different route to San Marco, taking us out into the sea/lagoon so we got another perspective … all included in the ticket price.

The bustling Grand Canal.
This beautiful scene is recreated every 5 minutes from any one of Venice’s hundreds of “backstreet” bridges.

OK, that’s the Venice everyone knows but there’s a different Venice. To find that you literally just need to step off the tourist path, by one or two side streets, and you find yourself relatively alone in this amazing, ancient, unique city.

It’s where you find local people, sat at local bars. Kids going to school. Ladies hanging out washing to dry. It’s so much nicer than the tourist trail Venice.

Locals, going about their business, away from the crowds.
Tourist Venice. Rialto Bridge.
My favourite Venice. Ordinary life in an extra-ordinary place
Tourist-trail Venice.
Gondoliers, preparing for the day ahead.

On Tuesday I set the alarm for 6am and was in town for 7am (My 24hr travel pass was still valid for another few hours). I caught the boat to Rialto Bridge and set about photographing Venice “waking up”.

7am. Venice. Soon this will be 100% full of humanity.

If I have one piece of travel advice it’s this: Get into Venice before 7am. 6am would be even better (The buses run from around 5am).

You’ll see a side of Venice nobody sees but the locals. Real Venice. I loved it. If we ever return then it’s the only time of day I’d want to go into the centre.

Preparing the Gondolas
Restocking the hotels and shops
Ensuring there is fresh linen for the hotels
Making sure your friends back in China know you had a great Wedding
Off to work. Same for 1,000 years
Shelves need restocking

So, all in all, I’d say it’s the most amazing place I’ve ever been. It shouldn’t exist, it makes no sense, but it does and it’s a must-see……..but see it at 7am.

Wednesday October 02 2019 – After Venice we headed due West, via Milan, towards Turin. We called it quits just shy of Turin in a hidden gem of a place, Ivrea.

A real destination in it’s own right, Ivrea.
Next to the Camping Club site.

The “Aire” is a free site in town, courtesy of the local camping club. We left the suggested €5 donation because it’s a superb spot to explore an impressive town. Castle, Cathedral, high-end shops, White-water canoe facility next door, it seems to have it all and yet so easy to speed past.

The Camping Club Aire, with the Castle in the distance

The next morning we pushed West, over mountains, through mountains, and down mountains, as we crossed the Alps into France.

Engage low gears…it’s a long descent into France.

Lee

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