trip to Mosel,Venice,Corfu, warts & all Part two

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by dethleff, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. dethleff

    dethleff Read Only Funster

    Aug 21, 2007
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    Motorhome to Corfu. warts and all. Part 2.


    We set off rejoining the A4 to Venice, once again the traffic was solid 3 lanes.
    Toll charges were 7.20 euros app 100 miles, which we thought quite cheap,
    Although there were service areas diesel, restaurants etc, the only other stopping places were simple laybys on the side of the motorway. With the volume of traffic, how anyone using them got back into the flow of traffic, I will never know.

    We were heading for Camping Fusina situated on the Venice coast, the attraction was there was ferry service into Venice just outside the entrance to the campsite.
    Camping Fusina was found by searching the net, and although it was 30 euros a night,we chose it simply for the location.

    Although tomtom Italy took us right to the entrance, I have never seen so many signposts
    directing you to the campsite it was like being held by the hand all the way there, mind you at 30 bloody euros a night they could afford it.

    On arrival I parked, and presented myself at the window marked ARRIVALS, a few feet away was a window marked DEPARTURES with six or seven people being seen to.
    I waited patiently, happy in the thought that people were leaving, so no problem getting a pitch. A few minutes later a French motorhome arrived, parked, and then proceeded to join the queue at the departures window. They didn’t speak English I thought. The departure window queue was joined by two more people the last one being a teenage girl.
    I was no longer waiting patiently, so joined the departure queue. Well, yes the French couple were booked in weren’t they, which left me in my rapidly disappearing good mood, behind this teenage girl, who finally reached the window.

    “Say, what time does the ferry leave” for Venice the teenage girl asked in this twangy American accent to the Italian receptionist chap at the departure window.
    “Its just this minute left” he replied”
    “Can we still catch it” said the American girl, who now I was sure was related to George Bush.
    I was also now starting to lose it, big time.
    “ Depends how fast you can swim” said the Italian, who spoke perfect English, apart from the words arrivals, and departures.

    ( The next bit could come from a Monty Python sketch, but its true)

    The American girl turned, and shouted to another American girl somewhere inside the camp. “The ferry’s gone, the next one is in an hours time”. She was joined at the window by her American friend looking undecided. She stood silent for a few moments.
    She then, believe it or not started singing some pop song, who was immediately joined by the original American girl in close harmony.
    I had now lost it, and thought if the Italian joins in singing as well, I am going to finish up in some Italian jail.
    So after four or five lines of this song I told them to bugger off. which they did.
    I had finally got to the window.
    “Scottish people” hey, he said.
    “Yeah Scottish people” I replied.
    I had booked in.

    The Italian gave me a map of the site and drew the route to where I should park.
    “You want to park over here, as far away from the bar as possible”. I felt quite hurt, I had spent quite a long time in the sun on this holiday, and I knew my nose was red, but it turned out he was only advising me that it got quite noisy at night.

    We followed his directions on the edge of the campsite overlooking the sea, with a view out to Venice, super pitch, and, good to is word, we were not disturbed at all.

    After setting up, we sat with our cup of tea and watched the speedboats zooming up and down the water in front of us, followed a few minutes later by an enormous seagoing
    container ship, escorted by a couple of tugs.
    Found out later we were only half a mile away from the commercial port.
    Quite enjoyable.

    Camping Fusina, is only able to charge 30 euros a night in my opinion, because of its position to visit Venice. It not only has access to the ferry, but also the bus terminus is directly outside. There is nothing else for miles around, unless you want to use your motorhome.
    Though it has a cashpoint, internet point, plenty of showers etc it is not worth 30 euros a night. But then again this was Italy, which aint cheap.

    The site was full of coach loads of Americans, Japanese, German teenagers etc, but they were all camped well away from the motorhome pitches, and no problem.
    We saw more Brits on site here, than we had all the way down from Dunkirk.

    After a while, after asking a Scottish couple, parked next to us to keep an eye on the van,
    (It was very hot and we left the windows and door open, fly blinds and lambs tails down, alarm on) we went for a walk round the site.
    While I had waited to book in, I had seen a sign. Ferry tickets sold here.
    As there was nobody at the reception waiting, I enquired about the ferry tickets
    And was told the cost was 10 euros return each, or 20 euros each for three return trips.
    I asked if we could use the 20 euro tickets on staggered days but was told, no they have to be used on consecutive days. It appears that you cannot pay on the boat, ticket only,
    The lads on the boat couldn’t care less, hardly looking at your ticket, so I think we were told fibs.
    After a visit to the camp shop we bought a few things and returned to the van.

    Next morning was my birthday, so as a treat, I was allowed to sit outside the Camp laundry for half an hour while some much needed washing was done.

    Just before lunch our Scottish neighbours packed up to start their journey home.
    Within minutes a young couple in a caravan took possession of the vacant space.
    My heart sank when I noticed they were Swiss. Later in the afternoon I was sitting
    in front of the van, when the young lady came out to look at the view over to Venice.
    “Hello” I said……………a complete blank.
    I was now forming the opinion that hello must translate into German as something like go fourth and multiply.

    The camp pamphlet also informed us that there was an internet connection. Due to the lateness of the season it was only open morning and evening from 5 o’clock.
    We had not been in touch with the kids for over month, so I went to reception
    and booked a half hour session. The terminals being situated on the top of an old English double decker bus that swayed when you climbed the metal stairs

    There was one terminal free, the others were being used by Japanese and American teenagers. I was somewhat disconcerted at the speed these kids were typing, there fingertips being simply a blur on the keys. I groaned inwardly thinking I was going to look a right pr@t with my one finger a minute typing. However I had paid for the session
    so ploughed on. Five minutes later the bus started to sway again, accompanied by the clatter of what turned out to be four American teenagers running up the stairs to the top deck, with energy that I can now only dream about. Eventually this explosion of youthful noise and energy settled down in the seats behind me, to wait for a terminal to become free.
    I hadn’t typed my next word when the lad behind me suddenly remembered he’d got rhythm, he started by tapping his feet on the metal floor, followed by a rapid drum accompaniment of slapping his hands on his bare knees. The lad was seriously hyperactive, I turned round and gave him the look that my wife often gives me, which after patient teaching she had finally taught me. Poor kid I bet he never played the knees again.

    We presented ourselves next morning to catch the ferry to Venice proper. We sat on the top deck in glorious sunshine and watched as Venice drew nearer and nearer, To the left of us we could see the Minoan line ferry at berth, which we would be boarding later that week for Corfu.

    We disembarked at the ferry landing stage making a mental note of where we catch it forthe return trip. The ferry terminal was directly alongside this Beautiful large white church. Not knowing where we were going we set off on the road/alley facing us, with
    the first thing on the agenda being to buy a Venice guide.

    We hadn’t gone twenty paces before we came to a shop selling Venice glass, and spent
    a good quarter of an hour, staring and pointing at pieces saying “look at that one then”
    The only price’s on display were for very small souvenir pieces. The large serious
    collectors stuff showed no price. A case of if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it.

    Later in the day though we came across another shop that did show the prices. This window was brightly lit to show off the glass to its best advantage. There was one magnificent piece where the price ticket was dazzling in the glare of the lights, it looked like 25.00 euros, I said to the wife “that piece there, it can’t be 25 euros” “no dear she said, its two thousand five hundred euros”.

    Armed now with a guide book, we navigated our way to the Grand Canal. It must have been those cornetto adverts but I was expecting the Grand Canal to be a refined genteel
    waterway, with gondolas leisurely plying their trade, at a slow pace, with a beautiful woman trailing a finger leisurely in the water, a cornetto though, would have been a bonus.
    The gondolas were there yes, albeit the beautiful woman being replaced by Japanese tourists, but also there were water buses, water taxis, delivery boats, and sightseeing boats, private Viennese owned boats, it seemed like a water M1.
    Apart from the gondolas, the rest seemed to run on rocket fuel, seemingly to have no concern for the wash created.
    No way did this detract from the day, it was just an observation.

    We were soon captivated by Venice, it was place like no other we had seen, and surely it must be simply unique in the world. We couldn’t understand how some of the palaces
    and churches could remain standing for all those years with water lapping at their foundations, and sometimes under the doors.

    We continued walking along the canal when we came to a really enormous white church.
    Even among all the many churches in Venice this one must have been special, and felt lucky to see a bride and groom on the steps having their wedding photographs taken.
    Behind us a loud noise started up, it was a barge with a JCB aboard, in its jaws was a new mooring pole which proceeded to bang it into the soft mud of the canal. We watched for a few minutes then turned round to watch the newlyweds. I peered at the groom, something strange here, the groom had gained about 3 stone during the time we watched the mooring pole operation. Well the newlyweds photo session ended, and started to leave, when around the corner of the church appeared a new pair of newlyweds who had waited patiently for their turn for the use of this church’s background.

    As anyone knows Venice abounds with small bridges spanning the canals, so anyone planning to visit for the first time should be aware that a walking tour can be quite tiring.
    We made for the large bridge that crossed the canal over to the St Marks Square side. At
    the top of this bridge, in our opinion, was the best view of Venice you can see when on foot. ( I have photo’s but can’t figure out how to upload them.)

    The place was heaving with all nationalities, who were entertained by an abundance of
    street performers of many varieties, they ranged from the usual ‘statues’ (our favourite was a man dressed as a Roman centurion lying prone on some steps, with a dagger protruding from his chest, he had attracted a concerned Japanese lady who bent over him and asked if he was all right, she rose looking more perplexed when he answered in a broad Scottish accent “Aye I’m fine my dear).

    Moving on, we heard the sound of music, around the corner was a young lady dancing
    a sort of ballet, the music was provided by a ghetto blaster nearby. She is best described
    as dressed like Snow White with ballet shoes. On finishing her dance, she skipped over
    and turned the music volume down. I had noticed that she had not managed to actually get up on to her toes, but danced on the balls of her feet only.
    She then skipped back, and theatrically gestured with her arm to introduce her male dancing partner, standing a short way off. This chap was not the sort to make much effort, he was dressed in every day shabby clothes and shoes, all crowned with a trilby,
    that was definitely too small. He also looked quite a bit older than the girl. He shuffled over and nodded his head to the audience. With that the girl skipped over to raise the volume of the music, she then turned, did a remarkably fast hoppity skip and launched herself in the air in the direction of her male partner, whether the man had been distracted I don’t know, all eyes were focused on the girl, but he was suddenly confronted by this missile heading in his direction. He did manage to catch her, although he did stagger back a few steps, whilst holding her in a most ungentlemanly fashion, and losing his trilby in the process.
    Some of the crowd now were trying to suppress their laughter, some giggling, some in abandoned laughter, some showing acute embarrassment for the girl
    “by God” I said to the wife “I’m actually going to put money in their hat”
    Having recovered the situation, though the girl was looking daggers at her partner, she did a pirouette while the man moved into position behind her to lift her in the air. The strain of the effort was plainly etched on the mans face, once again he took a step back,
    and trod on his trilby.
    I looked at my wife, her face showed she was in the acute embarrassment camp,
    “come on” she said “ I can’t watch this poor girl any more”, and dragged me kicking and screaming down the street, leaving behind the sound of unbridled laughter.

    We emerged from this narrow alley into the splendour of St Marks Square.
    Not going to attempt to describe it, but noticed one or two observations.

    I had learned from various channels, that unless you have a bottomless pocket,
    you do not buy a cup of coffee in St Marks Square. All along the one side are at a rough guess, are about one hundred tables, overlooking these are three bandstands, one holding a string quartet, one a Stephan Grappeli type jazz, the last a piano led trio, all playing
    In front, at various stations stood about twenty immaculate dressed waiters.
    Customers ? two.
    Surely they must know the secret is out now about the rip off prices?

    The people really making money were the pigeon corn sellers, for a euro you could buy a miniscule packet of seed to attract the pigeons who fed out of your hand whilst you had your photograph taken and got covered in their calling cards.

    We were impressed after spotting the puddles on the floor, that the square was mopped
    every morning, until we learned that the square is liable to flooding and the benches we sat on, were in fact walkways at certain high tides.

    We returned to the campsite after a very enjoyable day to find the van had been invaded by green flying beetles, I haven’t mentioned it much, but I had been tormented by mossie bites since France, so they were not at all welcome .”These don’t bite” said the wife as I ducked out of her way as she set about them with the fly swatter.
    That night, after just going to bed, my wife jumped out of bed screaming, I hastily switched on the light, “something landed on my head” she said, there on the bed was
    a green beetle, which she dispatched with the fly swatter she had decided to sleep with.
    It was three weeks later before we could declare the motorhome free of them.

    The next morning I awoke to find I had acquired three more bites, they were in a perfect
    straight line starting at the top of my forehead ending at the back end of my bald patch.
    I slapped some afterbite on, had our breakfast, and got ready for our second day in Venice.
    We caught the ferry, the day was scorching hot, on landing I realized that I had forgotten my hat, this slap on cream tube advised not to expose bites to the sun. “buy another hat”
    said the wife, “no way, I’ve got three in the van” I said, her other suggestion of tying my hankie into knots at the corners like other Englishmen do, didn’t warrant a reply, mainly
    because I didn’t have an hankie.

    Our plan for to day was to join the long queue, at St Marks Basilica, not matter how long
    the queue was. Eventually we were allowed in and wandered round aware that this was some church. The entrance was free, but in certain sections a charge was made. There were signs here and there saying no photography. The inside of the church was brilliantly lit by scores of continual camera flashbulbs. Sorry but if I tried to describe the decoration
    in this church, I would fail miserably.

    Our next stop was the Doges Palace, no long queues here, you had to pay to get in. they did a concession for EU citizens over 65, cost 6.50 euros and worth every cent.
    The Doge was the number one political honcho for centuries. Anyone who saw the TV program on Venice a few months back will know all about him. The tour takes you round all the magnificent rooms all with ceilings equally magnificent. You eventually arrive at the Magistrates court, where on sentencing were sent into the dungeons across the Bridge of Sighs, which you are allowed to cross and visit the dungeons.
    There is a cafeteria in the palace, one cup of coffee and a can of orange, 7.20 euros.

    The rest of the day, and also the next were spent strolling round and just taking in this
    unique city. So my wife and I, and my three bites now the size of marbles, said a fond goodbye to Venice.


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