Today was a maintenance day. Our campsite is less than 100 yards from the main shipping channel for Venice port so we began the day watching the morning parade of different types of commercial ships go by including Container Ships, Car Carriers, long distance Ferries, and tankers. They passed close enough in front of us that we hear the crew talking on the ships, it was a fun start to the day.
After that we drove less than an hour to a US Army base in Vicenza Italy. François needed a good cleaning, and we decided to take advantage of the big American washing machines there. So the day consisted of washing all of our sheets and blankets, while Ton was working on that I gave François a bath in the rain which worked out since I did not need to rinse.
After that we did some food shopping and relaxed for the rest of the day.
After a wet and windy night we woke up to sunny skies with a touch of fog. The bet we had made on the weather had turned out, so we headed over to Venice for the day.
As I talked about yesterday I had to decide if we were going to take a gondola ride today. Instead I decided that we would ride on one of the ferries that acts like a bus. Line 1 follows the Grand Canal and it costs considerably less than a gondola, and covers more ground. After a couple of stops we gained the two front seats in the bow of the waterborne bus. This proves (at least to me)that it is possible to have romance without spending a lot of money.
We also planned to visit the Rialto Bridge which is the most famous bridge in Venice. So we disembarked from our ferry/bus there after about an hour cruising the Grand Canal. The bridge and the market next door did not capture our attention, so we headed over to St. Marks square. The tide was quite a bit lower so the square was not under water today. The places that were flooded yesterday now had fancy outdoor cafes with bands and extremely expensive coffee for sale. It was quite a change from yesterday. While it was a lot prettier it somehow felt less interesting than the square under water.
It was much less crowded than yesterday even with the better weather. The long Italian weekend was over, and there was only one cruise ship in town instead of the three that were here yesterday. So when we walked by St. Marks Cathedral we were shocked to see there was no line at all. Ton was in full photography mode so she sent me off to see how much it cost to enter. Another shock, it was free, so we headed in for a walk. St. Marks is the first cathedral we have come to that allows no photography so we do not have any pictures, but it was very beautiful.
By now we were quite hungry so we headed over to the old Jewish quarter of town where we had heard there were lots of restaurants. It was a nice walk and to our surprise the further we got from the tourist part of town the wider the roads got which spread the crowds out, the shops and restaurants were still intriguing, we found a nice garden with several interesting art works, and the people watching was still quite good.
After our late lunch we decided to head back to the ferry as it was getting towards dark. While waiting we were treated to the cruise ship in town passing by on the canal with three tugs shepherding it along. It was a final giant connection to the city of canals.
As planned we moved to the other side of Venice to a campground that was open for the whole time we are planning to be here. The drive over in light traffic was pretty uneventful except for my inability to follow Greta’s directions. This resulted in us twice unnecessarily being on toll roads for short distances. The first time we ended up paying a toll, the second time when I put the ticket in the machine the barrier went up and the ladies voice on the machine said arrivederci before I could put my credit card in for the toll. She must of felt sorry for the fool who could not follow directions.
We arrived at the new campground early, hooked up and headed over to Venice during a little break in the rain. We had no real plans for the day and thought we would just walk around and take in the sights.
We followed the signs towards St. Marks Cathedral. The crowds were plentiful but not overwhelming, despite the three cruise ships we saw docked. As we walked I contemplated Ton’s offer of whether we take a gondola ride or not. Last night she told me gondola rides were €80 and lasted 30 minutes. She said she had taken one with her mother in 1978, so it was completely up to me whether we took one as she had already done it. We will see tomorrow.
It has been wet and blustery the last couple of days and the tides were pretty high along the water front, the sea was nearly up to the footpath with occasional waves washing over. This looks like it must be becoming more common as many places have temporary bridges stacked so you can walk without getting your feet wet.
St. Marks square was interesting because when we arrived about 60% of it was underwater. The water depth ranged from 6 inches to a couple of feet. All of the stores and restaurants on one side of the square were closed as they had about 2 feet of water lapping at their doors.
We wandered around for another hour or so, mostly people watching. The weather channel was dead on as about 1pm a light rain began. By the time we got back to the ferry station about 2pm it was a steady hard rain and the wind was starting to blow.
We spent the rest of the afternoon in François. We have a nice waterfront spot looking across the water at Venice and the cruise ships, it really is a nice view. Ton cooked up a wonderful seafood pasta. We have really enjoyed both the restaurants and the quality of the food in groceries in Italy. We spent some time trying to figure out what food from Italy we should try to bring back home.
The weather today is very Oregon like; steady rain and high temperatures in the 50’s. Our plan was to simply head up to Venice and hunker down for the day and wait out the bad weather by planning our time in Venice.
There are two points to enter Venice conveniently from a camping point of view. One entry is southwest of the city and the other is east of the city and entails going around the city. Even though it is less convenient I chose the east one because it had 6 campgrounds in the vicinity and two of them were listed in my planning app as open year round. When we arrived the first one informed me that they were closing tomorrow at noon. The alternative is closed for two weeks for renovations. So again we were looking for a plan b. After some thought we are staying in the campground we arrived at for one night, and after confirming that the one southwest of the city we passed 65 kilometers ago is indeed open we will head over there tomorrow and carry on with our plan for two days in Venice.
We are getting nervous about Italy because it looks like a lot of the campgrounds are shutting down after this weekend, so our travels in Northern Italy may get curtailed, and will certainly take more planning.