La Bella Venezia

Having driven along Venice’s pot-holed and rutted motorways, then through the busy port of Fusina (where we were stopped on a level-crossing for an agonising 2 minutes), we had no idea what to expect at our next site!

We found our pitch and there she was…Bella Venezia. From our caravan window we could see Basilica San Marco and the Campanillo. Wow! I fell in love immediately (As many of you know I am a sucker for a city next to the sea). Then a rumble started and a loud toot and before we knew it a 100m, ten storey high container ship was chugging past, within 10m of our door, obscuring the view of Venice, but making it a little more exciting too. Dot was also very happy, as she was busy making friends with Mia from Dusseldorf!

The ferry to Venice left right around the corner from our campsite and took just 20 minutes to drop us into the hustle and bustle. Walking through the city was like being in a movie set, it helped that the sun was making the water a sparkling turquoise blue.

Crossing the Grand Canal was incredible, all the boats buzzing past, gondoliers in their striped jumpers posing next to their sleek boats, the domes of old Venetian churches in the background, so amazing to actually be there and experience it all.

It is impossible in Venice not to be won over by its beauty. As we left the main tourist areas I was very surprised to discover how quiet it was. In some alleys we were completely alone, walking along quiet canals and over tiny bridges. The best part for me was just sitting and watching, while Al and Dot climbed the highest tower they could find!

Back at the campsite Dot disappeared to play with Mia and we sat drinking wine with her parents until we could no longer see our wine, or feel our digits.

On our second day we bought an ‘All Boats’ pass and we were determined to get our moneys worth. We caught our ferry into Venice then hopped quickly onto the public ferry, which took us along the Grand Canal to the Rialto bridge. From there we walked through the centre to catch another ferry out to the charming island of Burano, passing the glass-blowing island of Murano.

Burano is full of tiny, multi-coloured houses, narrow canals and bridges on the far side of the Venetian lagoon. What struck me most about it was the lack of noise. There are no cars on the island, no loud aeroplanes and it isn’t a main shipping route, so all that could be heard was the chatter of people getting on with their day. We found a lovely, sunny café to have our lunch and sat with a glass of cool Italian ‘spritz’ (Aperol and Prosecco) and fresh seafood, heaven!

On our way back we hopped onto another ferry which took us around the outside of Venice, not the most scenic part of the area! But we did hop off and sit again in the sunshine for more wine! (When in Italy…!)

Leaving Venice was sad, but like Salzburg it’s somewhere I hope to return to. Definitely a huge highlight of the trip so far, a difficult one to beat I should think.

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