Monday 7 March 2016

This isn't Limehouse Cut...

The tempest abates. In its place is a relatively light breeze judging by the gentle dancing of a tree outside my window. These being holiday apartments and hence designed for use in the summer season it’s a bit chilly so I’m wrapped in nightie, pashmina, blankets and I might have left my tights on. Fortunately there is a small fan heater to take the edge off.

On the plus side my Jawbone was telling me I’d managed a marathon eight hours and two minutes sleep, crikey. I pondered a change in destination, my new travelling companion will love the contrariness!

Best I get showered and ready to be on the road! Maybe after a little explore…

So, out of shower and with my companion now awake I discussed the change, slightly closer and a bit more to see than on Krk. Venice. I mean *everyone* wants to see Venice, right? I’d found a suitable place to stay, it was cheap enough, in fact the car park ticket will probably be more, but what I’d found was on a canal and you can’t argue with that logic.

No really, you can’t.

We scoffed the breakfast of ham, cheese and bread we brought the night before. I even managed to appreciate the powerz of Clare’s new grill as this one was even worse. I reasoned warmed bread was better than cold. Yes? *hopeful face*

Who am I kidding, it wasn’t toasted. I wanted toasted.

After breakfast we loaded the car, updated Tom’s destination and off we went with a brief stop at the first filling station, the one that coincidentally was really good value! And then we were off on the three and a bit predicated hour route to Venice. Obviously it would take longer owing to stopping for coffees  and/or stopping because something interested had been seen.

Our first stop was to be Slovenia. We liked the idea of breakfast there. Or just coffee. Shame it didn’t reach such heady heights. The reality seemed to be that Slovenia was closed though once again we shot through passport control unlike the people in front. I’d love to know what that’s all about. We did stop at one point in the vague hope of a place opening soon, it didn’t, though they had at least helpfully left their WiFi password on show outside so I could at least prepare my blog, I even thought I’d posted it until I started getting lots of messages saying it wasn’t there. *sighs*

Welcome to Italy...
As we bumbled in to Italy the decision was made to stop for a comfort and coffee break so I duly rolled in to the next place I saw… And then rolled back out again as it was shut. As was the next one. Oh great. After endless beautifully prepare places in Croatia on perfect roads I was back to the joy of the Italians shutting up shop at the drop of a hat and ignoring road maintenance. Finally we found a place that *might* have been open due to two cars being outside and it not being shuttered so we wandered in, ordered drinks from a proponent of the school of stroppy service. We didn’t stay long, though I did linger a moment to enjoy the attention to detail they had lavished over the facilities.

To Venice. Well, after calling my mother.

The journey was okay and I even saw the first British registered car since I left Le Havre. And Audi being driven 6” behind a Mercedes at warp speed with no GB sticker on the back. I should be glad of small mercies I guess. As we approached Venice, still on the mainland, Tom decided to have a giggle and feigned being confused only to say “Ooh, no, silly me, this way” once it was too late. Git. It did mean though that we were now driving on the largest scalextric track in existence though it might have been for trams. Whatever it was it was horrible and the concrete walls really added to the ambience of the approach.

Eventually we got back on the right road with Tom looking suitably penitent as we were guided to the chosen car park. The road across the water is an interesting one, on one side we get these really fab views, on the other it reminded me of Blackpool sea front. Without the lights.

Or Kiss-Me-Quick hats for that matter.

Still we got there, we pulled in to the queue for the car park and waited. I noticed that there was a separate entrance for season ticket holders. I didn’t pay much attention to it as it seemed like a good idea to keep the regulars away from the now rabid tourists, but as we were directed to the 10th - and last - floor going past nine floors with spaces and signs that clearly said “we don’t want your sort here” I realised what the purpose of the car parks were for.

Not tourists.

Our Venice meandering...
It made sense really, in a city with no roads and a lot of Italians you needed *somewhere* to keep their cars so they could hare around the countryside demonstrating an inability to stay in the right lane. Smart. Still, it was fun to see the carmaggedon of visitors scrabbling for spaces. I was lucky and found one in moments though I then felt that english sense of shame at being across a bay. I couldn’t really avoid it, the cars either side were also across said bays so I was stuck. And feeling guilty.

Anyway. With that we packed what was needed for an overnight stop in to backpacks, basically clean knickers and a pair of heels, and then headed off towards the hotel.

So. Venice. First thoughts… Tourists, endless click-and-move-on tourists travelling en masse with no regard for anyone around them. We marched on dodging by groups that filled an entire path, the aim being to get to the hotel, check-in and dump the bags. It’s an interesting place though I don’t agree with the girl at the hotel reception, after one day I’d see lots of interesting things and then be happy to move on. Let’s face it, you’ve seen one building with crumbling plaster and a smell of the sea and you’ve seen them all.

What I wasn't expecting though was to be actually serenaded by some flirty gondolier as he punted some people along a canal. Is that the right phrase? Anyway, he did the whole ciao bella thing followed my complimenting my smile etc. Clearly insane, I do hope his customers survived though they did seem to find it amusing and liked the serenading bit.

I just blushed and giggled as I'm pathetic.

We finally found the hotel and I was pretty pleased with what we had. It was shown as being just five minutes from the centre of it all and it was. And the WiFi worked so the blog finally went. Exploring was slow and hampered by endless stop-and-clicks. A few spots of rain sent us back to the hotel as I had elected not to wear my hat. Fortunately my SPS (shop positioning system) was working at fashion overload setting so it was turn right at the orange coat and left after the really nice shoes, straight on past the skirt that nobody should wear, NOBODY and finally over the bridge and right to where a gondolier had been fiddling with his phone early. It’s a perfect system.

Hat back on and my companion now sporting a sensible coat we headed back out with the first stop being ice cream on the promise that I wouldn’t break in to “just one cornetto”. It was chocolate and very lovely, though given the temperature maybe a little mad. That said I was heartened to see that the only other lunatic buying ice cream was another british lady.

We have to keep up standards.

The walk was a meandering affair with no plan, along the way we saw San Marco, the Italian Navy, the Museo della Musica, popped in to a church and I had a Canaletto moment by the grand canal.

I adored the Museo della Musica, it had a stunning setting in San Maurizio. I was drawn in by the music playing - and the magic word “free” - and I was so glad I went, I was particularly fascinated by the large display of the stages of violin making. If you happen to be in Venice then head along, it’s worth seeing.

Not far from there, maybe, was San Moisè. It was open and as I’d not wandered in to a church yet I toddled in and did my usual thing of sitting in a pew and absorbing the atmosphere. Ahead of me was a stunning altarpiece, apparently by Meyring, which appeared to be of the ten commandments being given, quite impressive. At one point I closed my eyes and had an unexpectedly irrational moment in which I silently said a few words to a sky fairy about looking after my friend. A very peculiar feeling. I suspect I am actually losing my marbles. With that I quietly walked out of the main doors lost in thought.

The walk moved on, eventually we reached the Grand Canal which we’d past earlier in the day so could begin to retrace the route to the hotel. At least if we’d not gone a different way. Still I as the sun was heading to the horizon I took a quick candid photo that was my Canaletto moment. Not perfect and I imagine the photography obsessed would pooh-pooh it but I don’t care, I liked it and as it will serve as a gratuitous blog picture. Oh look, there it is!

Our restaurant
Eventually and after much wandering we made it back to the hotel and after warming up, as usual I’m wearing something inappropriate, and writing a little it was time to dress for dinner. As Venice was not shut it would be heels on, lips applied and out to cause trouble. Well, maybe not. I’d noticed a restaurant on the other side of the canal which given we had no idea what was about seemed like a perfectly sensible place to eat. And was close.

The starter was okay though not my first choice as what I wanted was unavailable, but my main of a simple lasagne al forno was pretty much perfect with the lasagna itself presumably being home made as it was melt in the mouth. I’ve just check and my companion’s dinner was also perfectly acceptable, though that might be a damning statement. I even had pudding though I shouldn’t have done as I’m a pig, I justified it based on the 6 miles of walking we’d done earlier around the city.

And the wine? That was the highlight of the meal, it was simply gorgeous, a 2012 Secco Bertini. If I see a bottle in the wild I might have to get one!

With dinner over it was suggested we move on to a bar, I readily agreed as it would be a shame to have carried heels for no reason. Google was consulted and showed a bar that was nearby. We wandered off in the general direction and…

Came across a slightly puddled path at the bottom of a bridge. Hmm, tide was coming in. It did explain what all what looked like low tables were actually for, there were to keep p
eople out of the water. Sadly there were none there. However rather than doubling back and heading a different way as my companion had new looking shoes I reasoned that we could sort of swing across by holding the edge of doorways. Sensible people turned around and went a different way but we were at least given a couple of “bravo” comments. I think that translates to lunatic.

We found the place. Well, it turns out we didn’t but it was in the right area and the right side of the bridge so maybe the place we’d been aiming for was actually closed but as I didn’t realise until the wine turned up we didn’t move.

Wine was drunk, conversation had and slowly but surely we cleared the place until it was pretty much only us left and we had to head back to the hotel. You remember the puddle? It was now a pool. A lake even. With sharks. Oh dear.

Weird table things
Having had a bottle of fizz I knew no logic so tried the same stunt going back, less successfully. Well when I say less successfully what I mean is I now had very wet shoes and tights. Not that I cared, by now I’m giggling like a loon and definitely seeing the funny side. The shoes were showered and left to dry when we got in.

I really am a liability.

I sat and wrote the first part of this blog post but I’m afraid the wine got to me and I kept drifting so rather than letting the iBastard smash to the floor I went off to bed leaving my companion fiddling with her pooter. Zzzzzzzz.

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