Posted by: glenswatman | July 21, 2011

20110711-21 ITALY


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MONDAY 11 JULY – Steve prefers the parking at Pioppo so we return there and pay €9 (£8) for 24-hours. There are only 2 motorhomes left and the rest of the car park is full of rubbish but people are already out clearing it up. What a difference a day makes, it seems that the bulk of the people using the car parks yesterday were either down for the day or the weekend as it is now much quieter. At the lagoon beach I spend a pleasant morning sunbathing whist Steve explores the other beaches further along. By 11.30am it is too hot to stay so we meet Bev & Norm back at the van for lunch and a siesta. In the evening we all go for a late swim the Bev & Norm head off to pick up a fresh chicken. When we get back to the parking area there is a big sign saying it is now closed and will remain so until September. Another motorhomer comes over to us and explains we must leave within the next hour. Seems like a real déjà vu when Bev & Norm return and we tell them to hop in quick because we are moving.

TUESDAY 12 JULY – Arriving at Lido di Jesolo we immediately see Area Camper Don Bosco. We are booked to stay here when the family visit so think it a good idea to check it out. Although it is a little old it is very good value at €11 (£10) night regardless how many people. You can pay extra for hot showers (cold are free) and electricity and there is free wi-fi which will please Daniel. Norm is full of cold and his snoring is keeping me awake at night so he & Bev head off to find a room whilst we settle in. We explore the area and find numerous other motorhome parking areas including one with Scottish John and his English wife Chris in charge. They speak hardly any Italian but are working here for the season. Recently retired early they are also backpackers who have done lots of travelling in Asia so with lots to talk about they invite us to stay for a drink. Late afternoon we head down to the beach which is very pleasant, it is 5pm and the thermometer is showing 35C. Nearby we find the local square with a bike stand. A sign says they are free for tourists you just have to register with a refundable €10 (£9) deposit at the tourist office to get a key.

WEDNESDAY 13 JULY – It was nearly midnight before the campsite when quiet but after that we get a very quiet night and don’t wake until 8.15am and even then we are amongst the early risers. After doing some hand laundry we head to the beach for the morning, return for a late lunch and siesta. In the evening we visit Chris and John and stay chatting until around 11pm.

THURSDAY 14 JULY – We head off in the direction of Punta Sabbioni, 17km away checking out campsites and motorhome stops en route. There’s a brand new Lidl opening nearby and we are pleasantly surprised to find attendants guide us to good parking and that the store is not too busy. At Piazza Brescia we get good tourist information. Crossing the main canal we are in Cavallino area, far more touristic then Jesolo. Campsites make a charge for the pitch and per person. According to the brochure this mean that the cost for the 4 of us would range from €48 (£43) to €104 (£90) a night. At the lower end there are no swimming pools and once you have a pool the sites are like a holiday camp with it being hard to see the pool water for kids. Don Bosco seems the best all round option as it is in a quieter location but near shops and restaurants, only 100m from the beach and cheap. We return along the canal which is a world apart from the beach strip just over 1km away. Here there are lots of farms, fishing boats and old telemetry towers. A visit to the old town of Jesolo completes our tour. Back at Don Bosco we chat to the friendly owner Renato, they have a deal during July of 10 nights for €99 (£90) including electric but we want to stay here now for the duration of Claire and the kids holiday meaning 16 nights, he happily agrees to do the whole lot at €10 (£9) night. We figure that if we take the last pitch we should at least be sure of having space one side of the vehicle once the site fills up over the weekend. Got that one wrong as mid evening a huge American motorhome comes in, takes the space next to us (which is not a pitch) then parks so close his slide out is all but touching our open window. To add insult to injury he then proceeds to run his noisy air-conditioner. Steve asks him if he will be using it much and he says, all the time because it is so hot. We move to put 1 space between us. On the other side, and giving us 1 pitch between us, a family from Scotland arrive with their young children. They have lived in Australia so there is plenty to talk about.

FRIDAY 15 JULY – Bev & Norm are up early to head off to Venice for the day. They have bought a package at €18.40 (£16.50) giving them return travel on buses and ferry. We spend the morning on the beach falling into the routine of calling in for an Italian ice cream (€1, 90p) in a cone on the way back. Reckon we will be here long enough for me to try each of the flavours. In the evening we walk along to the next square, the street is cordoned off to traffic and full of clothing, shoe and beach wear shops interspaced with restaurants. At Piazza Milano see a brass band setting up and are amazed to see a sign saying “William Howard School Band from Bramton”. We speak to the coach driver who says the school band, from near Carlisle; have been down here all week doing outdoor concerts. We get back quite late and are sat in bed reading when a motorhome pulls in beside us at 11pm. They talk very loudly and make a lot of noise spending about 1-hour settling in. Next a load of cars arrive and families proceed to set up tents in front of us before heading out. Once they have gone we are disturbed by a mosquito buzzing round followed by Norm snoring. The families arrive back and make lots of noise until about 2am (it seems that consideration is only a word in the English language). It starts getting windy so I have to get up to close the windows and roof vents. Around 3am a full blown storm hits with loud thunder. Having finally got to sleep we find out family neighbours are up making a noise at 6am.

SATURDAY 16 JULY – We establish that our noisy camping neighbours are only here for the weekend, thank goodness. Bev & Norm have made a good choice in checking back into the hotel for a couple of nights. Bev & Norm call back for lunch. As we are now on electric we have set up our new oven outside and bake potatoes and cauliflower cheese. Knowing how busy it is going to be we don’t even bother visiting the beach but make the most of our neighbours being out by fitting in an afternoon siesta. In the evening we go out for a walk with the Scottish family, Ian, Heather and boys Jamie 12, Charlie 10. At the roadside we see over 30 motorhome free camping for the weekend. Fortunately we have a much quieter night.

SUNDAY 17 JULY – Armed with my new airbed we head to the beach and manage to find our square metre of space to lie down. The ocean is perfect for wallowing on an airbed. I do a lot of people watching which is not only entertaining but establishes that, for women, pot bellies are in vogue. Nice to know I am in fashion! Bev & Norm join us for lunch then in the evening we call round to Chris and John and make arrangements to borrow their electric bikes tomorrow. By the time we get back the campsite has thinned out considerably.

MONDAY 18 JULY – We borrow Chris and John’s electric bikes to visit the dentist. They are power assisted battery ones so once you start peddling they almost do the work for you, doesn’t stop you getting saddle sore though. The tourist office gave me a leaflet about an English speaking dentist. We find him and the “receptionist” is abrupt but speaks some English. I show her my passport and European Health card and indicate that I want treatment on them. She says I will still have to pay which I understand as the cards only gain you the same national health treatment that a citizen of that country would have. In France I had to pay €21 and in Germany €10. There are 2 dentists and one flicks the temporary filling out then does an x-ray. Next the younger one cleans the cavity, puts in some medicine and another temporary filling saying I must come back on Wednesday afternoon for another filling. The “receptionist” demands €100 (£90). I get out my European Health card and passport and explain that I asked for treatment using them. She says they are private and I must pay the full amount and that this is only for today’s visit and I must pay the same again on Wednesday. She is really rude and when I ask her about what treatment they will do on Wednesday she just keeps demanding the money. I explain I don’t have €100 on me and she snatches my card and passport and puts them in a drawer. I go downstairs and report to Steve who goes back up, demands and grabs my passport back and says we will report to the Police. Steve tries to offer the €21 we paid in France but the younger dentist confronts Steve and tries to physically restrain him. Steve pushes past comes downstairs and we hastily cycle off. At the tourist office they explain in Italy all dentists are private except at the hospital. We are concerned that the dentist will report us to the Police for leaving without paying as they know where we are staying and for how long. The tourist board say we can write up what has happened and they will translate it to give to the Police. We are not only annoyed about being misled and the price but the fact that they took my passport and also pushed Steve around. We figure that we will end up having to pay but had we known the price we would have gone over to Croatia. Back at Don Bosco owner Renato phones up the dentist (we want to negotiate a price to pay). They say that if we don’t go to the Police the matter will be closed. Renato says this means we don’t have to pay! Doing research on the Internet I find out that it is common practice in Italy to “create” dental work so suspect I really didn’t need 2 visits. Bev & Norm return and we have supper together.

TUESDAY 19 JULY – Observe our normal routine of beach in the morning and afternoon by the van. It’s Bev & Norms last night with us and they treat us to a take away pizza as a last supper.

WEDNESDAY 20 JULY – We’ve arranged to join Chris & John for their weekly trip into Venice, they are doing research for a website so we hope to learn something from them. Setting out at 7.30am is too early for Bev & Norm who want to catch a late ferry then walk to their hotel. Our bus tickets cost €1.20 (£1.10) to the bus station then €3.60 (£3.35) to Venice. The second leg is an air-conditioned coach and the journey takes just over an hour. The bus station is at the head of the Grand Canal and Chris immediately leads us off to the south bank. The first outstanding sight is a temporary exhibition with 3 pictures. They appear to be pixilated and on closer inspection turn out to be individually painted wooden eggs. We visit numerous churches, many have surprising insides including fully painted ceilings like S Pantalon. San Barnabe Squares is where Indiana Jones was filmed including the church where he finally found the treasure. Along Zatttere there are lots of free museums with quirky art. Watching the rubbish being collected is quite interesting. It is loaded onto a barge after being taken there by specially designed carts that have 2 large wheels then an extension with 2 small wheels so it can be pushed over the numerous bridges. Crossing over Punte del Academia we notice a new trend in people putting padlocks onto the railings. On the north bank we see many more tourists but still find more than enough to do without visiting Rialto Bridge and St Marks Square. Heading back we are amazed to bump into Bev & Norm, good to know they arrived in Venice safely. It is a full 12-hour day out and although most enjoyable we are knackered once we get home.



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