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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Venice and Lake Garda, Italy

Our planned route to Italy took us straight through the breathtaking scenery of Austria from North to South with every turn and tunnel providing some amazing views. Mr H did his research and was aware that for this privilege we had to purchase a Go Box on route, 80 Euros (minimum price). This small plastic device is stuck inside the RV windscreen and is monitored by numerous overhead sensors along the motorway. Expensive but better than messing with Peages and Toll booths. It was tricky for Mr H to locate the correct place to purchase one, he queued in one long line of fellow travellers in the midday sun only to be told he needed to be at another shop fifty metres away! So off we go with our bright orange plastic box on the windscreen bleeping merrily every time the spy-in-the-sky clocked it!

The journey seemed to be downhill all the way to Northern Italy and the scenery continued to be stunning.

We continued on to the Adriatic Sea where we stayed for several weeks in the searing heat at This site is on a peninsula which is lined with campsites along the main road from the town of Jesolo through Cavallino to Punta Sabbioni where you can catch a 30 minute ferry ride to Venice. The access roads to our pitch were as usual tight but Mr H managed to get us on and in some shade. The pitch was sandy and very close to the beach which was excellent with shallow sea a long way out. 

However, the pitch was covered in plants that regularly catapulted their seeds all over our groundsheet. Now normally this would not be a problem but these seeds were covered in vicious spikes that would puncture your feet and your bicycle tyres. Mr H has had two years of puncture-free cycling until arriving here where it became a regular occurrence.

A rather moist Mr H inspecting the damage

We had visited Venice a few years earlier and absolutely loved it. This time we took a trip both during the day and at night. Although it is still beautiful we were disappointed that the waterfront and St Mark's square in particular have become tacky, tired and overrun with casual traders.

There were fireworks on the beach once a week at 11.0pm which initially took us by surprise and scared us to death as we thought there were explosions right outside our windows!! Once we'd recovered and were able to prepare they provided a spectacular backdrop.

After a 3 weeks beach holiday we decided to move on and we wanted to visit Lake Garda which is on the way to Southern France. There are lots of campsites around the lake although access can be a problem. We were able to find large serviced pitches at Whilst Lake Garda is as developed as Venice the Towns around the Lake have retained their charm without becoming tacky and we managed to visit Desenzano, Padenghe, Moniga, Manerba, San Felice and Salo which was our favourite. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Waging am see (and Slovakia!)

After a couple of days adjusting to SJ returning home we moved on to another Leading campsite near Salzburg on the Austrian border. 
The site was very large, busy and on the shores of an impressive freshwater lake. The pitches were barely long enough to fit the RV on we were totally surrounded but had access to all services and Wi-Fi. The temperatures hit 100 degrees F plus during our stay, which was just about bearable with our air conditioning on although one neighbour complained that it was too noisy so we had to switch it off by 10.30 each night! Being totally surrounded felt claustrophobic, we had the mast of a boat inches away from our slide out, a tent, multiple bike racks, washing lines and a range of nearby cooking stoves that filled our RV with various strange aromas!! However, in typical German campsite style everything ran like clockwork and all the facilities were excellent with immaculate modern shower blocks and the best washing machines.

The town of Waging am see and the lake are beautiful and most days we lounged on the shore watching the antics of people splashing about with anything that was inflatable! We ventured into the lake for a swim to cool down most days, in-between trying to find a parking slot for our bikes and a few square feet of empty ground to sit down.  

The main reason for selecting this camp site was to leave the RV secure for a few days whilst we travelled to Slovakia for a family wedding. Mr H had planned our trip to the wedding in his usual style, utilising the internet, his sense of fearless adventure and his wallet!! Everything went smoothly on the journey out although it took all day. It started with a taxi ride to the local train station, then a train to Munich airport followed by a flight to Budapest. As planned we hired a car from Budapest airport to drive a further two hours to Banska Stryvinka. We have hired many cars during our travels but Mr H had to cope with intense heat, a sluggish clutch and wonky steering but we eventually arrived at our hotel in one piece that evening. 

A Slovakian wedding is as dramatic, joyous and surprising as the country itself! We enjoyed four crazy days with our family who had also travelled from far and wide to witness the event. Mr H was called upon to interpret the ceremony into English and did a marvellous job in the scorching heat, not an easy task stone cold sober and wearing a suit! Tears (mostly mine), laughter, endless photos and dancing followed the ceremony and we drank a few beers as well just to be social!  The town itself is a pleasant mixture of very old and modern buildings; we found a local mine and a 16th century Asylum to explore. Our return journey was plagued with delays and missed connections but we did it in the one day, exhausted but so pleased we had been to the very special wedding. We spent the following few days recovering and preparing for our next journey to Italy, as you do!