Having fled the bad weather, we really enjoyed the glory that is Venice. We decided as the weather in northern Italy was so good we would take advantage.
This is to us what gives motorhome life its real edge: the ability to change your mind and just swan about, seeing new places and having new adventures. At the same time realising, as I write this, that in five weeks we will have finished this adventure. The end is nigh, so we intensify the trip!
Now more than ever, every day counts, and we still have so much to see and do before then. We left Venice and, consulting our Camper Contact app, found a cheap Aire in the UNESCO city of Vicenza - which was approximately a fifteen minute walk to the heart of the town.
As you all may know by now Elddis set us a challenge to visit as many UNESCO sites as possible on the route home, and in Italy this is not very hard. This town is famous for its Palladian buildings all designed by a local architect called, you guessed it, Mr Palladio!
This style was copied all over the world - even our hometown Greenwich has a Palladian building, the ‘Queens House’. So, back to Vicenza ... the town itself was very accessible and a day or two to see its glories would be enough. We were unlucky in that the Rotunda was closed on the day we decided to go and have a look.
The UNESCO charter for Vicenza
The Rotunda was closed when we visited
We were lucky enough to meet a fellow traveller who sat and chatted over an Aperol Spritz with us as we watched the locals have their ‘Passeggiata’ - an evening walk wearing all their finery. Mary was a wealth of knowledge, and we enjoyed whiling away the time, sharing stories and watching the world go by.
Via di Nani Vicenza
The Walls of Soave
The next day it was back on the road to enjoy one of our major loves, wine tasting! We stopped at a most amazing Aire - only €5 a night with electric and Wi-Fi, and all less then a five minute walk from the centre of charming walled town of Soave.
Here the bars serve the locally produced Soave whites and the luscious Valpolicella reds at great value prices. We were lucky that the young ladies at the two vineyards we visited in the town were enamoured with London so we had a very good tasting session. As we were already parked for the night, all good! To all of you lovely motorhomers out there, the Aire is great and the town is lovely stop off. That said, get on site early before 2.00 pm as it quickly fills up.
Walking into Soave - they hang books here.
The vines that make the grapes that make the wine in Soave!
Another 2 bottles bought in Soave.
Our home in Verona - don’t believe all the reviews.
The next morning with clear heads we set off for Verona of Romeo and Juliet fame and, yes, another UNESCO world heritage site. We have been asked many times about security and whether Aires are safe? Verona presented a problem in that the Aire we had picked (again a ten to fifteen minute walk to the centre of town) had a string of very bad reviews, all of them speaking of break-ins to vans on the site. So, as we were thinking of giving it a miss, we then spotted a review from lovely people we had met in Spain, Kath and James, their blog is well worth a read here
Their review was very positive, so we re-read all the bad ones, and saw they were grouped together over three days. This went to show that yes you can be robbed, but if your luck is out it is out all of the vans were robbed on one day. So with trepidation we set off. The Aire was like most, with many cameras covering the site and it was nearly full. We parked up and visited the town. This we would love to visit during the Opera festival, taking an opera. The town is lovely but was crowded and we were getting 'museumed out' again. More gelato was tried and it is so good here, but time again to get back to nature and relax a bit.
What I am trying to say here is: read the reviews, but do not be dominated by them. If you get robbed you will write a bad review. On the other hand, if nothing happens, you probably will not. Now we are now attempting to review all the sites we stayed at, not only on the blog, but on Camper Contact, Park4night and ACSI. If you like a place, please write a review - it helps all of us who love to travel!
The Arena at Verona, Opera all summer.
Cathedral in Verona.
From the tower in Verona
The lovers' balcony at Verona
Juliet in Verona
Verona - city of love.
Along Lake Garda
We are really getting into the swing of Italy now and love the food and the people, even if the driving is a little crazy! We set off again for the lakes and one in particular - a favourite of my dad - Lake Garda. We picked an ACSI campsite for its size, as well as its ratings. We wanted something small near cycle routes, as we have not done much for a while. La Palme fitted the bill to a tee, compact and with good ratings. We have been here for four nights and have had two days of rain, Ahhhhh, but we have had two lovely days, too, for the Bank Holiday weekend!
Aperol Spritz in the sun.
Where did all these people come from?? On Wednesday, the site was virtually empty and tonight as I write this, it is full, and they mostly seem to come from Germany. The lake is idyllic, and there is so much to see and do in the area. From walking, cycling, boating to theme parks, it really is great fun. We have cycled north and south, in fact managing to clock up over 70kms over the four days - plus many lovely walks.
There are so many birds in the area, the cacophony of sound from them at all hours never ceases to give pleasure. We have seen swan chicks in their nest and ducks sitting on their eggs - the circle of life never stops.
The town of Garda from the golf club.
The setting is magic and the gelato is top notch - speaking of which my gelato challenge has been going well. So many flavours tested on your behalf. The coconut and passion fruit today were really lip smacking, but Chocolate seems to always draw me back!
The view during the day of Lake Garda.
Sunset at Camping La Palme
This has however created a new issue for me, In Spain every pharmacy had a weighing scale, but we have not seen any in Italy until today. Very, very bad news - my gelato challenge has added more weight to my already stocky frame and sadly am now 2 kilos heavier then when we left the UK!
Can I please keep this boat? Only €300 an hour to hire!
So, the diet starts now. Oh dear, so that means that as long as we are in Italy it is straight to dessert, gelato first in my view.
We hope you guys all had a great Bank Holiday, wherever you are!