Day 21 – 20th July 2020 – Lake Bled, Slovenia to Venice, Italy
The room last night was blooming freezing.. I think because it was in the basement, so another unsettled night. Am soon back on the road again and of course I am surrounded by mountains… what more can I say am running out of superlatives… just fantastic scenery
And the weather is hot, a fantastic riding day. Just as it has been for the last 3 days the roads are twisty and practically empty, except now I’m starting to notice more lorries, I think they are avoiding the toll road as usual. I am almost at the border with Italy so it isn’t too long before I am leaving Slovenia.
However, just before crossing the border into Italy there is a ‘souvenir’ shop. I stop as I want to get a Slovenia sticker for my top box, (I need an Austria one too, but missed out so flea bay will be required when I get home). I park the bike up, but there is a bit of a slope so out with the trusty puck. In the shop there is a coffee machine, it’s pretty bad stuff, but I drink it anyway. No stickers though… bah!
Time for a photo or 3 methinks:
Back to the bike and through the border… not a soul in sight!! So it’s So Long Slovenia and I’m Back Italy! Wish I’d brought some Grannies Go Wild stickers with me!
At the next town I see a hardware shop… ooooo maybe I can get some paracord for the puck. I find a good spot to park, but it’s still a bit of a slope so out with the puck…. fuck! The puck is gone… I left it on the ground at the gift shop in Slovenia… bloody hell!! Well there is no way I’m leaving it. I jump back on Minnie and head 11kms back to the shop. I am praying it will be there, I’ve got at least 2 more weeks of trying to park this thing!😡😡
I arrive and there it is, exactly where I left it… bloody triple whooop! 🥳🥳🥳
So, let’s try that again shall we Pogs? I arrive back at the hardware shop.. it’s shut.. of course 😬 bloody typical. Oh well, I’ll keep looking, but more earnestly now that I almost lost Pucky.
The mountains and spectacular scenery continues… the weather is just perfect and am loving this, especially as I’ve got the puck back.
Again passing through towns and villages quite reminiscent of Slovenia, but some of the building aren’t as pristine however some do have water towers, a definite plus in my book 😎.
As I come down out of the mountains the road becomes faster and busier… and before long I am leaving the mountains behind, for the time being,
As I descend I do spot an interesting ruin…
Don’t know what it is, some kind of fort or castle I guess.
All at once I am down on the plains and seem to be entering beer country. There are a lot of hop fields and I pass by a Nazzuro brewery. The satnav then directs me into a left turn, leaving the main road and heading south. This is definitely Vino country as I can see plenty of vines. I also come across this, it looks like an old abandoned winery.
I notice there are still acres full of vines and what looks to be huge, very modern, winery’s in the vicinity. Just a couple of miles further on and here is another, more substantial one.
They even had their own family chapel… obviously have done very well, so maybe they have just moved on and up…
Anyway, its all crumbling away behind a wire fence now.
I start to speculate, maybe the family run vineyards were so successful that they have moved to bigger more modern premises, or is it that the conglomerates have just put them out of business or taken them over. It all seems as little sad to see these old buildings full of history left to decay.
A little further on there is another….
Don’t you think these properties are just ‘ripe’ for renovation? I would love something like this to have as our clubhouse, it is a bit far for club nights though!!
Into a town and there is this tower, just randomly in the road… don’t think it’s for water though.
but this one is..
It’s a bit Pisa-ish.
About 40kms from Venice I see a Decathlon and a cafe… time for a stop. I manage to get some tent guy ropes and immediately attach a length to Pucky… I’m not leaving her behind again I can tell you. I have a coffee and sandwich while I get on to booking.com to find a place to stay. I find the perfect accommodation, right in the heart of Venice on the canals for just £110 plus city tax for 3 nights… I say that’s a bargain.
All at once I am entering the causeway that links Venice to the mainland. I have put the camera on to film entering Venice, but don’t realise the SD card is full… bah! In any event there isn’t much to see… I can see the famous Venetian skyline in the distance, but of course vehicles are not allowed in. At the end of the causeway there is a railway and bus terminus and a huge car park.
On booking.com the accommodation says there is parking but it needs to be reserved. I have sent a message asking for a reservation, but when I arrive there is no way to ride to the actual place, so I don’t get it!! I receive a Whats App message from the owner who says I must either park at the bus station for a fee or there is free bike parking the other side of the causeway.. well, that’s how it reads. It then says I have to get a boat from the bus station to them, it is four stops, or I can walk for about 20 minutes…WALK are you having a laugh, not with all this luggage I can tell you. I am not best pleased… grrrrr. I did spot bike parking at this end of the causeway, but obviously I don’t know if I can park there and how safe it is. I ride the bike back up to it and I see there are loads of bikes parked up, a few of which have covers on so seem to be long stay. I pull in and find a spot. I decide to chance it, thank the goddess I brought a bike cover with me. Basically, I don’t seem to have any choice really, apparently the bike parking at the multi storey is €15 a day and this place seems to be free. While I am unpacking a bloke comes along to collect his bike so I ask if he speaks English.. he does, perfectly of course. I ask if it is ok to park here, ‘Oh yes, no problem, it is free’, ‘I need to leave it for 3 days, will it be safe’, ‘Yes, absolutely, you will have no problem’, ‘Oh great and Grazie’. So, that’s one problem solved, now how do I get to the accommodation?? I message the owner, Nicola, she replies that I need to get a ticket to San Stae it is 4 stops on the N1 line, 10 minutes or walk 20 minutes… well I’ve already covered the walking… not even going there, so look for the boat line. It is back at the bus terminal so I have to hump my bags all the way there, its about half a km, bloody sweating I am. When I get there I just ask the first chap I see, he again can speak good English and directs me to the boat stop. It is actually surprisingly easy. I just go up to the desk and ask for a ticket to San Stae, I don’t pronounce it properly of course. The ticket is €7.50 one way, there are other options available like all day on/off tickets but, I don’t know what I am doing as yet so just get the one way for now.
The boat comes and I ask someone is this to San Stae, she says yes so I hop on. I already know it is the fourth stop, but each stop is very clearly labeled so I settle down and take a few snaps… gosh this is exciting!!
I was under the impression that Venice is quite smelly, but I can’t smell anything. It is really something to see it in real life, the boat traffic is just like on the roads, boats of different sizes whipping up and down, working vessels with cargo and small craft that I assume replace the cars people would own for personal transport in any other city and water taxi’s. Haven’t seen a Gondola yet though.
I arrive at the San Stae stop and get off… where now?? I am looking for number 1964… I walk down as far as 1965 and then it jumps to 1958.. Oh, who’s nicked 1964, (a very good year… remember it well, not really I was only 8), so I look down the next ‘street’, but these are totally different numbers. I’m not even sure I am on the right street but there are only two bordered by canals so it must be one of them. I message Nicola, no reply.. then I notice there is a tiny side alleyway next to 1965, I wonder if it is down there? It is so narrow my bag is scraping the wall… yay here it is. I ring the bell… a man answers, it is Nicola.. oh, ok. He seems to be a bit surprised, he was expecting a man because my name is too difficult and the picture on Whats App is a man… we are not getting off to a good start! ‘No… the picture is me’, I say quite stiffly, ‘Yes, but I thought… with the bike… and the name is so difficult.. for me… italian names easy…’ he trails off. I say, ‘On booking.com it says you have parking, had I known you don’t I wouldn’t have booked’ he seems to ignore or not have heard this. He immediately launches into showing me the room, which is really lovely, just perfect for a Venetian home in my view. He then proceeds to show me on a map where to go.. he runs through it extremely quickly.. tomorrow you walk down here, then here (circling a bridge) then you can go here to see… something, something and something.. and then you arrive Piazza San Marco, then you walk here to see blah, blah, blah… it is all too fast and with the accent too much to take in. He then proceeds to organise my itinerary for day 2, how I can visit the outlaying islands and make a trip up the Grand Canal… I just nod and thank him for the information. I will look on Trip Advisor later. He is really very nice and so helpful so I guess I forgive him re the parking, given there are no vehicles in Venice it would have been impossible to get anything this good or convenient anyway.
So, here is my lovely room
After all that I cannot wait to get in the shower, then it’s out for dinner. Nicola has made a couple of recommendations, one of which is not far so I hope I am not going to be too late as it is already past 10 o’clock.
Well, I am in time and what a fantastic start, eating right beside a canal in the moonlight… the perfect end to an almost perfect day.
I think I might have over ordered…
and it is strange eating with boats zooming past just a few feet away
Can’t wait til tomorrow… I have my iPad with me and have booked a lagoon tour to 3 islands in the afternoon. I looked at Gondola rides and they are €80 for 30 minutes… wow that’s expensive… am going to have to think about that, so am leaving it for now.