Exploring Mestre

I woke early and set off to find a way into Venice. I ended up on Punta Sabbatini which is on the eastern edge of the lagoon. There is a car park which charges €6 per 12 hours for campers, one of the few that does. No sleeping in it though. However about a mile away there is a free car park where a blind eye is turned to sleeping. However signs warn you that if you leave your step out or even a window open that constitutes camping and you will be moved on or fined or both. I have seen a motorhome being towed away so they’re not idle threats. It appears to me that this area of Italy doesn’t actually like motor homes. I have indeed heard before that wild camping is in fact illegal in Italy: they simply turn a blind eye to it most times.

So a sleepover in the car park, then in the morning go to the more secure, manned car park for €6 and pay €18 each for a 12 hour pass on the boats into Venice. Seems like a plan. The journey is about 45 minutes each way so factor that in to your 12 hours. I actually fell over when checking out ticket prices as there was a decorative painted floor and after the rain it was slippery and I went down heavily on one knee. Check out the bruises! IMAG0340

I went back to the van frustrated, in pain and a little down as so many things have gone wrong over the last few months and cost me over £4,000 so far. (Laptop breaking, wheel bearing, rear brakes, lights, brakes fading, money card etc etc etc) Anyway I had a coffee and a nap then opened Google for a long session to see what I could find. I found a campsite that sounded heavenly. Right at the end of the causeway to Venice, laundry service included, free wifi, free electric, it’s own jetty and boat to Venice, and all for only €20 euros a night. I set off sharpish to find it but it appears to have closed down! Nevertheless I found San Giuliano car park and here’s hoping I can access Venice tomorrow.

Venice

So, guess what we did? Well, we found the Brenner Pass which I remembered from old war films, but it was a shiny new motorway through it so it’s a doddle to drive from Austria all the way down to Venice…

The first bridge crossing to the main island
The first bridge crossing to the main island

Oh yeah baby…about 5-6 hours or something and there we were! It was Jo’s first trip so she was up for it despite the drive, which we enjoyed anyway especially driving through the Dolemites. Again the scenery was magical for some of the way. I’d joined this club thing where you pay a few Euros to join, and all campsites are at 1 of 3 fixed prices. Out of season was really cheap so we booked in for a couple of nights at Camping Rialto. It was a down and dirty campsite, the toilets were absolutely minging as were the showers, so we used neither and we didn’t eat at the cafe place as it didn’t look much better than the showers lol
But it was cheap and a bus stop outside had regular buses going directly to Piazzale Roma which is the huge square on the landward edge of the main island. 

We settled in at the site and as quickly as we could set off for the bus. I’d been before to Venice but it’s one of my fave places, and Jo was excited to go for the first time so we were like 2 kids on an adventure trip. The weather was perfect to see Venice too. 

We went a bit mad and did the Rialto Bridge, a water bus or vaporetto, St Mark’s Square, a gondola (which cost us an arm and a leg even after the haggling) and a tragetto for about 50 cents which not many people know about. We also went up the bell tower, St Mark’s Campanile and fed the pigeons when we came back down. We saw the Bridge of Sighs apparently so called as it led from the magistrates office to the prison, so people with long sentences were heard to sigh heavily as they walked along it. And we found the most idyllic little pizzeria in the world hidden down a back street and then came and watched the sun go down, with our feet dangling in the lagoon and the Giudecca in the distance. 

Venice is a magical place, it is where I would choose to live if I could. There just isn’t anything bad about the place. Apart from the fact it’s sinking…

As you can imagine I took hundreds of photos so here’s a small selection of them for you.