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Written on: Wednesday May 26th, 2010

A journal entry from: Europe 2010

May 26th 

Again we tried to follow the coastline, heading for Venice.  At first we did stay close and travelled through some neat holiday places, just can't believe there is so much beach and so little people.  I think in the summer months it must be a zoo because someone has to use up all the umbrellas, sunbeds and restaurants that are out there.  The ocean is beautiful too and shallow enough to walk out quite far so very safe for children.  It was a good ride although there were tons of trucks on the road, they too seemed to want to stay away from the autostrada.  We found our hotel in Dolo which is about 20k outside of Venice, a small town with a lovely river running through, we spent a lazy hour or two on a bench beside the river under a willow tree reading our books and enjoying a great Italian ice-cream. Just down the street away from the town are several large mansions that have been there for many years.  They stand in large grounds, some have been looked after others are run down, I'd love to know the history of them all. In the evening we ran the gauntlet with the traffic again, the hotel is situated just short of a walking path so it was a bit scary walking at the roadside as the traffic is fast and furious.  Can't believe how much traffic there is everywhere we've been, where are all these people going and why are they in such a hurry?  Can't help look at the old buildings and wonder about a more peaceful lifetime.  The restaurant was very interesting full of bottles of wine, the boxes that they came in, baskets of corks and a walking stick with Dr. Gregory House printed on it – a bit of an oddity.  The restaurateur welcomed us in a profusive manner without a word of English and somehow managed to convince us to stay although we had no idea what we would eat.  Turned out to be delicious, a starter of toast and a spread called bacala which our host managed to convey was made from grated dried fish.  Our second course was a platter of shellfish to share with salad – heaven, not a gram of pasta or a slice of pizza in sight.  We managed to actually eat desert which was one of Roger's old favourites from his younger days, vanilla slice.


May 27th

We had breakfast at the hotel and then walked five minutes to the bus stop and had a 40 minute ride into Venice.  We have found that this has been the less stressful way to go for Roger, taking public transport from outside of cities so that he hasn't had to drive in busy city tourist traffic.  The bus dropped us off near the waterbus area but we opted to find our way through the town and within minutes had no idea where we were.  So we wandered on trying to figure things out from our Lonely Planet Venice map but many of the street names weren't shown so when we saw a vendor selling larger scale maps, we readily bought one and soon figured out where we were and headed in a round about way for St Mark's Square.  From there we aimed for the Arsenal and then for one of the other big churches but got lost again, so we decided to give that church a miss and turned around, lo and behold there it was around the next corner.  I think that it was at this point that Roger muttered something about "You'd think they'd put the signs in English". We headed for the Rialto, what a zoo and then back to the bus station.  Sounds like we were only in Venice for a short time but in fact we strolled around for at least five hours taking in the various waterways and bridges.  It's a fascinating place and I think much cleaner than when we were there 42 years ago but still there was graffiti on the walls in a lot of areas and I can't believe that they drape adverts from some of the beautiful buildings and bridges.


The evening meal proved to be another interesting one.  We found a nice restaurant that actually gave the menu in English as well as Italian but that didn't seem to help, read on.  My tummy had been acting up so I decided to just have a pasta, Roger also ordered a pasta but then asked for two ribs, I glanced at the menu he was holding and thought they were advertised at 3.50E each.  After our pasta, as Roger was waiting for his ribs he began to speculate on just what they might be like and told me that they were shown as 3.50E per hg.  Things started to click with me and I told him he'd probably ordered something different to what he thought and the price wasn't per rib but by weight and then began to worry when a knife and fork was placed in front of me as well as Roger.  Then two huge steaks arrived on our table, he thought he'd ordered two ribs but he'd ordered two rib eye steaks.  I can't let anything waste so started to eat and it was delicious but far too much, so Roger asked the waitress for a doggie bag and we had two nice steaks for the following evening when we'd be self catering.  We thought the meal would be really expensive but it was 52E with tip and wine included.  It still amazes me just how much the Italians eat, there was a table of ladies and each ordered a pizza that Roger and I would share and probably still have some left for lunch the next day – most of them ate the whole thing and for the most part they were not overweight ladies.