And then we were in Italy! We were staying on the end of the Jesolo peninsula in Punta Sabbioni. While this was an excellent place to stay, with boat connections across the lagoon as well as a huge beach, it was a pain to get in to. There’s only one main road along the peninsula, and traffic was backed up all the way from the mainland. After thinking we were almost there, it took us another hour to crawl the the 18 miles to our campsite.
The campsite was lovely. An agricampeggio, it was on a working vegetable farm which sold its own produce, including its own sparkling wine. We’d asked for a shaded pitch, but were yet again disappointed when we were shown to our pitch and told they it got the shade from 6ish. Thanks. While the caravan had no shade, the pitch was tucked away and did have lower shade so plenty of space for Evelyn to play out of the blazing heat. Unfortunately it also had mosquitoes. They fumigated the site the day before we left, but until then we were in a permanent battle with the bitey little bastards, and regularly woke up with at least one of us having been attacked.
Having a down day after travelling, we spent the next day at the beach. We approached it via another campsite and were surprised how packed the beach was, but then realised this was a private area. We carried on down the seafront 50m and found the beach beyond deserted.
Evelyn loved the beach. She’d been hit and miss the last time we’d been on one last summer, and hadn’t been keen on the sea, but she loved it this time. We spent hours playing in the “uppy-downies” (waves), collecting shells and making sandcastles.
On Tuesday we headed to Venice. After an early start to walk to the water taxi stop, we took the 40 minute journey to St Marks Square. I was keen on seeing the Grand Canal from the water, so jumped on another water taxi to head that way. Except this boat was heading the opposite direction on that line, and the port for the next stop also wasn’t open. Half an hour of faffing about later and we were finally on our water taxi heading in the right direction.
I’d been to Venice 10 years ago, but because I’m not keen on boats hadn’t experienced the Grand Canal apart from the bridges over it. Taking a boat along it, it was brilliant to see all the beautiful palazzos and museums right on the water. Evelyn was also fascinated with the speeding water ambulance, although I was less impressed with the effect of its wake.
We got the water taxi all the way back to the train station, then wandered through the back streets back in the general direction of St Marks Square. Being traffic free it was great to let Evelyn explore, although the chance of open water around any corner meant we still had to keep her on her reins. She loved the alleyways, tunnels, steps and bridges, and especially chasing pigeons in the piazzas. We wandered for a few hours, stopping for cicchetti (Italian tapas) along the way.
The next day we were back on the boats to explore the islands of Murano and Burano.
Murano is famed for its intricate glass production. In the 1920’s all the glass blowers in Venice were moved out to the (set of) islands to reduce the fire risk. The commune quickly established itself as experts in glass production. While glass is still produced there, it’s very much a tourist attraction now, with boat loads of people herded in to demonstrations at the bigger factories. We tried to join one of these, but having travelled independently to the island, struggled to find one that would let us in. Eventually we found a place, but on closer inspection, the idea of having Evelyn in a hot furnace room seemed like a stupid idea. Instead we wandered the lanes and explored the shops selling beautiful intricate glass works.
Then on to Burano. Burano is famed for its brightly coloured houses, and it certainly attracted its fair share of Instagram wankers. But justifiably so, every alley is a beautiful photo opportunity. Again, we wandered the lanes, gawping at the multicoloured streets and people posing in them. We stopped briefly at a playground with the intention of letting Evelyn have an airing, but were swarmed with mosquitoes in seconds, so had to appease her with ice cream after we made a swift exit before she could get on anything.
On Thursday morning we headed to Jesolo, a holiday town back along the peninsula. This had a much more tourist feel than the quiet countryside area we were staying, and Evelyn enjoyed playing on the beach playgrounds and in the arcades.
It was going to be sometime before we were at the coast again, so we headed back to the beach in the afternoon to make the most of the waves and sandcastles.
Friday was a quiet day as we packed up our pitch ready for our next stop, Lake Garda, picking up Grandad North en route!
Where we stayed: