The van is running really well, in temperatures that are stupidly hot! We arrived at the campsite in Fusina just before 5pm, and got a nice spot on the seafront with views of Venice itself. We spent the rest of the day familiarising ourselves with the campsite facilities, which were pretty good with a nice combination of trees for shade, and the view over to Venice from the the water’s edge.
We made sure we got to bed early as we had some catching up to do after the hustle and bustle of the Boogaloo VW meeting. That said I woke up at approximately 5 am to the cooing of doves. I was sleeping on the top bunk as this has offered a nice breeze through the tent vents. I had views through the canvas windows front and side, and started to watch the sky change as the sun came up.
The temptation became to great, and I couldn’t resist popping outside to get some photos from different perspectives, and
half an hour later I retired back to bed for a snooze. .
We knew that getting into Venice was going to be via a ferry stop just outside our campsite entrance. We just needed to have a think about the different ticket options, which were a single return journey to Venice at a cost of €13, or unlimited trips over a 72 hour period for €28. The latter also included Alberoni Beach. We weren’t quite sure how many nights we were going to stay at Fusina initially , but we were thinking that maybe buying the three day pass would encourage us to stay that extra night knowing we weren’t going to have to restrict our travel by boat. Our main objective was clearly to see Venice itself. After some very good advice about where to go, and where not to go from a Fusina staff member at the double decker information bus at the campsite reception, we realised that we could justify paying the €28 each, and stay for four nights instead of three.
So tickets sorted we headed for the ferry. The temperature even at 10am was hot, but the breeze from the open water offered a welcome reprieve. I noticed that the ferry was following a route designated by large wooden posts on either side. I’ve seen lots of photos of gondalas, and wooden poles, but it became obvious what they were there for now. A kind of venician M1 in the water.
The journey took 20 minuites and we docked along side a floating pontoon for a restaurant. We immediately started to consult the map provided by the Fusina tourist guide. I love art, architecture and have a great respect for the two combined. Clearly there was lots to take in right from the off. I didn’t know where to focus my attention.
We chose to move towards St Marco for the square which was really nice. However just before midday I started to get hungry, and we knew we were in the wrong place for eating out. That said, we did find a coffee shop that provided us with a perfectly acceptable takaway cappuccino for €2 each after suggestions of €20 for a coffee, we were pleasantly surprised.
We continued to meander around the narrow streets. Knowing how hot it was in direct sunlight, we were pleased that there was plenty shade offered by the narrow streets. I guess this must have been a deliberate architectural design brief years ago during construction. We in the UK appreciate the sun when it comes out, but to any country that has more than their fair share most likely appreciate the shade. The old saying ‘only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’ isn’t too far from the truth.
The shops are awash with venician masks, venician glass, venician leather, and clothes shops. There are those that sell the genuine high quality goods, and ones that sell similar items at substantially cheaper prices. We almost brought a few items from one of the first shops we entered thinking they were really good prices, but later
we saw the same goods at market stores and multiple other shops so started to question the authenticity of original items. Lets face it, these places are awash with questionable merchandise, but i guess if there are gullible people willing to part with their cash, there is always going to be somebody that is willing to make a living from it.
Our budget was becoming increasingly tight due to the unforeseen expense of some of the toll roads in france, so if we were going to think long and hard about the gifts we took back to our loved ones.
As my hunger grew, we moved into a location slightly off the beaten track to find food at a reasonable price. One restaurant ad a few tables outside with the menus open at a selection of pages. It was really nice not to have been jumped on by a waiter trying to entice us in before we had even had chance to consult the menu. The restaurant had a dark bar inside so we weren’t sure it wasn’t just for tapas, but we soon realised that they offered pizza at very reasonable prices. The drinks seemed to be expensive, but it was still surprisingly cheap in total at €24.
Fully fueled we continued to explore moving alongside the Grand Canal. I’d heard of the Grand Canal, but again not having done my research, our visit put context to the words. The grand canal is the main body of water that cuts Venice in two.
Lots of narrower bodies of water filter off this main water way as can be seen below, but the main artery was Venice’s equivalent to the M1.
Unbeknown to us, with intrigue and curiosity we began to lose our bearings. Our intention was to head back to our campsite for mid afternoon, with a second visit on Wednesday.
So we started to follow the Grand Canal, thinking we were going to end up on the outskirts of Venice, with a short walk back to the ferry pickup point. However, we consulted Google maps and we were at the opposite end of the canal. Both of our phones were struggling for battery life after a day of photos and videos. We continued to wander through the maze of streets and canals, and upon the final consultation of Google maps realised that we were totally disorientated, and we lost the ability to navigate with our electronic devices. We had a map, but the print for each road was so small, that even with my reading glasses on it was confusing.
We had to conceded and approach an elderly restaurant owner, I pointed to the map hoping she would understand some english. Fortunately she understood, and started pointing saying Farari. Basically we needed to head south, and we knew that looking at the map. A good old fashioned compass would have got us to where we needed to be, and I have heard this said by die hard orienteering walkers, but I only really realised just how important this was.
Long story short, we started moving in the right direction after finding a couple of the local landmark churches. When we could see the ferry jetty in the distance we knew we could relax. We were both tired, and no doubt had become slightly dehydrated. The next ferry was going to arrive in 15 minutes, so we entered the closest restaurant, and asked for a beer and a coke. €12. Gulp. Still, it went down well. We got back to the campsite, and we both knew we had seen a lot more of the city than we intending in one day. Clearly not planned, but we looked back and laughed about it. Suffice to say that after 20,000+ steps recorded on our smart watches, we both slept very well that evening.
The following day we caught the 10am ferry to Alberoni. This took around 40 minutes and like the route to Venice, it followed a shipping lane made of wooden posts (im sure there is a more fitting name for these markers). I noticed a fair few cormorants perched on top of some, obviously looking for breakfast.
There wasn’t a great deal to see at the ferry stop at Alberoni other than a few tavernas and bistros. We were given directions to walk straight threw the town to get to the opposite side of the peninsula where we would find the beach. We were a little apprehensive as it was already getting warm and after our extended, exhausting tour of Venice the day before,we really just needed a chill out day on the beach. Also, both Mandy and myself had been nibbled by mosquitos, and one particular bite on my eyebrow had started to swell up and affect my vision
We stopped at a local shop for a coffee in the shade before carrying on. It only took us about 10 minutes along a shaded road before we came to a slightly overgrown carpark and a very unassuming entrance to the private beach. This particular strip of beach wasn’t very big, but it was kitted with sun beds, parasols, football and volleyball nets, beach huts and bars. That said it did have a slightly unloved feel to it.
We didn’t feel we could sit on the combed beach area as (being British) we felt we wouldn’t be right as we were not going to be paying for sun lounger. So we sat on an area just outside. Very natural and not really very appealing and a well established broad tide line consisting of all manner drift wood and debris. But the sun was out, and there was sea and sand so and we had our rose coloured specs on. We chilled for about two hours but that was all we could bear in the heat. We went for a paddle, and headed back to the coffee shop for another cappuccino so we were local to catch the 2pm ferry back to Fusina.
The clouds thickened over land on one side of the boat as we meandered back to the campsite via the ferry. There was the rumbling of thunder that seemed to be almost continual. No lightning which I found slightly strange. I was surprised that we made it back to the campervan before we had any rain, and what surprised me more was just how little rain we finally had in relation to the thunder. All very strange.
Day three was always going to be a chill out before heading into Venice to see it come to life in the evening. We arrived after 3pm, and took a leisurely stroll around the streets of the Dorsodouro, San Polo, and San Marco areas. It was really nice and relaxing. Totally different feel to the last time. Much more romantic, and amazing to see the Grand Canal come to life in the shade the low sun offered. The restaurants move more into the streets, and the atmosphere was far more engaging. The best way for us to end our final day in this wonderful part of the world.