Stresa to Venice
Day 11 Saturday 2nd October 2010
Drive from Stresa to Venice. Used back roads, drove around outskirts of Milan and observed the roadside prostitutes marketing their wares. Stopped off in Sirmione to view the Roman ruins on Lake Garda. Stayed in Villa Vicinni in Preganzol near Venice.
Chatter – he says
After the strange behaviour of the GPS the night before, we still trusted it to get us across to Venice. We were rewarded fortunately.
Our trip took us out of scenic Stresa and into the flat and misty landscape south of Milan. The area around Milan is quite industrial and in stark contrast to what we had been experiencing up to that point.
As we drove around the semi rural area, I noted a girl on the side of the road beautifully attired from the naval up. Nothing but shoes from the naval down. I commented to Jenny, who suggested she was probably wearing a tight pair of trousers. Unconvinced, I knew what I saw, and there was definitely only shoes below the naval. Further along we spotted another, then another. The trip took on a new interest for us, which Jenny has kindly offered to elaborate on.
On the way from Milan to Venice, we stopped off at Lake Garda to view the Roman ruins there. The place is very popular with tourists, and there are huge parking lots for buses and private vehicles.
The ruins are on the end of a peninsula which juts out into the lake. The entrance to the peninsula is guarded by a mediaeval castle and moat, which is impressive to look at. However as it was crowded we did not go in. We ate our lunch on the wharf and watched all the tourist boats come and go.
The ruins are those of a large Roman villa, measuring about the size of a football field. The villa’s main frontage would have been a very impressive 3 storeyed, pillared balcony structure looking out over the peninsula headland. A lot of the vertical parts of the structure are still standing, though all the floors have long collapsed. Photo shoots at every turn.
We headed on to Venice using the motorways, not the tollways. The roads were not crowded, but I did experience being overtaken by 3 large motorbikes, travelling at speeds probably up to 3 times what I was doing, and I had 3 digits showing on my speedo.
As the sun was setting behind me, I could see a large red ball in the rear vision mirror. The haze was so bad that it was possible to look at the sun with the naked eye (through the mirror). As we approached the outskirts of Venice, the traffic thickened and slowed to a crawl. It took us about 45mins to do the last 10km to our accommodation.
On reaching our hotel, the entrance was off a side street. The grounds were palatial, and there was a huge turnaround in front of the doors, and adorned with typical venetian sculptures and rose gardens. Unfortunately you could not use the turnaround – it was there for looks, not practical purposes. We lugged our bags across the pebbled turnaround and were greeted by a cheery chap who as it turned out was an employee of Air France helping a friend out in Venice. He was French and spoke excellent English. “For you I have a room overlooking the gardens, or if you prefer I can arrange for you to have the room overlooking the main road – which would you prefer this evening?”
After dropping our bags off we thought we would go out for a quick meal. There was nothing around our hotel so we went down the road to Moglione. We walked everywhere and decided there was only one place open that served meals of the sort we wanted. It was crowded and waiters were racing everywhere amongst the drinking patrons, delivering pizzas and drinks to those at the tables. As we looked for somewhere to sit, we met up with Helen, another member of our group who had just that evening also arrived in Venice. Our early evening for planning our Venice trip did not eventuate, and it was after 11 that we returned to our hotel room overlooking the garden.