France/Italy Part 5: Lake Garda – Verona – Venice

Bluebell the motorhome is parked along with several other European vans on the outskirts of the one and only Venice! Today we crossed over the 1500 miles milestone, and we are thrilled we’ve made it this far! Amazingly, we’ve only used 4 tanks of fuel- so were averaging around just under 400 miles per tank- we’re happy with that!

Yesterday we spent a day mooching in charming Verona, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and we got another freebie on our overnight parking as when we pulled into where the sat nav told us the official sosta was, we saw 10+ vans in a huge car park next door. We pulled in and asked a French motorhoming family a) was it possible to stay here overnight and b) how much? We were pleased when they said it was ok and free, and celebrated by having a pizza lunch in the main square. Verona is a lovely place to spend the day, we enjoyed taking in the sights, including the amphitheatre and of course the famous balcony from Romeo and Juliet (however my guide book told us that this is infact not true, it was erected by Verona council in the 1920s to boost tourism!) it was still a great sight to see, and we thoroughly enjoyed it there, despite the 40 degrees heat!!

We had a chill (or rather bake) in the evening and slept well, despite the temperature in the van remaining stable at 30 degrees all night!

We set off this morning for our sosta on the outskirts of Venice! We both were very excited, I’ve been before but Keith hasn’t! We arrived at 1030 am and set off to find our water bus to the centre. It was great exploring Venice and showing Keith all the sights, but my god, its hot!!! Jazz dealt amazingly with the heat, but what he really enjoys is laying under the tables in European cities, watching the world go by! So, to treat him, and us, we treat ourselves to lunch at a trattoria near to Rialto Bridge, and we had the most amazing calzone pizza! We’ve both been impressed with the prices over here eating out. Today obviously has been more expensive as we’ve been in Venice, but yesterday we had pizza for 6 euros each in Verona overlooking the main square and arena!

It’s boiling again tonight, but it doesn’t matter, bluebell so far is doing great and we are finding plenty of free water so we can shower to our hearts content!

Tomorrow we are heading towards Pisa!! We may miss San Marino this time, as its a 160 mile detour, and we are thinking of swinging back to France for the last week to enjoy some cheaper fuel, but also have a look round the French Riviera! The joys of motorhoming mean we can change route right at the last minute! For now though, I’m looking forward to getting to Pisa, and having a couple of days in Tuscany! 🙂

Until next time













France/Italy Part 4: Lake Orta- Lake Maggiore- Lake Garda

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up here overlooking the lovely Lake Garda! It’s been a hot day again tots, nearly 37 degrees on one pharmacy temperature sign that we passed! Yesterday, we begrudgingly left Lake Orta for Lake Maggiore, just down the road. We nipped into the supermarket on route to stock up on supplies, everything here is more expensive than France, but looks delicious! We carried on to the sosta at Cannobio, which we knew was going to be our first night of paid parking, but had been recommended to us as a place to visit. As luck would have it, we ended up not having to pay as the machine was broken! Result!! We parked up between two Italian vans, and promptly got told off in loud and fast italian! We still aren’t exactly sure what we did, it was definitely a space, however we think the gist was that they were friends and wanted the free space to be their communal area! Well, luck wasn’t on their side, as they’d inadvertently picked on the wrong Brit, my northern stubbornness wasn’t going to let them intimidate us, so I said in my best italian that we were only there for the one night and there was nowhere else to park- if id have known the Italian for “so there” i would have no doubt dropped it in- a mixture of hormonalness, and fed up ness of being bipped during our journeys made me grouchy!!

We set off to explore the town, which is pretty pastel coloured fronts, a huge promenade and lovely restaurants and bars overlooking the lake. It’s much bigger than Orta, but equally as charming. We picked up a leaflet for a cycle trail and set back to pick up the bikes. It was a great trail, took us into the mountains and back down to the town. We stopped at the beach for a cheeky dip in the lake to cool off, then set back to the sosta. I should have known, Italians are clearly a match in the stubborn department as the northern me, and they had promptly set out all their gear right outside our door. It was so spread out we couldn’t even get to the back of our van with the bikes!!! We’d noticed that a space had come up down the pretty end of the area, however I was reluctant to move, I wanted to remain stubborn!! In the end, we did, and we were rewarded with a fantastic campsite size pitch, in its own private glade, and a view of the river and mountains! We enjoyed the evening chilling with some local wine and watched the sun go down. It was wonderful.

This morning we decoded to give Como a miss, and therefore set off towards Garda. It was a very easy journey, although 3 hours, it was mainly motorway. The tolls here are so cheap compared to France! Our 120 mile journey on the motorway cost no more than €10, in France I reckon it would have been nearer €40.

We’ve pitched up on a massive sosta next to the lake on the outskirts of Sirmione. We cycled into the town this afternoon and had a wander and some famous ice cream- I had apple and Keith had raspberry, it was gorgeous! The sosta costs €18 with services, including free wifi. It’s landscaped like a campsite and as that feel to it, but we are happy enough to pay for it, we know we are safe, and we have just watched the most amazing sunset from our window. Besides, an actual campsite here would be double.

Tomorrow we are moving on to Verona to reinact Romeo and Juliet and have a wander!!

Until next time,