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Arrivederci

ArrivederciMilan, Italy Milan, Italy Our last morning in Italy and up early as we need to be in Milan by about 10.30, and its 200k’s away. It’s typical that the best breakfast place we’ve stayed at doesn’t open for business till 8am, and we left at 7! Stop off at an Autogrill on the autostrada and into Milan by about 10, filling up with petrol before dropping the car off. Petrol here is about €1.80 per litre ($2.60), but if you don’t fill it up Hertz charge you €3.56 per litre ($5.15)! Plus another €20 service charge, plus they charge you for a full tank! There’s a lesson here, folks! Anyhow, into the airport straight to baggage check in…..no one else in line….miracles continue in the lovely country. We’ve been accumulating luggage along the way, and had madly rearranged to try to save on excess costs, but placed bags on weigh bridge with some trepidation. Rachael 2 kg over limit, place mine on……waiting, waiting. It’s like wheel of fortune here! Waiting……kerching, right on the button….40kgs, …

Castle to Mount

Castle to MountMalcesine, Italy Malcesine, Italy Our last full day in Italy started with a run…..for Rachael. I dressed for the occasion, but once we got out the front gate, claimed injury and retired to the safety of our room, and bed! From all accounts the run was lovely, the scenery spectacular, and the air clear, but I still didn’t feel guilty. Yes sirree! I’m injured and must rest up. Rested, we headed for breakfast. The Hotel Meridiana has quite the reputation for its breakfast, and unlike our previous hotels slapdash affair, this one lived up to the kudos. Muesli, yoghurt, fruit, croissants…the list goes on. Relaxed, fed, exercised (ok, it’s overrated!), and ready for our last day in Italy. Its most prominent landmark is the Castello Scaligero, which has 13th-century fortifications and an older medieval tower We made our way thru the old town to the Castle which sits on the high point by the lake, with commanding views in every direction, the perfect place from which to defend the town. Next we wandered …

Venice to Lake Garda via Verona.

Venice to Lake Garda via Verona.Malcesine, Italy Malcesine, Italy Goodbye Venice, hello Lake Garda. As planned, the alarm went off at 6am, and was ignored! Up at 8.30 for brekky and packing time, again. Breakfast in this place is pretty diabolical, so didn’t linger, but went back for a last look around and photo op. Besides brekky our hotel has been really good, if a little small as is typical for most hotels in Italy with space at a premium. We would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to stay in Venice on a bit of a budget. No lift was a bummer, having to walk up and down four flights of stairs, but we hardly spent anytime in our room, so no big deal. Bags packed we headed off to the vaporetta back to the train station, and on to Venezia station to get our hire car. The train station was a shambles as the fast ticket machines were all down, and the ticket booth queue was massive, but luckily found the water taxi …

Ferry time

Ferry timeVenice, Italy Venice, Italy As planned, our alarm went off at 5.30am and we were up and dressed ready to explore Venice on our own whilst watching the sun rise. It is a beautiful place when you have it to yourself, but you are also subjected to the rubbish from the night before, especially in St Marks Square, as the cleaners do not start until 6.30am and it is all swept up by hand. As we ventured around the city, Hugh’s keen eye took some wonderful pictures and the sky was perfectly clear, it was going to be a hot day. At 6.30am I bade him farewell and set off on my run. It is possible to run in Venice on very flat ground, but it does involve numerous foot bridges up and over each section of canal, so a bit of interval running was required. Towards the end of the grand canal there is a park which gives you sweeping views of Venice and the island of San Giorgio, so this particular run …

Walking miles, and miles, and miles…..in circles

Walking miles, and miles, and miles…..in circlesVenice, Italy Venice, Italy Our first full day in Venice started with a quick bite, then off to join the queue into St Marks Cathedral. Careful planning had us there at about 8.50, for a 9am start. Promising beginnings with only a short queue leading to the main doors, followed by disappointment when we realised the doors didn’t open till 9.45. Once inside your struck first by the ordinariness, dark and glum, almost dirty. Then the walls and ceilings slowly come to life, rich mosaics of gold covering every conceivable spot, detailing biblical stories and all manor mythical. It’s all very impressive, but in a different way to the opulent magnificence of St Peters, or the huge volume and serenity of Notre Dame. The work involved in the mosaics is mind boggling, who has the patience? We wandered around, looked at the treasury with its ancient religious relics, and then Rachael went off to light a candle. For those who have been following our journey you will have noticed …

Lake Como to Venice

Lake Como to VeniceVenice, Italy Venice, Italy Up early this morning as we have a four hour drive to Venice, so brekky and out the door by 8. Our little apartment has been great, very close to the ferry and all the main sights we wanted to see, as well as being only 10 minutes from the fancy place Maddy was staying at. Lake Como is beautiful, and we barely scratched the surface of things to do and see, so we may well come back for more……maybe?! So, at 8am we set the GPS and hit the road for a fast start to Venice. I had a feeling we are going the wrong way but pressed on regardless until the stupid machine says “turn right in 600 metres”. Only problem….a right turn is straight into the drink! GPS wants us to catch the ferry……mmmmm About turn, turn off the GPS for a while, and 30 minutes after departing we go past our apartment again. So much for an early start! GPS back on again. Two …

It actually rained!

It actually rained!Lake Como, Italy Lake Como, Italy This morning I decided to risk my life going for a run along the streets of Como. In parts there is nothing dividing you and the cars passing, therefore a 7am start was in order. As Hugh watched over our apartment, in his sleep, I managed to get through my run unscathed and was thankful for the little towns that had footpaths. I was also thankful that the lightning and thunder had subsided long enough for me to get through my run. Back for brekky before heading to our favourite wine bar for coffee and WiFi before driving to Menaggio. Here we actually took the time to start shopping, something we have been restrained with until we were nearer to the end of our trip. A few purchases later and suddenly the skies opened up and the rain came tumbling down. The change in weather today has been a welcome relief from the heat. A respectable 24 degrees with a light breeze, yet still warm enough to …