As it turned out, it was a very wise decision not to head to San Marinao as it was a blustery cold evening and we experienced our first night of serious rain. We were really rather pleased we had gone for the short drive option and were soon tucked up in a nicely warmed up April.
Our next stop was at Lake Garda, Campeggio del Garda to be precise. Sel and Lyn our tour escorts had suggested the site as a short stay on the way home. We arrived mid afternoon to be greeted at the gate by a bevvy of familiar faces. It transpired that we were not going to be alone at the site as 5 or 6 of our group of travellers soon turned up in convoy. The campsite was quite busy but the weather had improved so we were happy. We were soon settled in. We found a pitch next to the Eurocamp tents, which had finished for the season and could just see the lake and beach if we stood on tip toe. The campsite was quite busy mainly with people on the long trek home.
The campsite was perfectly placed to visit both Verona and Venice, so we booked in for a 4 night stay. The station was a short walk into town.
The next morning found us on the platform waiting to catch the train to Verona. Only 2 stops away, so really handy.
Verona was a beautiful city. Nice and compact so easy to get around. We did the 10 minute stroll into the city from the station.
We were soon in the main square by the Arena di Verona, the huge 1st century amphitheatre in the city centre which is still used.
The City Hall.
Posh shops. Always good to browse around. A great mix of ancient and modern buildings with loads of balconies! Masses of places where Juliet could have stayed! We never did find her balcony, although we saw lots of signs. We wandered along the river bank and crept into some back street churches.
We ate in the town square, a pizza of course, but very nice. Verona is a busy place with lots of tourist groups everywhere.
We finished the day with a trip on the little train for a city tour. Really good value at only 5 euros each!
The next morning we were up early and on the express train to Venice. Super exciting! Venice was a last minute destination so we hadn't really researched the trip. We arrived in the heart of Venice to a mega busy scene.
There were crowds everywhere along with the canals, street hawkers and porters, fortunately no traffic. We were pleased we had decided to catch the train, parking in the suburbs would have been a nightmare. We set off on foot to get our bearings.
We avoided the gondolas at ridiculously expensive prices, though very picturesque.
We opted instead for a quiet stroll amongst the back streets and picturesque courtyards.
It amused us to see the washing, out to dry but I suppose they had to hang it somewhere.
There was no avoiding the Grand Canal. We were soon back amongst the clatter and noise.
Everywhere we went in Venice was a picture waiting to be taken.
Musicians and masks on every street corner. We ventured into the Piazza San Marco and went over the Rialto Bridge. Sadly there were massive queues for St Marks Basilica, maybe another time. We had a lovely meal in a small inexpensive back street restaurant before braving the train back to the campsite. We caught the local train back to Pescheria which took a massive 2 hours, stopping at every station, the cheap price made up for the long journey, only 11 euros! We loved Venice even the noise and the crowds. Another visit called for, perhaps with a bit more planning. At least we would know what to expect another time.
Tomorrow would bring almost the last stage of our journey home. The Austrian Alps, Luxembourg City and then onto Belgium.
With some in trepidation we set out for Austria over the Brenner Pass. The drive was amazing and well worth stepping outside our comfort zone, a first visit to Austria. We got our Vignette for a princely 9 E at the first motorway stop after the Brenner Pass. We were now well into the Tyrolean Alps and we set off across The Fern Pass another spectacular drive. We were heading for Natter see near Innsbruck and another site recommended by Lyn & Sel! We arrived to a picture postcard scene, absolutely beautiful!
The autumn colours were just coming into their own. The site is surrounded by mountains and we were woken up the next morning by the sound of cow bells as they were sent out to the surrounding fields. We were presented with a free bus pass into Innsbruck so we decided to take advantage of it and catch the bus into town.
Innsbruk is another very compact town that is easy to get around in. The bus went straight to the centre. We had a wander about the town it was a Sunday morning so relatively quiet.
The old town was much livelier with more tourists around. We did a bit of shopping.
We went into the Swarovski shop and had a bit of fun browsing the bling.
We restrained ourselves from buying a crystal embellished packet of cereal! Innsbruck is certainly a fabulous place for shopping. We caught the bus back through the mountains and more glorious views.
Everything about Austria was so clean and fresh. Later that evening we whiled away a happy hour or two with Lyn and Sel who had also turned up at Natter See, discussing our various adventures.
The next morning we had to say Auf Widsen Austria, as we were heading ever northwards. Next stop Luxembourg City and Camping Kockelscheuer. Another well placed site on a bus route to Luxembourg City. This site was quite busy with people passing through or coming for cheap fuel. We did manage to fill April up here with the cheapest fuel of the holiday. The campsite was right on the edge of the town next to the Park and Ride.
Luxembourg City has an old and new part with a very steep hill to climb in between. Being really clever they have built a lift between the two with tremendous views on the way up and down. All free of course.
A view through the glass floor "going up".
It was a long way up!
There was just so much to see in Luxembourg City. Some of the shops were entertaining!
This said it all.
Palaces of course.
We spent a long and happy day tripping around the city and will certainly go back.
Our penultimate stop on the way home was Nieuwpoort in Belguim and Kompascamping.
We thought we could try somewhere on the Belgian coast as we hadn't been that way before. This site was a bit too far from the sea but nevertheless proved to be a lovely 2 night stop. Just by the canal it was a massive site but there was a very good restaurant and even better, two nights for the price of one. At 12.50 E a night our cheapest stop!
A short walk into town.
We soon found the King Albert 1 Monument and the fabulously moving museum which told the tale of the Great War through some fabulous art work.
We spent another hour or so browsing in the museum which was very quiet. We climbed right up to the top of the monument for views across the city, all new of course because so much had been destroyed.
All too soon our holiday had come to an end. One more night in France and we would be heading for the tunnel and home. A fabulous few weeks.
Where to next, we wondered????