I’d had a bad night up and down all night being sick or suffering diarrohoea. By morning the symptoms had eased off but I was as weak as a kitten. On the plus side we were heading to Venice today so Peanut could drive and I could just rest in the passenger seat.
For now I lay in bed while Peanut packed the cases around me. These European trips are so easy for us because we do them as a team. We share the driving and the work that’s needed and then if one of us gets lame the other can step up. These days in truth I am the lame one mostly.
I had a bath and stumbled on wobbly legs down to breakfast where I could only manage a fruit juice and a cup of tea. Andrea spoke to us at breakfast full of concern, saying stay as long as you like, rest and get your strength. This couple were so kind, what can I say except make the effort and see them for yourself, they will help you see Italy in such a lovely way.
Finally, Peanut and one of Andrea’s sons packed the car and we said our goodbyes. We strolled to the car and this provoked a whole new conversation as they admired the car. The son was fascinated by it too and Peanut proudly rolled off facts and figures, explained the significance of the roof numbers and then had to explain about the other three cars one of which belongs to The Elf. We have had this conversation at every petrol station we stop at in Italy. The Italians love their cars.
Actually sad to go, we set off with Peanut engaging sport mode to give our audience a few extra pops on the exhaust as we left. For the last time we stopped at the wooden gates as we waited for them to open electronically. Bizarrely one of the cutest things we have ever seen.
It was just over 3 and a half hours to Venice but it was twelve before we had left. Although on paper this holiday looks hectic, in truth it has been one of the laziest we have had. Lazy lie ins in Port Cogolin and the same at the castle.
En route we stopped at a service station and hadn’t even got out of of the car before a friendly Italian with a beaming smile was over to us making thumbs up signals. His wife translated for him telling us how he loved Motorsport and had worked for Porsche in Motorsport. They both loved the car. A long discussion ensued on the suspension with me explaining that it was a softer ride on the non run flat tyres and that this change had got rid of the interior rattles we had suffered prior to changing them. It made the car better for the long distance touring that we were doing on this holiday. Knowing nods from three experts in the field of vehicle suspension exchanged, akin to conversations men expert in all fields, exchange over pints in an English pub or wine in an Italian bar.
This is touring. Meeting strangers, chatting, fixing the world, breaking it again, then re fixing it with new Elastoplast. Inside the service shop, I got a drink an energy bar and some fruit pastilles. Never underestimate the power of the fruit pastille.
Our journey continued with Peanut still at the wheel, my symptoms had all but gone and this bit of energy food was pulling me round. Peanut told me more of her chat with Andrea up at the top of the castle tower sat around a table drinking red wine and nibbling cheese. They discussed the Mafia as one should in such a setting, a fascinating conversation about the power battles between the Italian, Russian and Chinese Mafia. Thus the journey passed and we were parking in Piazzale Roma in Venice.
We wheeled the cases across the square to the canal and jumped onto a water taxi to take us to the hotel. I have made this comment before but to take a little boat trip as the first thing you do in Venice makes going to this place special. We went under Ponte dell’Accademia then past St Marks Square and turned inwards by the Doge’s Palace and went under the Bridge of Sighs before docking at our hotel boat door. James Bond and Moneypenny thanked the taxi man and stepped off the boat and into the hotel. We were greeted by a loud and enthusiastic “bonjiorno” from the suave young hotel receptionist whose English was gloriously elaborate. It was so friendly and set a good tone for the start of the next stage of our trip.
Thus welcomed we were shown to our room, which was gloriously grand with a Murano chandelier that you do not realise from the compression in the photo below but is actually taller than I am! No jokes about my height today please, I’ve not yet stopped being James Bond. Still acting as Bond, I asked Moneypenny to tip the bellboy who had brought our cases.
We checked out the bathroom and there was another Murano chandelier in there! This was our kind of a hotel, we loved the room and after the castle in Tuscany it could so easily have been a let down. It wasn’t. The room was very cool due to the air conditioning, so Peanut turned it up and stepped onto the tiny balcony to let some warm air in. The view alas was not of the Bridge of Sighs. An imposing head of a bearded man topped a grand door facing us, 12 feet away across the narrow alley. A sad Kodak sign hung from the wall to the right and below this. Looking right a large “O” symbol seemed to straddle the alley.
The “O” is a mystery to be solved. It has chased us on this holiday. It is a Dan Browne like symbolistic oddity we repeatedly encounter. A later blog will follow on this once we crack the mystery.
I rested while Peanut unpacked and then we stepped into Venice below us. We headed to St Marks 50 metres away. The Longchamps shop nestled in the corner of the square and we headed there. The handbag we had seen in St Tropez was there but only in plain colours. It was 30 Euros more, oh well we’d be back in St Tropez soon enough.
We mooched some more then settled for a small trattoria directly under our hotel. Peanut had a pizza and I had a carbonara. To be honest they were pretty poor, not helped by my still being a bit feeble on the eating front.
An early night and I immersed myself in the Lucy Foley novel I was still enjoying. It was rather lovely lying in bed reading my book and looking around the hotel room we were in.
“Night James. Oooooh…”