Edit Blog Post
Published: April 14th 2009
The boys lapping up the er clouds in Venice!
It was pretty early when we crept out of the hotel, keen to avoid another long winded conversation about partying with the hotel owners.
We parked up Massimo the Skoda in Treviso's hideously overpriced airport carpark and hopped on the bus. One hour later and we were heading across a dual carriageway that connects Venice to mainland Italy.
I was hoping for a slightly better experience of Venice than the first time I was here. Last time was in the hotter months and as many of you are probably aware, it can get very busy during the peak season. Add to that the stench rising up from the less than crystal clear waters and you'd struggle to believe this is a supposedly romantic city!
If you trawl your way through the history books you'll discover that Venice as we know it, came to be after the Barbarians invaded the mainland. The Venetians keen to escape the clutches of the no doubt savage, skirt wearing brutes fled to the islands. Presumably the ancestors of Enzo Ferrari, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hugo Boss and er Ronald Mcdonald were amongst those who fled, as they all seem to be
no parking violations round here!
alive and well in Venice today! I'm sure the islands are a very different prospect than they were hundreds of years ago. Venice is now the most expensive city in Italy and at a guess I would say probably the most visited too. Unfortunately many of the small paths that line the canals aren't up to the volume of foot traffic they receive every year.
Of course, it's not difficult to to lose yourself and get away from the tourists.....especially if you're following Rich. I suppose we shouldn't blame him, with 117 islands, 150 canals and some 400 odd bridges connecting them, it was bound to happen.
After 20 minutes of wrong turns, we asked a local woman how to get back to the Piazza San Marco. After a confused looking sigh she pointed us in the right direction, before letting out an exasperated chuckle. We translated this as turn left, go past the column, left again then your on your own!
Either our Italian or our luck was improving (I suspect the latter!) as as ten minutes later we were sat in St Marks Square watching Ben take a photo of three teenage girls. Don't worry,
This game of 'Pooh' Sticks....
was a little too realistic for the lads.
it was on their camera and they had asked him. (Perhaps unsurprisingly he later claimed that they too wanted some of Binky...his own nickname for himself)
We elected not to pay the overpriced 1.50 Euros to use the public facilities (I'm sure there is a gag to be had on the 'taking the piss' pun but I'll leave that to you to invent!) and so did a spot of people watching whilst polishing off our coffees. With an hour to go before our return bus departed, we thought it wise to retrace our steps back towards the station stopping for photos and to pick up some souvenirs. We nearly missed out on the rain but alas, it started to pour just as we were about to leave...oh well at least it didn't smell this time!
We left Treviso en-route to Bergamo. Our final Italian destination and our final night with Massimo. The plan was to meet Rich's brother in law Mark again, for our journey on to Paris. It's not always easy killing so much time when you're sat about in cars getting from A to B. Fortunately I remembered that I had a version of 'Who wants
to be a Millionaire? the music version' on my mobile phone. We set about playing it, with me playing the role of Chris Tarrant and Ben and Rich the contestants. They had successfully made it all the way to £125,000. For £250,000 I asked them what the R in R Kelly stood for. Rich seemed convinced that it was Richard as he knew a Richard Kelly......clearly when they found out this wasn't the right answer Ben wasn't too happy and unleashed a tirade of abuse at Rich! (I actually have it all on video camera but unfortunately it's not clean enough to publish....email me if you fancy a copy!)
Arriving in Bergamo, we really struggled to find anywhere to stay, not because they were full...we just couldn't find any hotels! Eventually we found one on the outskirts of town, it was a tad overpriced especially as they had to put an extra bed in the room, but by this time we were so tired we just didn't care.
At the airport the following morning we said a tearful goodbye to Massimo, before waiting for the next leg of our journey. Mark was also running the Paris marathon and
I'm sure we parked Massimo round here somewhere!
so he offered to drive the three of us from Bergamo to Paris. A welcome break for Rich I'm sure! We were a bit late in leaving the airport as Mark had to have the snow tires removed from his car that morning and it had taken slightly longer than expected. With some serious amount of miles to cover before we reached Paris, it was going to be a long afternoon. A long afternoon it was...we headed for the Swiss border. Heading over a pass through the mountains. We were climbing all the time until we reached 2005 meters and the top of the road. After stopping for a quick few photo's and a snowball fight we hit the road again.
To say the day was long probably doesn't do it justice. We got caught in a traffic jam on the other side of the pass and didn't even make it to France until early evening. This is where the real fun began, en-route to Dijon we tried no less than 7 hotels. All said the same thing...sorry we are full. It got later and later and we were starting to think that we might have to sleep in
the car. As luck would have it (well luck and a lot of persistence!) at 11pm we grabbed the last two rooms at a hotel in Dijon. Thankfully the restaurant across the road was still serving some much needed food. That would come in handy as next stop....Paris!! The grand total now sits at an unbelievable £2417.20! In the words of Bowie...We could be Heroes if just for one day! Remember it's still not too late......after all £2500 is a much nicer figure to finish up on!
Tot: 1.905s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 12; qc: 61; dbt: 0.0231s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb