Now Italy is sort of the half way point on our trip, it’s the furthest point we’re traveling too before heading back towards the UK.
Firstly one notable items about driving in Italy… They LOVE tolls, possibly more than France…
Italy so far has become the most expensive place just to get around. We had two destinations, Milan and Venice, A few hours after leaving the Swizz boarder and becoming a few Euro lighter in the pocket, we reach Milan…
Milan is a old feeling city, but famous for being the culture of fashion and design, which explains the abundance of cloths shops, after parking the car a few streets away in a secure attened car park we checked into our nice looking budget(?!) B&B Hotel, It’s comparable to the Premier Inn chain in the UK, just without Lenny Henry….
After ditching the suitcases, we decided to give the car a rest and use public transport, Doing some quick Google’ing I discovered you could download an App for the Milano Transport System ‘ATM’, and purchase a 24 hour ticket for Buses, Trams and the Metro (Underground), It used a QR code that you scanned before entering the Metro system and for other surface transport show the app ticket if requested – Simple, London I hope you’re taking notes!
We had a quick sights trip (quick being the key word here), firstly to Castello Sfozeco, A massive medieval fortress. before jumping on a Tram to see the equally massive cathedral. Next door to the said Milan Cathedral was the GAllera Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the oldest shopping malls in the world, I believe, it’s a very large glass covered shopping Mall, This is where you got a taste of the fashion with all luxury clothing brands Including, but not limited to Mercades, Fararri, Parada along with numerous restaurants of which we decided to enjoy dinner at.
The only thing that ultimately let Milan down was the street vendors, attempting to rip tourists off at every turn, selling selfie sticks, wristbands, scarves, handbags, roses and some silly children’s toys… These con artists were more of these annoying than the people than on London Bridge and Covent Garden put together, They began to get my nerves so much that I didn’t overly enjoy Milan at all.
I was relieved to return to our Hotel and prepare for the next leg of our journey to Venice!
Milan to Venice was roughly 3 hour journey, so Lee suggested we check out another section of Italy this time Parma, Home of Ham & Cheese.
This flying visit resulted in a long walk from the carpark to the sort of town center, we saw the Baptistery of Parma, the Cathedral and bought some Parmesan cheese, well it would be rude not to..
Finally, the ‘furthist’ point of the trip, I booked a hotel on the island of Lido, but didn’t think to pre-book or research the ferry… On the plus side, the car did come to Lido, and it had a 2 night rest… It’s probably thankful to us.
We both agreed as we left the mainland of Euroupe and had sailed across to another island (albeit the same Country) it actually felt we was more ‘on-holiday’ than any other trip.
In Venice boats rule, Lido and the Santa Croce area of Venice are the only places you’ll see cars!
The first night, we arrived late afternoon / early evening so we only wondered around Lido, found food, along with some wonderful Red Wine (Italian Merlot I believe) before going to sleep.
Next day we caught a boat back to the main part of Venice, passenger boats run as regular as buses, there’s loads to pick from. There was much to see in San Marco including a long walk round the islands, we watched the Gondals weaving among the canals, We debated going on one but at €80 for 30 mins this was a bit steep just for us… (If I had been on holiday with a girlfriend, then i’d have a different answer). The public transport / river boat done us fine and for €20 we had a 24 hour pass to use any of the city transport services.
The ticket was like an Oystercard too, simple.
We spent majority of the day in San Marco and ventured across to Murano for lunch, Murano we learned is famous for glass making, the majority of shops selling hand crafted glass items. After lunch and getting lost in Murano then buying Ice Cream we found a boat to take us back to Marco, after another spot of wondering round the maze of walkways we decided to get dinner at a riverside restaurant before catching the boat back to Lido and finding our Hotel.
Where we requested more teabags… Which could have been the most British thing we’ve done this whole trip!
Negativing the ferry back was confusing and fun, The port at Venice had clear markings and a full on ticket barrier and clearly marked lanes.. on Lido you get the barrier and ticket office, but you essentially queue up on the side road next to the ferry entrance!
I was sad we had to leave so soon, but we have more driving ahead of us into Germany!