Kiri and


A tale of two cities…

January 12th, 2014 (by Steve)

Apparently every motorhome on the planet (well, at least in Italy) goes to Florence for New Year. Who knew? Well, we didn’t! Arriving at our planned stop for the night, we were just maneouvering into a space, when we were asked if we had a reservation? A reservation? But we’re free spirits. We float with the wind, we stop to smell the flowers, we don’t do reservations! Sadly, they were full, so we ended up in what appeared to be an equally busy motorhome car park across the way, but charging 25% more per night. Doh.

What followed was a cultural day in Florence; we appreciated it more than Rome, even if we did have to queue for 3 hours to get into the Ufizzi Gallery! It was worth the wait though, even if it was just to hear Kiri utter the words:

I’m not sure that Boticelli had seen many naked women before painting ‘Venus’… the proportions are all wrong

In general, we probably appreciated some of the lesser-known artists’ work than the more famous pieces, although we were very intrigued by a Boticelli “Adoration of the Magi” which included a self-portrait as one of the people in the crowd. He did not look impressed! After a quick munch on our packed lunch, we enjoyed a leisurely wander around the city (particularly appreciating some of the personalised road signs) before we returned to Bertha for a risotto.


We knew we had to cross the mountains to get to Venice and we didn’t really want to pay tolls, so we chose the long and winding road that goes via Forli. Well, it’s only long and winding going over the mountains; we’ve never seen hairpin bends quite like it! Forli held a lovely reward though, in the form of some special offer Tallegio; quite possibly the greatest cheese in the world.


And so on to Venice. Having had the mishap with Florence parking, we checked online and found a campsite in Punta Sabbioni (handy for catching the water bus to Venice) which was open until the 10 January. A bit of a foggy fiasco followed (oooh, lovely alliteration there!). It turns out the internet is not always right. We arrived to find out that they closed on the 7 January. Which day did we arrive? Yes, 7 January. To cut a long story (involving fog, people wagging their fingers at us, and a potholed-car park) short, we decided to double back on ourselves to a campsite that was open… but all the way back past Venice. There’s a reason that we’re trying to avoid campsites… you don’t have this problem with car parks generally!


Venice. Aaah. We’re not city people, but if every city were like Venice, we would be. Yes, there are the touristy bits, but we purposefully wandered aimlessly. Is that an oxymoron? Maybe… basically I’m trying to say that we ignored the map and tried to wander randomly; discovering exciting little alleyways and beautiful piazzas. This approach did mean that we had a few issues trying to find somewhere for a coffee though. We ended up in Venice’s equivalent of Fawlty Towers, where we were given food we hadn’t ordered (before it was whisked away), then we were asked to move table, then when the people next to our new table said their wine tasted funny, the proprietor kept on repeating “best wine in the house”. I’d love to be able to tell you where it was… but I can’t, because I have no idea! We ended the day with a calzone each on the way back to the bus… which we found eventually after caving in and looking at the map.


What’s next? Well, we’ve got some gearbox oil for Bertha, after some very amusing interactions where I tried to speak Italian to mechanics. “Olio?”. “Cambio?”. “Trasmissione?”. Confused look. Look of realisation. Reply in English! Hopefully that will help Bertha to run more smoothly now. Italian Riviera, we’re on our way (albeit slowly!)

All posts about Italy

Revelation on the Riviera

A tale of two cities…

A Christmas Oasis

Up Pompeii

2 Responses

Love the modified No Entry signs!

If you’re holding a poll on cheese, my vote’s for Jarlsberg.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve had Jarlsberg that I can’t remember the taste… all I can remember is that my Norwegian housemate at university swore by it! I’ll make a note to try it again when we do the Scandinavian leg of the journey. For now, we have 4 types of cheese in our fridge…!

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