The end of the road

Venice has no roads, so it really was the end. We stopped in Padua, staying opposite St Anthony's Basilica in a former nunnery. It was just another Italian town with amazing old stuff. We visited a church that was 1000 years old, but that had been bombed in WW2. They managed to salvage 80,000 pieces of the murals from the walls and reconstructed them. Now there's a jigsaw puzzle that wouldn't be completed in a week!

 The road from there to Venice was as flat as a tack, and as we only had 40kms to travel on our last day, we decided to visit Palace Pasani, which originally belonged to a Venetian aristocrat, and was his holiday home. A bit different from the fibro shacks on the beach. I hope Ray posts some photos here. After costing us E20 to enter, we were determined to make the most of it and spent a couple of hours wandering the gardens and touring the restored rooms. It was a beautiful sunny and cool day, so it was quite delightful to stroll in the scenic gardens with their follies and stuff.

our tour terminated in Mestre. Riding to Venice was not recommended as they were afraid the bikes would be stripped or stolen whilst we were there. So after marvelling at our hotel's decor (lots of glitz, red and gold), we caught a bus the 10kms to Venice, checked out the location of our apartment for the following day and proceeded to the sun on the grand canal for a Campari. Bellissimo! After almost 800kms of bike riding we could look forward to a relaxing few days before our return to the land of work and Jasper.

Thinking we were being so clever by working out the shortest route to our apartment, when we arrived the next morning with our bags, and pressed the bell, with no response (missed the message underneath that said "do no press the bell") we discovered that check-in was at another hotel 650m away, including three bridges to drag our bags up. We had to leave our bags there until 4pm.

How many people do you think will fit on a little ferry going to Murano? Whatever it is, triple it. We were packed in like Sardines, and as Ray observed, at least we couldn't fall over, as there was no room. The only view I had was of Ray's chest. Luckily I have seen it all before (Venice, and Ray's chest). It was such a lovely day that I think everyone in Italy had the same idea, and was visiting Venice. We caught an unpacked ferry back to San Marco, where the other 60,000,000 people were waiting for us. They were packed in like anchovies (all mashed together). 

Even though we had purchased a 24 hour pass on the ferries, we couldn't bear the thought of another sardine experience, so decided to walk back and look for orangia gelato on the way, as I was developing a sore throat. I had to make do with limone in desperation, as for some unknown reason, there is no orangia gelato in Venice. 

By the time we picked up our bags and gained entrance to our very large and lovely apartment, I was feeling decidedly unwell. We had booked a Vivaldi concert for that night, but as the time got closer, I knew I would not be able to make it. Fortunately, we were able to postpone it until the next night. One of the few times we just didn't lose our money! And the concert was worth the walk as the ferry ticket had expired. 

Our fine weather also expired. We were so lucky to have no rain on our bike rides. The good thing about the rain in Venice was that the crowds disappeared.      Luckily I found a farmacia open and was able to get some drugs. We walked on to San Marco after the concert and enjoyed an almost deserted square - it was 11pm. To our astonishment the Africans were still selling bags and the Pakistanis were still selling selfie sticks.

This morning it was raining again. We bid farewell to Venice and are now sitting in luxury on the train to Siena, where we have booked a room with a view of the Tuscan hills. So much nicer to look at them than to ride up them.

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Perhaps a sign of things to come. This was on a river on our way to Padova, where they were practicing their stand up rowing skills. When we got to Venice, they were everywhere. Too lazy to do further research.

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We made it into Padova and this is what confronted us. St Anthony must have been some guy, as this church (not even the local cattedrale) was built in his honour. The Basilica De San Antonio is an incredible hodge podge of renaissance, gothic, baroque and rococco styles and is incredible. The interior has to be seen to be believed. His relics are stored inside the church inside a  bloody big crypt, which, at the end of every service, the church patrons file past, touching some part of it in the hope that they may be cured (probably of lung cancer).

 

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More stuff - this is Padova's Cattedrale, not the main apse , but one arm of the transcept.

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Directly opposite the Basilica De San Antonio was our digs (partially in any case), a former nunnery built around 800 years ago.

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The top front of the Basilica De San Antonio  - you simply cannot get far enough away from it to get the whole thing into a photo.

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This church was serverely damaged during WW2. Take a look at what they did to the damaged frescoes

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Villa Pisane first attracted us because we thought is was Villa Pisasale and we better check out how the other half lives. Turns out it was the holiday house of a wealthy Venetian merchant. Many wealthy individuals built palazzos in the Spra region to get away from it all. Take a look at the figures holding up the facade - more to be said on that in another post coming up.

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How long did you say you wanted that swimming pool? The building you see at the end of the pool is a glorified gate.

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Brenda taking a break at the folly, part of the extensive gardens. Can't remember how big, but the fence around the place is over 1.5 klms long.

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Faded glory of the villa's ballroom, the biggest of the 114 rooms in the villa and one of the best preserved. Just the place you need if you intend to invite your closest 200 friends over for a night in, whilst on holiday. Napolean must have thought so, because he picked up this little ripper on his whistlestop European Conquest tour. Must have got tired of it though, because he ended up giving it to his son Eugene (dream on Alex) who, as usual, drove it into the ground. It ended up in the hands of the Savoy's who got tired of the upkeep and ended up handing it over to the state when it was just about falling down.

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Buses on water? Must be Venice

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The Venezia Hotel (in nearby Mestre) where we stayed after our bicycle tour was nothing if not tacky. A lot of gold (colored) furnishings with just about everything overdone, but on a budget.

Ciao for now

Brenda and the carer

 

 

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