22/08/11 Never has a saying been so true as " the lights are on but nobodies in" we'd sat across the bay and watched the glittering lights of Portoroz, the coastal resort of Slovenia, So we arrived expecting something lively, But to no avail, The lights are on with some grand hotels, Africans selling wood carvings and not a lot else, I've had more of a fun time following Oonagh round a supermarket, Even teenagers sat around their tents at night its so flat, We gave it another go further up the coast at Ankaran, To be honest Slovenia's a non starter for us its all too pikey on the campsites, expensive and a big yawn.
So on to Italy, We stopped at Chioggia on the Venice lagoon for a couple of days, A working fishing town which has a Venice/ Amsterdam feel, loads of canals and everyone travels by bicycle and the locals have battery operated ones that whiz along (the fat OAP woman hurtled past us) From here we did a day trip to Venice by public transport, 3 ferries and a bus that even goes on the ferry with you on it. In Venice we did all the tourist bits including a trip up Grand canal, by public transport all on the same ticket (really good value) really weird hearing British accents and Japanese tourists abound
Travelling 120 miles south for a day in the Republic of San Marino, A small republic perched on top of a mountain, A tax free haven with the most amazing views, So I was dragged around the narrow severely undulating cobble streets on retail therapy (So she said),Had an homemade ice cream that is to die for (again so she said doing her best Oliver Twist impression for more) and witnessed the campest changing of the guards by the scruffiest dirty shoed soldiers ever seen At our reasonably inexpensive camp we had the best ever Pizza (So we both said) so Republic gets a big thumbs up from us.
Heading inland to Firenze (Florence to us) What a disaster the sat nav let us down, One bright white British campervan (RV) in the pavement pedestrian area with nowhere to go, the driver and co pilot cursing and loads of tourists staring, as the co pilot said "at least we won't have to do the open top bus tour now", Later that evening we even heard a group of Aussies at our campsite talking about it, (oh such things are sent to try us) Florence was stinking hot and sticky, pollution, 66 museums, and queues everywhere at least they give you a chance to marvel at the renaissance architecture and all the reproduction statues (all the real ones are indoors away from the pigeons)
Pisa on the west coast was quite a shock, we expected it to be bigger, There is nothing there apart from the tower, thousands of sightseers having their picture taken pretending to hold it up, Matched by as many hawkers and tacky Indian souvenir stalls and 2 churches in a lawned quadrangle surrounded by a grubby little town. A real disappointment.
Our final leg of Italy was a drive round the Italian Riviera very picturesque but so expensive and not in our budget, So Viva la France.
As for Italy we think were finished with it for now, The public transport is brilliant, the culture is amazing, Prices can border on the expensive side and as for the animated gesturing local Italians they are really nice, Unlike the screaming holiday version (Oh so bloody hyper).
Arrivederci the Chaffer's