Week 13 - Pisa in Italy to Rimini in Italy
Monday morning we were back on the road and heading to Venice. Too far to go in a day, so would stop for the night in Bologna. Almost immediately we got out of Pisa the road started to climb and we were heading into the mountains.
Got a bit worried when we started to pass signs that said we should have snow tyres on, but although it was grey and cold we didnít see any snow. We passed an Autodemolitzioni (scrap yard) just outside Lucca and called in to see if he had any parts. The bike is still handling badly from the crash in Morocco, but he didnít have any big bikes just scooters. Pressed on through windy mountain roads and beautiful Tuscan scenery and got to Bologna late afternoon.
Pitched up and into the campsite restaurant for some food and to keep warm.
Really cold night and the ground was frozen solid when we got up in the morning. Set off wearing all our clothes to try and stay warm and after a bit of wiggling around and an accidental trip up the motorway for a junction, found the non-toll road to Venice. Got colder and colder through the day and we were shivering by the time we got to the campsite in Fusina. We tried to get a bungalow but they were closed for the winter, so decided a hotel was the best option as it was too cold for the tent. The hotel we were given directions to was closed so we rode into town looking for another. The only one open was a 4 star and I nearly died when we discovered it was 100 Euro a night, but it was even colder and dark by then so we didnít have much choice.
It did give us a chance to find a cheap hotel in Venice though, so after a quick roadside breakfast / lunch (well checkout wasnít till 12 and you have to get your moneys worth at that price!) we set off towards Venice.
We crossed the bridge and followed the signs for Tronchetto which we knew had parking facilities. The car garages were really expensive, but after a bit of searching we found a bike park right outside the water bus terminal and once again it was free! We rearranged the luggage, threw a tarp over the bike and set off to find the water bus to our hotel.
Water bus was no problem, but finding the hotel was a bit more of a challenge. We found it in the end, it was the one with scaffolding all over it. Apparently it was a really old building and they were having some urgent repairs made to the roof. I can confirm the hotel was old, as the following day my foot went through one of the stair treads! Also our room had the worst lamp shade we had ever seen, but that might be just nit picking.
Despite the hotel Venice was the most beautiful city I have ever been to. It was so pretty it felt unreal like you were walking through a film set. We did the touristy things; theatre, gondola ride, Piazza San Marco and Rialto bridge. We took tons of pics in Venice so here is a selection.
It was lovely and really interesting to see how everything has been converted to water. We saw skip boats, cement mixer boats, bin wagon boats, water busses, water taxis and water ambulances.
Two days really wasnít long enough and we almost ended up having to stay longer. The day we came to leave the water busses had gone on strike! We were told they would be running until 9, but they werenít. Luckily as we were wandering from bus stop to bus stop we found 2 gentlemen who were also trying to get out of Venice. We shared a water taxi with them to Piazza Del Roma and then got the monorail back to Tronchetto. The monorail was a great find. It was the only thing in Venice that was cheap at 1 Euro each and it ran every 4 minutes. No one in Venice seemed to know it existed! We think itís a conspiracy although weíre not quite sure why.
Got back to the bike and it was all still there and not covered in parking tickets. I still canít quite believe we left it there for 2 days for nothing. Got on the road and headed down the coast to Ravenna. Didnít take as long to get there as we thought so we arrived early afternoon and in time to feel the tremor of the earthquake that happened in Northern Italy. Ant managed to continue having an afternoon nap through the earthquake so it really wasnít a biggy by the time it reached us. We wandered into the centre of Ravenna for a few hours which is really nice and famous for mosaics apparently. After a crisis of indecision we ended up back in the hotel restaurant for dinner and 2 of the best mixed grills weíve ever had.
Saturday we went to Rimini. It wasnít too far from Ravenna so we got there with plenty of afternoon left to explore. We walked down to the beach which was really good. Wide and long with nice soft sand. We were the only people there. You could tell it would be heaving in summer though, so I suppose January has some advantages. We walked into town and found the triumphal arch of Augustus and the roman amphitheatre, unfortunately though it was shut so we could only look over the fence.
We found a self-service restaurant round the back of the train station and had roast pork and pasta for dinner it was great. Knew the food would be good as there were loads of policemen in there getting pizza.
Sunday we decided on a day trip to San Marino, which is the smallest principality in the world. It was cold and rainy, but only 45 mins away so not too bad. We headed for the centro storico and we climbed up a really steep hill the road had loads of switch backs and we wobbled up it in the rain. Parked the bike and walked into the old town.
It was really picturesque, but so cloudy you couldnít see anything from the viewpoints.
We went to the vampire and warewolf museum which was fun and then stopped for a coffee and a warm up.
Whilst we were in the cafť it started snowing! We walked all the way up to the castle and then on our way down took in the San Marino museumand this really strange statue that looked like 3 mosquitos stuck together.
It had cleared up a bit by then so we did get to see a bit of the view.
Back to Rimini and dinner in a really nice steakhouse restaurant on the seafront. Fell into bed with very achy legs from all the walking and looking forward to the ride to Pescara tomorrow.
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