DAY ONE - Tuesday 15 June 2010
Breakfast at the Premiere Inn this morning at Gatwick was a good chance to stoke our personal furnaces for the day. After a bowl of fresh fruit with yoghurt and oat clusters it was a hearty plate of scrambled egg, sausage, bacon and mushroom with a couple of slices of malted wholegrain bread and a glass of apple juice - the clear variety; I'm really not that keen on the cloudy stuff. All self service, buffet style, eat as much as you like. Ideal!
Hiccup number one came in the shape of a broken-down airport/hotel shuttle bus but this was sorted fairly swiftly with the arrival of a replacement bus. Baggage check-in (we'd already checked ourselves in online) was nice and straight-forward, as was going through security. Airside was the usual mix of browsing shops and waiting. It was also where we learned of the French air traffic controllers strike - how surprising: hiccup number two! This resulted in a late departure and an altered flight-plan which routed us over: Belgium; Germany and Austria, instead of a more direct route over-flying France, before arriving at Venice Marco Polo Airport about one hour behind schedule. Not too bad, all things considered! Passport control and baggage reclaim Were swift and incident free.
Was there to be a third hiccup? "Oh yes", as the famous insurance-advertising dog would say! This particular challenge came in the shape of a VW Polo! Despite arranging a Golf or Focus sized hire car, we ended-up with a Polo! Now, the current VW Polo is a good bit larger than its predescesors but three adults, two children and associated baggage was certainly going to stretch this little German vehicle's abilities. However, after some minor (reversible) alterations and much 'packing-in of stuff', it was onwards to the Italian roads. Of course we're all aware of that old adage of pushy, wreckless Italian drivers but I don't think any of as were aware of just what crazy risks they take. Even travelling at the 70km per hour speed limit, maniacs would fly past us on single carriageway roads, usually into the face of equally fast travelling, on-coming traffic. It also wasn't that unusual to be the road-user who was meeting fast travelling, on-coming traffic! Fun, fun, fun. Jamie, the designated driver in the party - for this journey anyway - coped admirably, especially as he had the added woe of contending with some rather dubious navigational Instructions, not to mention a new roundabout that hadn't made it onto the maps yet!
We got settled in at our accommodation and ventured off for something to eat. Pizza all round - we are in Italy after all! A small side order of chips completed the meal - we are west coast Scots after all! Back to our lodge - home until Saturday - for a glass wine, a cup of tea and a game of cards.
And so the bed.