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Home to Venice April 2008

In the footsteps of Marco Polo- Part One

It is Tuesday 22 April and we are in Venice at Camping Fusina waiting for our ferry to Igoumenista.

We left home as planned on Wednesday last week and started our journey across France. At first we followed the Loire heading east crossing the swollen river firstly at Saumur and then at Tours and finally at Giens. We stayed the night at an aire de service at Piney which was quiet and easy to find. The following day we continued our journey north east follow the Moselle valley towards Luxembourg. Since we had not passport we hoped the border into Luxembourg was unmanned. We should not have worried because by the state of cleanliness, or total lack of it, the border posts have not been manned for years. We stopped at the first service area to fill up with Diesel because it is cheaper there than anywhere else in Europe at 1.13€ per litre that’s about 90p in UK speak.

From Luxembourg the border into Germany was equally uneventful, and dirty, and by mid afternoon we were at Hausbay where our passports and Carnet de Passage awaited us. An unexpected surprise was Peter and Sieglinde from Graz in Austria were there so we had a pleasant dinner together. They are hoping to lead a small group to South America this November travelling as far south as Terra del Fuego and north through Argentina, Chile, and finishing at Rio de Janerio where the camping cars will be shipped back to Europe on a RORO ferry. I wonder if we can get back in time from Beijing.

On Friday we headed south down the German autobahns towards Basel. Just south of Heidelberg a stone decided to create some damage to our windscreen leaving two large potholes and stars. A quick phone call to ADAC and then a free phone call to Carglass meant we had a appointment in Freiberg for the necessary repair to be undertaken an hour later. Carglass accepted our French insurance and repaired both pieces of damage in less than 45 minutes. So we were quickly on our way again and arrived at Eienwaldii in Engelberg, north of Luzern by 1800hrs, in time for a relaxing sauna and steam! Saturday was a day of rest, plus another sauna and steam trying to get rid of some nasty colds we had managed to pick up.

On Sunday we took the easy route to Venice via the Saint Gotthard tunnel and down to Milan and across to Venice. 500 kilometres and almost all motorway plus the 10.5m (17km) St Gotthard tunnel is free and get you over the Alps in quick time despite the fact that the St Gotthard pass is still closed with snow. Camping Fusina is easy to find and our pitch overlooks the lagoon towards St Marks Square. The site runs an hourly motor launch service to Venice for just 10€ return and a day of sightseeing is just about enough, especially if you take 2 hours to enjoy a leisurely lunch.

Because we want to travel “camping on board” our ferry does not leave till Wednesday at 2pm and we just have to sit here and enjoy the view even if the weather is not particularly good. The trip to Igoumenista takes 23 hours and cost us 226€ for our 7m camper and 2 passengers and we look forward to a pleasant crossing.