On the ski hills, on the bike trails, and thru life in general

Archive for October, 2015

Chioggia to Adria

Tuesday, Oct 6. We have found that the internet connection on the barge is inconsistant at best and mostly unuseable :(. Updates will have to wait until we get to Mantua and beyond. Trying to catch up might take some time.
Tuesday was our first cool and rainy day. After breakfast, Rosita took us on a walk around Chioggia. First up was a visit to the fish market. Chioggia is a fishing town and the main supplier of fish to all the towns in the region, as far away as Verona. The market building is about 100 meters long, with tables running the length of both sides, all filled with every kind of fish. Mussels, clams, shrimp, eels, octopii, squid, swordfish, tuna, all types of ocean goodies.

Fish market in Chioggia.

Fish market in Chioggia.

We were docked where a lot of the ships, large and small, offload their catch into the warehouses, surrounded by the noise and smells of a major fishing industry.

Trawler returning to port, much to the delight of the gulls.

Trawler returning to port, much to the delight of the gulls.

The rain, light though it was, didn’t let up on our walk and kept us moisturized off and on throughout the ride. We started in town, making our way through some heavier traffic, before entering quieter country roads. Link to our route today.

Riding in the rain in Italy.

Riding in the rain in Italy.

We eventually came to the delta of the Po River and were able to ride on one of the levees. These are great for biking, being long, flat, and mostly straight with few intersections. Lucille asked Rosita if we could go on ahead on our own, with no danger of getting lost. With permission granted, four of us bolted on ahead, glad to be able to open it up a bit. We actually got to cruise at 30 kph for a while!
The delta is full of bird life. Cormorants, white herons, grey herons, geese, ducks, egrets and, though not seen by us, flamingos who live in the delta year-round.
We moored up against the Ave Maria,  our sister ship. It is about twice the size  and more opulent than the Vita Pugna but I don’t think that it would be as personal an experience with that many people. They have 2 guides but they would have to split up into 2 biking groups I expect.
After supper, Rosita took us on her regular evening walk through whatever town we happen to be docked at. Adria is about 10 minutes away from the dock and we just ambled around until getting to the “downtown” area. It was very quiet,  with only a few locals about and no tourists other than us.
She stopped at a church to show us the elaborate door and stepped aside to let a local enter. The local was a member of the choir, going in for a practice, and she invited us inside to listen. Wow – what a find! There were only 6 singers, no organ or piano for accompaniment, but were they ever good! We stayed for 3 songs, all obviously religious in nature and in Italian/Latin, and enjoyed it immensely. A great end to another lovely day.

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Certosa and Murano

On Saturday, Oct 3rd, after roaming around the city some more, we made our way over to the island of Certosa where our barge was moored, but not before a few more adventures. We were supposed to meet the rest of the Venice crew ( Lucille, JoAnn, Alan, Thelma, Brian, Susan, Bob and Alexandra) at a particular dock on St Mark’s Square at 3pm. Al and I had to take a vaporetto to get there but the others could walk. Al and I got on our ride but got separated by the crowd and Al ended up  getting off at the wrong St Mark’s stop. I saw him through the window from the inside and he looked a little panicked as we pulled away but it only took him a few minutes longer to figure out that the next boat would take him to the correct stop. Bob and Alex arrived shortly after but the rest were at least a half hour late, dragging their suitcases through the packed calles (streets) and Campos (squares).
We caught the right boat for Certosa and were on the island in 20 minutes. Not much there other than a marina and hotel but our barge had beer. The day was hot, the beer was cold and all was right with the world. The rest of the group arrived shortly after and we had our debriefing from the barge crew. The rest of the evening was socializing with everyone.

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Just off the water taxi, heading onto Isola della Certosa.

The next day, Sunday Oct 4th, Rosita – our biking guide – set up a guided tour of a part of Venice that we had not yet seen. Notably, the more residential areas where tourists tend not to go because of the absence of souvenir shops and bars. The alleys and squares were mostly empty and quiet.

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A quiet part of Venice. No stores so the tourists don’t flock here.

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The hospital in Venice. It looks more like a conventional hospital from the other side except that all the ambulances are boats.

After lunch, some of us went over to the island of Murano, which is noted for it’s glass blowing industry. Originally, the glass blowing was located in Venice but, because it was such a fire hazard, the powers ordered it to be moved to another island. The blown glass was pretty but way too expensive. The island streets were a nice walk though.

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The main street of Murano.

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It was a lovely day for a walk by the seaside. Started to rain just after we arrived back at the barge so our timing was impeccable. Hope that luck holds for our biking the rest of the week.

Pellestrina and Chioggia

On Sunday, Oct 4th, we left Certosa while eating breakfast and cruised past St. Mark’s square and on to the Lido, another island in the chain of islands that constitute Venice. We finally got on our bikes and did a loop around the north part of the island before heading towards the southern tip. The Lido is a long narrow island, with many beaches and one of the few islands that allows cars.

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Our speed was barely faster than walking but it was good to get the legs turning again. We stopped for a short lunch at a bar, after about 9 km, then continued on to a ferry dock to catch yet another ferry to yet another island. After a quick 10-minute journey,  we were back on the bikes on Pellestrina another long, narrow island.

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Riding through a few small seaside towns, we came to a long seawall leading to a National Park on the tip of the island.

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It was a beautiful day and the seawall trail was spectacular, like riding on the battlements of a fort. The seawall was built to protect the sand from wave action washing away the dunes on the other side of it. We had to park the bikes at the entrance of the park then walk about half a km to the Adriatic. A few of us waded out into the sea, it being too nice to pass up.

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After biking back the km to our barge, we boarded and headed off for Chioggia where we would spend the night. We only did 31 km today, A very relaxing ride.

Link to our route today.

Venice

Whoever said “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” never flew Air Canada Rouge! After a nice, comfortable flight from Edmonton to Toronto on regular AC, we flew Rouge to Venice. Cramped, no legroom even for my short femur,  hot – first overnight flight where it was too hot to need the blanket – and only a poor choice of movies (that had to be streamed to your tablet). But we arrived safely though tired. Took the water taxi from the airport (€15) to a stop about a 5 minute walk to our hotel, dropped our bags off and proceeded to wander. And get lost of course.

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It was a long night and a longer day. Venice is a maze of interconnecting alleys, squares and some wider streets, with bridges large and small over the ubiquitous canals. Or no bridge at all, just an alley ending in water. It takes some time to get your bearings, not being able to see much of the sky.
We met the rest of our group who arrived earlier and wandered some more, followed by an expensive supper. Everything in Venice is expensive! After supper, we made plans to meet our group the next day at 0900 in St Mark’s Square. Not to be.
We made our way back to our hotel, different from our friends, and then slept for 12 hours, waking at 0930. Guess we needed the sleep! We eventually found them, then took a boat over to Burano   one of the many islands that are a part of Venice.

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Wandered around the streets, filled with vendors of the lace making that the island is known for, had another expensive meal and back to Venice for a pot luck brunch (lupper) in the apartment where Alan L, Thelma, Lucille and JoAnn were staying. And wine, of course. Getting back to our hotel was more of an adventure after the wine with a few wrong turns extending the trip. The 10 minute trip turned into a 30 minute one but it only added to the Venice experience.

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To be continued…

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