ROAD TRIP part 2 – Lake Garda > Venice & the Islands > Žaga, Slovenia

After leaving Piedmont with a heavy heart (and full bellies) we drove the two and a half hour journey to the southern shores of Lake Garda. We had planned to meet Dom and Ligita at a campsite in Moniga del Garda. We have previously wild camped in Limone sul Garda which is further north up the lake so we decided to explore the southern shores.

After staying in beautiful Piedmont, arriving into Lake Garda region is quite a change from the traditional hilltop villages. The area surrounding Lake Garda is geared up for tourism with large chain shops and mediocre restaurants. However, I don’t think this takes away the beauty of the lake itself. The shores are lined with campsite after campsite and after much deliberation we decided to stay at Sereno. We had been staying at relatively basic campsites in the south of France and Piedmont, so these “campsites” were quite a shock to the system. They are more like family holiday parks and came with a lot of rules, regs and high prices. As it is still spring, the prices are lower. It was €22 a night for a tent pitch, two adults and a car. We got an excellent spot right on the lake front looking out to the historic peninsula of Sirmione. Without phone credit or internet access, Dom and Ligita still managed to track us down and we enjoyed an evening catching up with lots of pasta and red wine.

View from the tent door

The weather had taken a slight turn for the worse and our days baking in the sunshine enjoying blue skies were over. It was still warm so we took a walk from the campsite along the shore, to the port then into the village of Moniga del Garda. This place has charm and a friendly atmosphere. There is a main square where you can enjoy a spot of people watching whilst munching on a tasty pizza. We ate at La Dogana pizzeria where I had a mozzarella and artichoke pizza. It was delicious and was actually my first pizza since arriving Italy. A small beer and a huge pizza costs around €9. The rest of the day we spent skimming stones, eating gelato and debating whether to go for a dip in the lake.

Artichoke pizza

The morning we left Lake Garda, the heavens had opened and we had to pack our tent up in the pouring rain. Not an ideal situation, so we decided to upgrade our tent pitch at Camping Rialto near Venice to a small wooden chalet. This was a great decision as the rain and wind continued to come. The chalets are basically large garden sheds with two beds, a window and heater. The campsite itself has good facilities, nothing too fancy as most people spend their days sightseeing around Venice.

We spent our first full day exploring Venice on foot and we got to see a lot of the major sights in between the rain showers. We found a little vegan restaurant called La Spighe which is slightly off the beaten track on Via Garibaldi. It also sold vegan and organic products. We had a delicious and healthy lunch and a chat with the lovely owner. She was really friendly and an excellent veggie cook.

As we had two days to spend in Venice, we wanted to explore further afield. We bought a €20 travel tourist pass for use on all the public buses and boats. It’s such a good deal as you can use the boats to visit nearby islands. Starting at Piazza Roma, we took a boat to Murano and then onto Burano. Murano is famed for glass blowing and it has cute shops selling extravagant glass ornaments and jewelry. From Murano you have to change boats to Burano. This is where I really wanted to visit because it’s in the top ten most colourful locations in the world! Legend has it that the fisherman painted their houses so they could see them from a long distance when they were out at sea when fishing. It’s a gorgeous town to have a wander and admire all the painted houses and the wonky bell tower.

Italy is an beautiful country to travel and gorge on lots of delicious food. I think I had the best ice cream ever at Suso Gelatoteca. I had two flavours; crème brûlée and pistachio with cherry.

We left Venice and headed north to Uccea to reach to border of Slovenia. We were en route to our new home of Žaga.  This is where we will be based for about 6 months looking after a gorgeous chalet for Extreme Slovenia. I am so excited to be here and discover what the Soča Valley has to offer. Bring on the summer!

View from Chalet Soca,

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