Sadly, with the world in crisis, this year’s adventures didn’t go according to plan. After months of lockdown, and still feeling the sleepiness of the pandemic, we felt humbled being able to return to Venice, to sail Bella Rose to bluer waters.
TO THE RESCUE, HERE I AM
We’d left Bella Rose, our Oyster 545, at Marina Certosa in Venice for the winter. After experiencing endless issues and lack of action during her berth, we were desperate to return to the yacht, sort out as much as possible and leave soonest.
Approaching the jetty at Certosa, a new restaurant loomed ahead. The owner had a Michelin Star restaurant on the mainland. It reminded me of a mini Ibiza, seating on the deck alongside the sea, bean bags and club music reverberated the moment we set foot onto the jetty. At night it turned into a sophisticated diner, music turned down and served simply delicious food, without any pretentious fuss.
The best pizza had to be from Verde Pistacchio Pizzeria Sicilian, the tiny-mini-van at the far end of Certosa island. He did the perfect vegetarian without cheese, for us vegans and then we took our own ‘cheese’ the next few days, laughing at us each time.
STRANDED IN VENICE
Unfortunately, further destruction awaited us. A delay of almost a week left us ‘stranded’ in Venice. I could think of worse places to be stranded…
Of course, we made the most it. After spending a few days losing ourselves in Venice, discovering untouched canals, and enjoying Venice peacefully welcoming back tourists, we headed across to Lido. Only once departing Venice Lido, an eleven-kilometre-long barrier island in the Venetian Lagoon, did it resonate. Lido di Jesolo was the ‘di Jesolo’ I’d slept the night on the beach during an art and history tour around Europe when sixteen years old. The memories flooded back… Mmmm…
Hey, have you seen the Dolomites? No! Well, yes, there… I pointed to the mountains in the background while standing on Pontoon Foxtrot. Shall we go? Yebo!
IMAGES TAKEN IN VENICE OVER A FEW DAYS AND NIGHTS
THE GREAT DOLOMITES ROAD
Saturday first thing, we hired a car from behind the train station in Venice and drove over three hours to reach the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along the Great Dolomites Road from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Bolzano, up and down through snaking mountain passes, we stopped at almost every viewpoint to absorb the intrinsic mountain ranges and, of course, to capture by camera.
At Cortina, we rode the cable car to Druscie Masi Wine Bar for lunch with 360-degree views over the ‘pearl of the Dolomites’ at 1778 m above sea level. After a quick snooze in deck chairs beneath a warm sun, we felt recharged to hit the road again and head back to Venice.
Why are we heading back? No idea… Let’s spend the night and explore even more tomorrow. With both in agreement, we decided to spend the night in Canazei down in Val di Fassi, Trentino and arrived just after sunset. Amidst the defusing light, it felt like a refuge, a sense of oblivion transporting us into another world.
ONWARDS & UPWARDS
We scampered down to breakfast the moment the doors opened, excited to resume our exploration of the Dolomites. A few hundred meters from the B&B, we rode a cable car from Sass Pordoi, the next to Canazei Pecol and finally down to Alba where we walked along the bubbling river back to the B&B.
IMAGES TAKEN WHILE EXPLORING THE DOLOMITES
Reluctantly we headed back to Venice, promising to visit the Dolomites when covered in snow and explore by skis.
Instead of rushing straight back to Bella Rose, we relished a drive down to Lago di Garda, Italy’s largest lake Covering 370 sq km. Another piece of Italy undiscovered by either of us, from Riva del Garda, San Giacomo, Gargnano, Desenzano and through Verona, the land of Romeo & Juliet, and finally back to Venice.
After travelling over six hours in the heat, only a dip in the refreshing 25°C lake could cool us down when even the air-conditioning unit struggled. A great ending to the trip.
THE FLOURISHING POETS
D H Lawrence who stayed for many months in Gargnano, with his wife Frieda, penned:
‘The waters of this lake are the loveliest colour imaginable: purple in the shade and emerald green when they break on the white rocks.’
Dante Alighieri wrote of Lake Garda:
‘Up there in beautiful Italy there lies a lake at the foot of the mountains on the borders of Germany above Tirol, it is called Benaco.’
IMAGES TAKEN WHILE DRIVING AROUND LAKE GARDA