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Ciao Italia

Monday 10th October

I was looking forward to an easy driving day today, couldn’t go through anything like yesterdays trip for a while. It’s been raining all night and the electric heating has been running almost non stop – it’s cold up in the mountains.

We’ve barely touched Austria and now it’s time to leave. We haven’t got any guide books, we can’t use the motorways because we don’t have the go box and the stellplatz seem to be spread out rather a lot so we have decided to drive into Italy where I can practice my language skills – it can’t be too hard, it’s just Spanish but faster, louder and with lots of arm waving (isn’t it?).

Last night Stella had put us at the top of a mountain pass so whichever way we went it had to be down but the descent wasn’t too bad, a few hairpins and getting easier since my shoulders have bulked up with all the exercise. And then she went loopy again. Up, up, and more up. So much up in fact that the fuel gauge showed a red light and it started bonging to let me know we had no fuel.

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And then we went into a tunnel which was basically a squiggly line just going up even more. It was a bit hair raising thinking that Frankie was going to conk out at any moment due to lack of fuel. I should have stopped when I had the chance but it seemed like we had loads when we started. This was the Plockenpass and our map shows it as a 13% gradient in parts, highly recommended road, the tunnel must have been 2km in length and steep all the way.

Eventually we got to the top and remembered that what goes up must go down. When we levelled off the fuel gauge showed we had a range of 100 miles and as we started going down it went up to 170 miles.

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Coming down the road wasn’t too steep so I was able to keep the speed down and not have to use the brakes too much. This is one of the many hairpin bends inside a tunnel

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The views again have been fantastic.

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We ended up in a small town called Venzone, it has a free sosta (can’t call it a stellplatz any more) but it is little more than a car park with no signs and no other motorhomes. We stopped for lunch and were about to move on when I saw the notice board for the town and made Lucy come with me for a wander. This is the Via Mistruzzi, nice little village with little signs of life. We’ve arrived just before noon – siesta time.

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This is the same view of the preceding photo but 40 years ago. A series of earthquakes devastated the town. There is a museum here but:- 1 it is siesta time and 2 it is Monday – most museums in Italy (according to our guide book) will be closed.

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This building survived the earthquakes almost intact. I’m told this style of building is a loggia, more research is needed.

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This is one of those roads that Stella would have us down without a second thought, no wonder it is named after her.

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The church in Venzone was severely damaged, we took a look inside and most of the plaster fell off the walls and has been left as is. In places you can see where the walls were richly painted. There was little else to see so we had a little planning meeting and decided to move on slightly nearer the coast and therefore we plotted a route to Udine.

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So why didn’t I fill up with diesel in Austria? The last Austrian filling station was 1.069  We have since seen diesel at 1.279 so I think a bit of very light right foot will be called for.

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On the way into town two girls stopped us and realising that I am a world class photographer asked if I would take a photo of them using their phone. Si, I said, thank you very much they said. I need to brush up on my accent and start waving hands about.

This is one of five gates leading into the city. Built in the 13th century and in typical Italian fashion never repaired since then.

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Another, bigger loggia, the Loggia del Lionella in the Piazza Liberta.

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And underneath, what a lovely space. It reminds me of the Mesquite in Cordoba.

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Which is a coincidence because the two guys on top of the clock tower are Moors. This is the other side of the Piazza and is a splendid example of the Venetian Gothic style. The clock tower was built in 1527.

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This is the 14th century tower of the Duomo and Duomo museum and we all know what museums do on Mondays so we had to go off and console ourselves.

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Beer photo of the day. Lucy’s hot chocolate was like runny chocolate custard apparently.

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Whilst having our drinks the doors opened to the church over the square from us. It was nearly 4 o’clock and as you can see some people have started moving about. Our map says that this is one of the oldest churches in the city, it actually says one of the most ancient, it didn’t look 14th century to me, I would have said baroque myself. We like a good church, they are usually free and you normally get something worth looking at.

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That was a bit of an understatement, everything was covered in spectacular fashion.

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There are two sides to the church, almost like having two churches knocked into one, but each as lavishly decorated as the other.

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The ceilings were amazing. Lucy had to drag me out by the ear, apparently I was making too much noise for the worshippers.

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Outside I had a couple of spare minutes to knock up a sketch of the Piazzo Matteotti, hope you like it.

We managed to get lost on the way home, we were going great until we found a bit that we didn’t recognise. No problem, the number 1 bus passes our sosta so just follow the bus route. It got a little fraught at pone point when we saw a bridge that we knew that we hadn’t crossed over but I insisted we just follow the number 1 bus and we’ll get home. We didn’t know that the bus route is one big loop. Still we’re home and warm (it is much warmer in Italy) and dinner has just been eaten.

You’re not getting a picture of tonights delicacy, turkey and ham casserole because we had some slight issues. Where is the turkey? It turns out that yesterdays chicken, leek and asparagus didn’t have any chicken in it, we opened the wrong packet by mistake.Tonight we had chicken and ham casserole and the best news is that there is more than enough for tomorrows lunch as well.

2 thoughts on “Ciao Italia

  1. Giorgio

    Siesta at the Sosta
    You have arrived in the historic region of Friuli and I hope you will be able to visit Trieste and Udine too.
    You have made a wise choice to visit Venzone as it is one of the nicest villages in Italy.
    After the earthquake in 1976, it was decided to rebuild it as it was in the Middle Ages.

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