The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011


Our drive from Levanto to Venice was a quick cross country one. I had picked a mountain pass Passo di Centro and it was fantastic, all backroads, then lunch in Navaro de Taro, and later we drove by a walled village that we haven’t seen mentioned anywhere. We’ll find the name and add it.
We stayed at the Villa Gasparini, a hotel near Dolo 20 kms from Venice, right on a canal that empties into the Venezia lagoon. It is an excellent location and the hotel nice; but the owners not really friendly. That didn’t matter to us much and we visited with different guests, a lady that was just like Jim’s mom Elsie, and a couple of IT guys from New Delhi India.

That night we walked down 200 meters east to a wonderful restaurant right on the canal that had great food. The breakfast at our hotel is worth mentioning since it was exceptional with muesli, peaches, yogurt, excellent coffee, buns and meats and cheese, Italian pastries and the list could go on. Well worth the bit of a splurge we put on, but after Morocco and Portugal we are well ahead of budget. The location was also a beautiful drive following the canal  into Venice and over to the island where we pulled up to the ferry terminal, got tickets, showed our BCAA card and got a 20% discount on the ticket price. We had hoped to see some of Venice walking before loading but that didn’t happen, instead we visited with all the Germans and Slovenians motorcyclists.

There are a lot more motos on this route and we drew a bit of interest as the novelty couple, people wanting to take our pictures with the bike and wondering how we came to Europe. As we waited for the ferry to load a couple of German riders were already celebrating going on holidays with beer on the loading ramp.
Sandra said I couldn't join them

Weather was hot 28C at breakfast and sunny then as we were finished loading and in our cabin a rain shower came thru. The rain finished as the ferry pulled out of Venice and sailed right by St Marks square. So our view of Venice this time was from 8 storeys up in the cruise ferry which is much nicer than the GNV one we took from Morocco. Since we traded Levanto for Venice for timing before catching the ferry we now know we will come back this way in late August and spend more time here.

A Different Perspective of Venice 100 ‘ view

One of the French GS riders we met in Tangiers had mentioned about how beautiful the ferry ride is to/from Venice and was he ever right. The Minoan Lines ferry docks in Venice and on leaving sails down the canal that St Mark’s square is on. We were met with a quick rain shower and then everything got hot again but sailing out past all the canals, and outer islands including the Lido gives you a much broader appreciation for Venice. As our Italian group in the Sahara had mentioned about how much they loved Venice to live in, we can understand why, and the ferry really showcases the canals. It made me remember one of the last parts of the remake of the James Bond movie Casino Royale where James Bond and his femme fatale sail in on a beautiful wooden sailboat and you get an aerial view of Venice. 

Well that scene could have been shot from our 8th storey cabin window. The food on the Minoan ferry was much better as well and we enjoyed the trip all the way to Ignoumenitsa a nice port in northern Greece. We highly recommend Venice as a port choice over Bari, Brindisi or Ancona and Minoan Ferry’s are great.

Venice in the Background 50 days 
Today is also officially 50 days gone, or 1/3 completed. It feels great!

Above Metsovo very much like Banff
On leaving the ship we got the E90/A2 freeway, spectacular roadway to Metsova where we had lunch then onto Meteora/Kalambaka to the monasteries. Again out of another James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only“. Cinematographers really know their stuff. You can travel very quickly thru this area, but don’t since it is very scenic. We really enjoyed this northern route and now the monasteries.

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