Beaches, markets and ice cream
Trip: Summerholiday on a campsite in Italy
Date: can’t remember. Must have been summer around 2005 or so
Route: Don’t remember the exact route as my father was driving back then. We did go by car.
Transport to Italy: car
Transport in Italy: car
Company: Family (father, mother, younger brother)
Stayed the night at: Camping Portofelice
This trip is one of those trips that is probably not going to give anyone much useful information. Only looking at the date of this trip will tell you that I’m writing this almost ten years after the trip has taken place. In addition to that, I was rather young and more interested in the beach and swimming pool at the campsite than in anything else really.
Despite that, I want to finish this page with the little things that I do remember. Partly for my own interest, this blog is not only meant to guide and inspire you guys on your travels, but also as an online travel diary to myself. Also partly, because the lack of information on this page tells me that I will need to visit the are again in order to be able to write a more useful article about. Lastly I wanted to add this page, just because I have been there. It is on the map, so it needs to be included, however little I still remember.
The main area
As a true Dutchie, I had pretty much seen every square inch of France on family holidays, untill now. This would be my first encounter with Italy and I was excited!
As I mentioned before, the trip is too long ago to remember much, but what I do remember is how the cleaning lady at the campsite told me: “you look so beautiful, like barbie”, this seemed to be a compliment at my age… and how the area is relatively flat, with some small ditches. It was our first holiday in Italy and I remember my mother mentioned that she was a little dissapointed that it looked like hollands so much when we arrived. I must say, I agreed with her. Obviously, not all of Italy looks like Holland, but the specific area where the campsite we were staying was located did very much resemble our local canals and characteristic flat landscape.
The good thing was that we were located near a beach. I don’t believe the beach was anything too special. Mainly sand, a bit like the Netherlands too, however, luckily the weather was not like ours and we it was warm enough to swim, play and get tanned (except for a few rainy days).
A child’s mind
All Italian villages and cities I have seen so far have something a bit old, combined with Mediterranean about it. This could either be because I have mostly visited touristic spots in Italy, or because the romans have such an enormous influence ages ago, that has left its marks even in the present Italian culture. Either way, the villages we visited were, as well as the weather, one of the few things that reminded me more of a meditarrean country in a different era than of home. Small streets with little shops and a market. And most important of all (or it was to me at that age anyway) was the ice cream! Italy is known for its quality food and wine, but also for its “gelato” and rightly so. Never had I seen such a great choice of ice cream before, including the weirdest flavours. As a true Dutchy, I decided to go for liquorice ice cream. Apart from that I have never found this flavour ice cream anywhere else after that (until recently, but that was in Italy too, you can read about it here), it was the richest tasting ice cream that I have had in my life. Delicious. And this was in a rather touristy area, imagine what the food for locals must be like!
When you are in this area, there is one place that you can not miss: Venice. The iconic bridges over canals with gondolas floating on them, canals very unlike the Dutch ones this time, are absolutely worth your while. It is as if the streets are made of water and technically they are. If you are one of those people that thinks all western European cities look alike, make your way to venice and let your mind wander in awe.
That is not all however. The city of water has more to offer you than just bridges and canals. It has, for example, the famous piazza San Marco. This is a large square with a kathedral, but it is better know for the now domesticated doves that will s(h)it all over and around you if you approach with anything that appears edible, giving a nice setting for a lively photograph.
Last but not least are the Venetian masks. The history of those is somewhat complicated, but their presence and link to Venice very prominent. I am not going to bother you with the history of the mask, as I do not have any addtional contribution to the story on Wikipedia. However, to give you a slight idea, the masks have to do with the Carnivale of Venice and even daily use in certain months in history. The distincitve masks used to be rather plain and mainly designed for practical use, but are now excessively decorated and enormously popular to tourists. As a proper tourist, even at that age, I bought one too. I’m glad I did, because it is not only a reminder of a nice holiday, but the quality makes it a really nice international decoration for my room.
All in all, Venice is worth your time. Be aware though, that, espcecially in summer, many tourists will think the same. The denesly packed streets are then a perfect target for pickpockets. If you’re rather fond of your privacy and wallet, going in another season might work, but check the weather first!
I am not sure about the rest of the area. For a beach holiday combined with scoring cheap souvenirs on markets in little towns, definetely go. If you’re fond of a little more culture and outdoor activities, I might recommend a different spot. However you can always go see for yourself. Enjoy!