It was 29 May 2007, when my wife and I were looking forward to what was for us an adventure holiday of a lifetime to the art capital of the world, ITALY. It had been a rotten year for us, what with medical problems requiring surgery and illness generally for us both, so we decided to embark on a coach tour of Italy with a local coaching company. Travel for me is rarely a problem but my wife has struggled with it in the past, which made us both a little apprehensive knowing our first leg of the journey was to Dover.
It was day 1 and we were off at 5-30am to meet our coach for the drive down from Yorkshire, beginning at 7-30am on a very pleasant morning, we made good time with three stops on the way, two half hour courtesy stops in the morning and afternoon with a one hour lunch break and arrived at the channel ferry dock at Dover at 3-15pm in good time to catch our pre-booked Ferry for the 1½ hour crossing to Calais, where we boarded our coach and then on to Paris for our overnight stay arriving 9-30pm local time. The brochure said Paris, so we thought at least we would see some of the sights after dinner. Central Paris and it’s sights were twenty miles away and getting there was impossible, the hotel, if you can raise its profile that far was rubbish at best with nothing to do except drink beer, it was very rowdy with tourists, commercial travellers and auf wiedersehen pet type workers from the UK all drinking and making the best of their lot having nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, it was on an industrial estate and as dirty and uninviting has a building site, fortunately the beds were clean and after all it was only for one night, and it was perhaps as well, for the food was slightly worse than the venue.
We enjoyed a couple of beers and a hot sandwich each after which we made for our bed by 11-00pm and a good nights sleep, which, after a long day we were glad of and took no rocking off to sleep.
Day 2 and yesterday’s ordeal over, we departed for “Gare De Lyon” railway station Paris, so we were up at 5-00am Breakfast at 5-30am and away for our onward journey at 6-15am to board the TGV Train which left at 7-00am to Milan, a journey of approximately 8 hours but very beautiful all the way with picturesque scenery that ate up the miles and time at an alarming rate. We met our coach on arrival in Milan and continued our journey across Italy through the plains of Venito to the outskirts of Venice, arriving at 8-10pm for dinner and where we were to be staying for the next two nights in a 4 star hotel, we all had a very nice and typically Italian meal and a night cap to end the day after which we retired to our bed. That was two long days in a row and we, like everyone else on the tour were ready for bed, tomorrow was to be another hectic day walking the sights of Venice and we were looking forward to it, a free day of leisure in the wonderful city of VENICE
“THE QUEEN OF THE ADRIATIC”