Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 5: Italy - Lake Garda to Lido di Josolo

Today we drive from Lake Garda to Lido di Josolo in Italy.
 We get up early and head down to the beach for a run and swim.
We pass a market on our run with cheap produce and head back afterwards.
The water is cool and the day looks like it is going to be another burner. Did you know you could buy 110 SPF sunblock in Canada? I am testing it.
The campsite we are at Fossilata camping grounds which are nice. It backs onto Lake Garda. There are new toilet facilities.
Camping in Europe is totally different to my experience of camping in Canada. In Canada, the more remote and leafy the better. The farther away from other campers you are the better. If you are by a lake or the ocean, great!
In European camping you don't have the luxury of wilderness. The number one thing that I have surmised the Europeans to like is a well equipped and clean toilet block. This isn't a simple Canadian camping toilet. This should have hot showers (and each of these should have its own changing area that doesn't get wet when the shower is on). Secondly, it should be immaculately cleaned regularly. A campsite often advertises based on its toilets and it is a real draw. There should also be a dishes area with hot water, sinks, draining board area, and if it is a really nice site there are usually cloths for wiping up after you are done. The bigger and newer the toilet facility the better. Bidets are an extra plus. Foot washing sinks are also something we have seen at several sites. And of course, washing machines (and dryers if you are really lucky).
Shade is a nice plus, but space doesn't seem as a premium as it does in Canada. Everyone is parked up near each other and there is a banter that goes on between everyone (usually based on the European country your number plates are from). We really fool people with our Netherlands plates when we are obviously not from there. The countries we are seeing camping the most: the Dutch and the Germans, but also Spanish, Swiss, English and some Italians. Each campsite usually has huts you can rent instead of camping and there are people who rent spaces permanently and have their camper always parked. These are a dead giveaway as they usually have planters, lawn ornaments, Christmas lights and more.
Nigel said to me after watching everyone for awhile. "I can see what the experienced campers do. They bring their bathrobe, wear it to the washroom, shower and then change back at their camper. I am going to bring mine next time then nothing gets wet."
It is common to have fresh bread delivered to the campsite in the mornings. A smaller campsite will require you to order what you want the night before but the bigger ones have a shop that you can go to in the early hours to buy it.
We leave the toilets behind and head off for a half day of driving to secure a campsite on the peninsula that overlooks Venice called Lido di Jesolo. We have 4 campsites that our camping pass will give us discounts for. The first two are so dire and in such a hyper tourist area that we immediately leave. They aren't even close to Venice or the boat to it.
The third site is best but will only book a minimum of 2 nights. We settle on the 4th site. We tell ourselves it is only for one night. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to Dirty Dancing and the package camping that is portrayed in that movie. The site is a small village with pool, bars, shop, beach, and anything else you might like on the main strip. The toilet facilities are only okay. Any question or payment you might need to make is at least a 30 minute queue for workers that are tired at the end of the tourist season and won't crack a smile.
There is a stage show in the evening with all the kids singing to pop music (put on by the youth leaders hired to entertain them). They sing "McDonalds. McDonalds. Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut" repetitively to addictive tunes. It is a strange environment and we focus on the fact that we are outrageously close to the boat to Venice that we will catch first thing in the morning.
Back to the photos momentarily…I take random photos on sport mode of the countryside as we drive past to remember the feel of the place. Dry. Very Italian feeling in greenery and architecture.
The beach at our campsite is nice. It is a public beach and you often see non-Italian immigrants hovering near the gate with toys and wears to sell. It reminds me of a resort in a developing country where the real world happens outside the resort's bubble.
We wander around at night and marvel at some of the enormous camper vans. And the day finally ends with a sunset.

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