Comacchio

The van shivered and shook like a wet dog in a cold night …

IMG_5697.JPGAfter two glorious days of sunshine and consecutive 50+km cycle routes around the Po Delta, weather took a significant turn for the worse. Sunset was beautiful, but with some cloud on the horizon. Following an afternoon where the breeze had died to the point that I gave up flying the kite, sitting outside on our camp chairs, the evening turned a bit more blustery. By 7:00pm the wind was up to around 15km/h, by 8:00pm it was over 50km/h, and by midnight it was peaking well over 100km/h. We stayed up watching movies and self-medicating with whiskey and, around 10:00pm I got out to try to find a more sheltered spot close to the river embankment. A really scary experience – had difficulty walking in the wind with debris whipping past. Turned the van nose first into the wind, settled down again to watch more movies … to be drowned out by the first shotgun pellets of hurricane force driven rain. Off to bed around midnight, but no sleep with the van pitching about and, quite honestly, leaving us a little seasick. Drifted off to sleep around 3:00am … woke to bright sunshine!

We did make full use of a fantastic site next to a lagoon which had multiple flocks of flamingos to relax, read, and catch up with some much needed cycling. It’s been a while, which may explain my current rubbed raw butt – obviously my cycle shorts weren’t up to the challenge. In any case, quiet roads, lovely views, fantastic sunshine and little more than a gentle breeze. So good, in fact, that getting lost along the way simply added to the joy of the day.

A short drive today brought us to Commachio, another ‘Little Venice’, but this one a lot more authentic. Absolutely amazing walking alongside canals with not a single person in sight! Which proves the point – barring closed campsites, dumping facilities that only open in May, the occasional hurricane or blizzard (or both), lack of fresh water availability, closed restaurants and various sites, this really is the perfect time to travel through Europe.

Apart from the canals the old town is dominated by the Hospital (built in Classic style in the 18thC) and a huge Basilica, both of which really stand out as the town itself is quite modest. Walking through the town took a couple of hours – really enjoyable ones though. The town also prides itself on being the eel capital – I’ll definitely give that a miss. Tried eel by mistake when in China, thinking they were marinated aubergines – shocking experience when finding out, apart from everything else, that the aubergine was filled with spinal column and bones … aaagh!

We are parked in a public carpark 10 minutes walk from the centre of town – flat, quiet, well-lit, and free. Now if only, when exiting the van on arrival, we had looked around and seen the Basilica to our left, instead of instinctively heading right … well, just another opportunity to see more!

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