Camping Coach to Venice 1965 by Richard Hargate

This coach trip was attempted as amateurs to Continental travelling.  No of us wanted to drive ourselves as this means that the one driving misses all the scenery, especially in the Alps, where all the breath-taking views are on the steep loops of the passes, and just where a driver must take special care.  A few of us were also amateurs at Camping too but this was not very noticeable as all gave help and advice, when necessary, in choosing equipment and using it to best advantage.


There were good and bad sites on the Continent, but the long steps were very good.  At Luderne, the chef came every night and set up his electric spit roaster and within a very short time was serving out chicken and chips that tasted delicious in the cool evening air.  We had a few misadventures, such as torrential rain at Pont D’Ain which nearly washed us under the Pont and out to sea!


Although alarming at the time provides us with lots of laughs.  We should have liked another day or two in Paris as we only had a brief glimpse but perhaps next time.  I sincerely hope there will be one, as this was a very enjoyable way to see other ways of camping and other countries.


As you see, one of the parties has already found out how delicious the wine is.  But we learnt to be wary of this seemingly innocuous drink.

Saturday 28 August – we left Dover at 6.45 am and the crossing was dead calm.  We were all amused to hear Eric (Driver) addressed as the courier on the loudspeaker when it was time to climb back on the coach for the drive off.


There was a long, long drive across France and one night at Longres which we didn’t have time to explore as we arrived at 10.45 pm and were away at 9.30 am next morning.


Arrived at Lucerne 10.45 pm and here we were to have 2 full days so as the weather was fine to the lido across the road from the camp and a good swim and bask in the sun, then a walk around Lucerne with its quaint church and beautiful shops.


Next day cloudy but decided to risk a ride on a cable car up Pilatus 2119 feet at the top a restaurant where we had boiled ham sandwiches easily 9 inches thick! Some of the party ordered 2 each, but when they saw the size wrapped one up for supper.  I had soup in which I found a wonderful banger, very filling.


After a crowded day chasing about looking for lost macs, we had s Swiss evening out.  Going by boat miles up the lake to a hotel, where a small company entertained us with yodelling and flag throwing and Alpine horn blowing at which several had a bash. Richard giving the loudest blast, then across to the middle of the lake where we waited in complete silence while the horn blower played a few notes and listened to the echo, and again because we didn’t quite believe it the first time, but there it came again soft and clear.


Wednesday, we left Lucerne at 8.45am as we were getting the hang of packing all the tents into the boot, then for the St Gotthart Pass which we thought pretty bad as we were caught in a snowstorm on top but coming down the other side visibility cleared and to see those loops of road one below the other like a giant staircase nearly made our hair stand on end.  Now wonder dad is ready for his liquid refreshment below.


We came to Como about 6.45 pm but the rain was so bad we decided to sleep in the coach.  So, all we know about the camping site a Breccia is the coffee is lousy (out of one small cup we made several mugs with added milk!)


Melon and coconut are cut into slices and placed attractively on little fountains keeping fresh and cool for customers, the taste is better than the ice cream which we found to sickly.


Behind the Grand Canal, these gondolas are getting in line for the Historical Pageant which took place while we were there.

Lesley took a picture of St Marco from the window of a Mirano Glass Factory.  The salesman succeeded in selling us nothing but the view of St Marco!


Feeding fat pigeons is everybody’s pastime, and although there are so many, they seem to have the good sense not to deface the buildings.  In fact, although I saw very few litter bins, the squares and street always looked very clean.


From Isle St Michel all Venetzia is spread out with San Marco and Doges Palace central and opening of Grand canal to left, the shortest route from Piazza Roma where all cars and buses are parked is along front of buildings on left but missing Grand Canal.


We bought tickets for the Water bus to Piazza Roma from the Lido and (bought) picture of bell tower in St Marks Square and Lesley feeding pigeons in St Mark’s Square.


The great West Portico is best photographed by the late afternoon sunlight as Lesley’s picture doesn’t not show compared with one centre right where the glorious golden mosaics are in full beauty!  Several bought pictures pls tickets for Basilica San Marco.


The children crowd around when its time for these two giants to hammer the great bell.


As we walked over the bridge of Sighs, Lesley took a photo of it, the view was the las the unhappy prisoners saw as they were taken to the dreadful Doges Prison which looks dark and forbidding to the left.


The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal is in contrast with the modern on, there are so many bridges large and imposing and small, and functional that it would take months to study these alone, but the Palaces and Churches are all so magnificent that the tourist tends to forget them.


Bronze horses seem to be stepping towards the Clock tower.  The historical Pageant which we missed through chin wagging to some Americans soldiers who were taking a spell out from the war in Vietnam (I exchange some English coins for a dollar note – 6d and 3ds flummoxed them).


The Doges Palace underneath which arches we brewed up an English cuppa on the Gaz stove.


The great council chamber and enlargement of Venice receiving gifts from Neptune etc etc and a flag of Venetzia.


Saturday 4 September – At Jessola Beach just across from Trieste we swam and picnicked on hot afternoon.  In the evening Lesley’s 21 Birthday was celebrated in novel style at the camp café.  We joined a conga with all Nationalities and learnt the All-Black War Chant from Australians (New Zealanders!). Ricardo serenaded Lesley in true Italian style!


Sunday 5 September Sadly we left Fusina at 9 am the gay Ricardo presenting us with sweets and flowers and giving us a wonderful send off.


The St Bernard’s Pass through a beautiful vine growing valley and all around the lovely peaks.


Back in France Lesley, Harold and Dad pause on the Eiffel Tower after photographing the Plac de Concord opposite and Le Palais de Chaillot.


Me (Barbara) after the usual rush around for food, it’s a good job I can say bread and butter, cheese eggs and bacon in pigeon French, Swiss and Italian as the one slap up meal we had cost us a small fortune.  Bill from Le Petit Chef (Restaurant) look like 102.90.


Flag of Pont D’Ain – We shall never forget this place, so it needs no photographs!


The party after a day in Paris ready for the last leg home.