We packed our expanding collection back into our suitcases, had breakfast and then checked out of the Hotel Tabor. It had been a very pleasant stay and we had not used the car since parking it in the long-term parking station near the hotel. I must admit to being a bit concerned that it might not still be there. It was – and safe and sound. We loaded our gear and settled in for a long day’s drive to our destination, Mogliano-Veneto, a small town about 20km from Venice. Tom Tom estimated that it should take about 5 hours 45 minutes. I took the first shift of driving and we were soon on our way out of Vienna.
Our first deviation was Graz, a city Peter had visited for a conference in 1995. The Saturday morning traffic was heavy and we could not get a park anywhere so we continued on without stopping or seeing much at all. We bought some provisions at a supermarket on the outskirts of town and then looked for a suitable spot to stop for a picnic lunch. I took a diversion to a place that looked like it might have some scenic attraction but there was nowhere to stop , so I kept trying various backroads, much to Tom Tom’s despair.
We eventually found a little town, Voitsberg, where I was able to park in a back street and we decided to walk into where there was likely to be a central square. We were sure we would find a suitable picnic spot there. When we arrived in the main section of town, we found that we had arrived on some major day of celebration. A street fair occupied the full length of the main street and there were stalls with all kinds of food and drink and other merchandise. We were already fully stocked for lunch with juice, rolls, salami, cheese, fruit, and some vanilla puff pastries. We ate our fill and then strolled through the fair. Joel’s eyes were attracted to some puff pastries filled with what looked like thick cream and was keen to try one. I reluctantly bought one, but wouldn’t let him eat it until we got to our destination. I could just see it being brought up all over the back seat if he ate it then or while we were driving.
Our journey continued through spectacular alpine scenery and we eventually crossed into Italy and were immediately on a toll road, the first we had encountered on the trip so far. Peter was driving at this stage as the road passed through and over even more wonderful scenery, and much of it was through tunnels of between 1 km and 3 km in length. Each time we emerged, the mountains scenery took our breath and once I was back again behind the wheel, Peter snapped lots of photos as we drove along.
Tom Tom did himself proud today and was able to redirect us each time we deviated and finally led us directly to our hotel, the Villa Stucky at Mogliano Veneto. Peter had booked the hotel on Wotif and had some idea of what it looked like from images on the web. Joel and I were completely amazed when we drove in through the impressive metal gates and up the driveway of a magnificent old villa. It is three storeys high with decorative painted walls and a tower section at the front. As we pulled into one of the free parking spots (another bonus in these parts!) I noticed there were some small units built behind the main building. I guessed that one of those would be our accommodation. Peter went in to complete check in arrangements and we were led to our room – a splendidly ornate room on the ground floor of the main house. It is everything an Italian villa should be – over the top with decor, and it also is air conditioned, unlike our previous two hotels. It also has a jacuzzi and bidet as well as the regular bathroom fittings.
By the time we got our bags in, it was about 6.30, so we headed off to explore downtown and to buy some dinner. We stopped at the church across the road which adjoins a Benedictine cloister which was built in the 12th century. I withdrew some cash from the bank’s ATM. The town has lots of fine clothing stores and I bought shirts for Sophie, Harry, and Callum. There was a wedding taking place in the town hall and the bride and groom were posing for photos near the entrance as we wandered by. We found a pizza shop where we stopped to eat and we later bought gelatos to eat by the fountain.
When we returned home, Joel tried his cream roll. He managed about 2 bites and decided it was too rich. The centre was actually soft meringue and was very sickly and sweet. We did another shot walk in the residential area of town and then returned to our room to download photos and write our notes for the day. Joel has decided he would like to add his comments on the blog, so here is Joel’s Jolly Junction where you can join him.
Jolly Joel’s Junction
Now I (Joel) am going to write my true account (the others were probably true but mine are truer) of the trip today with lots of alliteration if I can think of ways to write some in.
First up, we woke up-some earlier than others (okay I’ll admit that I was up almost an hour later than Nana and Grandad). Then we walked down for breakfast and I had two bowls of cereal; one of Froot Loops, and one of some chocolate things that looked like Cocoa Bombs, but tasted like off Coco Pops, and one hard-boiled egg which took 12 minutes which is better than the one from yesterday that took 15 minutes to soft-boil (and I tried to crack it open by hitting it with a spoon and it exploded all over the table, then we ran away back to our room). Then we went up to our room to get our stuff ready to check out and my suitcase was really hard to close since it is full of lots of good gifts that you will love and cherish for the rest of your lives (except for the chocolates that you will love and cherish for a couple of minutes). Then we walked downstairs and I dropped off the key because I’m a big boy now, then we walked off to the place where the car was parked near the big square nearby. When we went down, put our luggage in the car and drove off into the morning (sunset would have been more romantic, but it was actually about 9am). We kept driving until we arrived at Voitsberg where after a while we stopped in a car park that we thought looked like a nice spot close to a park and then we walked down the street and we ran into an enormous carnival which we walked around for a little while and every now and then I spotted big pastries with cream in the middle and when we were about to leave I decided that we should get one and we did. We got in the car and drove off (still not into the sunset) and we ekpe driving until we got to a little rest stop where we got out and took some photos and then kept going driving towards Magliano-Veneto, stopping every now and then until we arrived and when we got to the hotel, Nanna saw the big grand villa and the she saw the smaller not-so-grand bits behind the villa, she automatically thought that we would be staying in the ones behind. When we went into the main building to check in, it turned out that we had a very good room with chandeliers and stuff. Then we decided to walk into town and get a feel for the place and get some dinner, and after about 100 m we stopped in a large grand Italian church (not surprising as we are in Italy) and we then we took lots of photos and continued along until we saw a nice little pizza place and we mentally bookmarked it and then we went into the town to find shops and we ended up getting clothes for my cousins and then after a while of looking around we headed back to the pizza place and ate there. Then we walked back to the villa and grandad went in to get the cream pastry which I ended up eating a very small part of and I would have eaten more except for the fact that it tasted like raw meringue, except more sugary. After that I tried to take a photo and I found out that I have no memory left in the camera (I still have some of my own memory or else I wouldn’t be able to write this from memory). We then walked back around into a different section of town that we hadn’t been to before just to have a little bit of a walk. Then we came back to the villa and I found out that I had no battery or memory left in the camera and due to the fact that noone would let me bring a charger I can no longer use the camera, so now I have to use Nanna’s and hers is not as cool as mine. And now I’m finished with my jolly junction of Joeliness. Good night.