Destination Italy: arrival in Venice

Day 1, 19 Aug 2001

This was our first 'touring' holiday. What did we expect - perhaps a coach-load of blue-rinsers? Well, that was my first thought. But before the coach, we did have to go through the ritual cramming of people onto a budget charter flight (Monarch Airlines), complete with the hour flight delay. There were collective groans and tuts as the delay was announced. Chill out - you're going on holiday, folks!

Baking heat at 8pm

As it happens, even at the correct arrival time in Venice's Marco Polo airport, we would have had little time to do much Sunday evening, so a slight delay was not really a problem. When we did arrive, though, the biggest concern was how we were going to cope with the heat for the next two weeks? It was 8pm, the sun was well and truly down, yet the temperature was still around 25 degrees Celsius. We would later learn that in the previous two weeks, various roads in Italy were shut because the tarmac was melting, and fire engines had been hosing down petrol stations, so great was the risk of a fire.

Our hotel was not in Venice, but outside by about an hour in an area called Monastier. The holiday brochure had deceived us. However, the hotel - Park Villa Fiorita - was quite nice, and had a really good pool. Despite being quite late in the evening, I opted for a dip. There we met Beau and Jethro - mother and son, originally from Brisbane but now living in England and taking European breaks to remind themselves what the sun looks like. Beau seemed like a good laugh - and she at least proved that not all of the holidaymakers were going to be of pensionable age