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The breakfast at theĀ Grand Hotel Elite was pretty good, so we managed to get checked out feeling in fairly good condition, although Kas was obviously still suffering after hurting her ankle while running the previous day.

Bologna_12.JPG We loaded all our bags back into the car and checked out of the room but agreed with reception that we could leave the car in their car park until mid-afternoon. There didn’t seem much point in moving it. We jumped onto a bus down to the city centre, taking a mad guess at where to get off. We did so fairly close to the Piazza Maggiore, which was a pretty good guess.

We took a wander around the Piazza doing touristy stuff and attempting a few geocaches. One feature of the square (and one of the geocache subjects) is a fountain dedicated to Neptune. It’s a weird one because of the numbers of jets of water squirting our a stone-sculpted willies and boobs. Anyway, moving swiftly on….

From here we moseyed along to the famous Two Towers of Bologna. We saw a queue for the taller of the two and determined from the guy on the door that we needed to go back to the tourist office in Piazza Maggiore to buy a ticket. So back we went. They had plenty of tickets available for the 1:30 climb, so that’s the one we went for. It was another tower where the staircase is narrow (and wooden, in this case) so a batch of people is allowed up all at the same time, and are then given 15 minutes or so at the top before needing to come back down again. Two-way flow on the staircase is not really possible unless it was a party of bamboo canes or stick insects. We were among the first few onto the stairs in our wave, and we climbed them really quickly, meaning that the top was practically empty for about 5 minutes when we got there. That allowed us to take a few relatively unhindered photos before everyone else arrived. It also allowed me time to ask the assistant at the top if he knew where the geocache was. He did. It was back down one level of staircase. Province of Bologna – tick.

Once back at the bottom we needed a drink / ice cream, so we raided the gelateria across the road and then started picking our way back to the car. We decided to walk all the way rather than figure out the buses. It only took us 15 minutes or so.

Bologna_38.JPGIt was much easier to get the car out of the hotel’s car park than it was to get it in, and Violet did a good job of getting onto the correct road for heading north to Padua.The drive up there was all hunky-dory until we got to the south side of Padua. Here we encountered a proper thunderstorm. It was loud, and dark. I couldn’t really see the road and I couldn’t really hear the sat nav, and as a result I missed a turning and we ended up driving on a provincial road around the west side of Padua rather than on the motorway around the east side. Never mind.

Our destination was Mirano, a small town on the mainland that is relatively well connected for Venice – more of that in the next post. For today’s post, Violet was attempting to get us to theĀ Park Hotel Villa Giustinian. She did an adequate job of it and we arrived at the hotel just after 4pm, having left Bologna well after 2pm.

The hotel room has to be described as spectacular. In fact “rom” doesn’t really do it justice. It was half of the middle floor of the main building, and consisted of a massive bedroom, a decent sized entrance hall with a double sofabed, and not one, but two separate bathrooms, one of which contained a shower with a marble trough beneath that could probably have doubled up as an Olympic sized swimming pool. The whole thing was very ornately furnished and the walls in the entrance and bathrooms we head-to-toe in polished wood. Very nice, but all of that was subsidiary to the fact that the hotel had a swimming pool. The kids were in it within 30 minutes of our arrival, which is probably a bit slack by their normal standards. They stayed there for a good two hours, and were joined for a part of that by both adults.

For dinner we were going to try the restaurant right over the road, however they were closed (permanently, by the look of it), so instead we jumped into the car and headed into the centre of Mirano town. We found ourselves in a tidy little town square with a few restaurants and bars. We chose the “Fabbrica di Pedavena” – a food-serving bar which had a varied menu including a selection of burgers. They were good.

And that was the end of another day. We needed a good night’s rest because the following day was one of the expected “biggies” of the trip – our planned day in Venice.