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June, 2016

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Half way between the wealth of Venice and the search for heaven by the usurious in Padua is the small town of Mira. A good short break location, it lies on an efficient bus route with railway connections via those cities to the likes of Treviso, Verona and Lake Garda, so there is no need of a car. For the active there is cycle hire, for the more contemplative there are river cruises, including the famous and expensive “Burchiello” to some of the Palladian villas along the Brenta river.

We stayed at Relais Alcova del Doge, which felt like a very small (by the standards of a Doge) but very comfortable and friendly three-star hotel. The bus from Venice stops100 metres from the hotel, with one small road and a fairly level pavement to negotiate. A wheelchair visitor from Switzerland, arriving by car, was given discreet assistance to a room in the paved and gravelled courtyard. There was a ramp for access to reception and the breakfast room. Almost at the bus stop is a restaurant, Re di Quadri (King of Diamonds, as the staff uniform illustrates), which serves very good and generous pizze plus an a la carte menu. There is also a quick menu at 11 Euros on weekdays, very helpful if post-Brexit exchange rates continue to be unfavourable. We found there, as at other restaurants, it was perfectly acceptable to order one course and whatever we had to eat was very good.

The Relais is perhaps 400 metres from what passes as the centre of Mira, with a few awkward steps to negotiate along an otherwise straight pavement. Zebra crossings are plentiful, some have lights but drivers are reasonable enough (we guess they don’t want to dent their cars on people). On the river bank is a reasonable path, for the most part paved, that reaches a footbridge for crossing the river. Daily there is a fresh fish stall by this bridge and a small market opens nearby on Saturdays. Staff at the Relais were very accommodating about prepared food eaten in the courtyard or room so there was no need to spend at the restaurant every day. Other places to eat are in a residential area back from the river, with two supermarkets and a fruit and vegetable market.

We found it pleasant enough to walk through the park and along the riverside for one day’s relaxation. The bus stops near several of the villas towards either Venice or Padua, and the hotel staff can arrange reservations. A useful tip is the Venice card for use on public transport, on both land and water. It is available at various prices depending on the length of validity. Our friends who had come from Austria bought a week’s pass; we settled for a single day and in that managed boat rides to the Lido, to Giardini, where the architecture Biennale was taking place, to Giudecca and in both directions around the landward side of Venice. Less time spent ashore between trips and we could have visited other islands. These tickets are not valid for travel to the airport, however.

So a relaxing place to stay away from the pressure and prices of Venice yet with easy access (45 minutes by bus), and enough sights within walking distance as well as the short ride to more famous locations. We would gladly stay there again.


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