There were bugs in our bed, not bed bugs but more like tiny ladybugs. The wagon was in a bog. The rotten top step broke as soon as Daniel, wearing a heavy bag stood on it. Where on earth were we staying?!
When visiting Venice we decided to stay in Mestre as it is much cheaper and there is great public transport going into Venice. We booked a “little wagoon” on an eco farm. The description boasted of a cute wagon village, a swimming pool, fresh organic vegetables and live music. We figured that the experience was going to be awesome or awful but a good story. It turned out to be both.
Getting there and back, a.k.a an adventure in itself
It all looked so easy on Google maps! From Venice we needed to get two buses and then walk 2km. Fine on its own, but add two heavy packs and a hot Venetian day, and suddenly it’s a very long walk! This was not that bad, at least the forecast thunderstorms had not yet arrived.
The biggest transport adventure arrived the following day when we attempted to visit Venice. The problem: Labour day. It was a public holiday and all of the rural buses were canceled. After waiting for a bus that never turned up we asked passing locals who explained, with a lot of gesture and the help of Google maps, that the only busline in service was about 3km away. So off we walked. This turned out to be the most beautiful walk of our trip so far. We were treated with quiet, tree lined country lanes, overgrown fields of poppies and a tiny village where tourists obviously don’t tend to go. Eventually we found our stop and made it into Venice for a days exploring.
On our second day traveling to Venice we were offered a ride by two Polish girls who somehow managed to cram us and a very tall man from Belarus into the back of their Fiat 500! There is no better way to get to know someone when sharing the backseat of a tiny car.
Our final transport adventure involved getting to the bus station to get to Zagreb. The bus timetables proved to much for us, we ended up getting on the wrong one and having to walk the rest of the way. Remember the many bags? The hot weather? Generally not good for relationships.
As we arrived and first laid eyes on the wagon village in the middle of a boggy field, Daniel said “what have you booked us?”. We made our way to the reception/summer restaurant/music hall/brewery where we found 3 elderly Italian men who were quaffing wine, chain smoking and berating each other over cards. With more gesture we were checked in and sent off to our wagon. We opened the door but it was already taken. Back to reception we went, bags in tow, and the following conversation occured:
Chloe: it’s occupied
First Italian man: occupato?
First Italian man: impossibile!!
Second Italian man: impossibile!!
Third Italian man: allora
Next the three of them shouted at each other, gesturing and glaring at us occasionally, as though the mix up was our error! Some resolution was eventually reached and we were given a key to another wagon.
The “wagoon” a.k.a the wagon:
The wagon was more a garden shed on wheels with a small deck. The door didn’t fit well and there were large gaps at the top and bottom. There were no curtains for privacy or to keep the light out but the lichen on the windows provided some softening or the light. The floor was dirty but the bedding and towels were clean. As we walked up the steps one snapped under the weight of Daniel and a pack and as he opened the door a large HORNET flew straight into him!! The following livestock were also in residence:
- Small bettles in the bed who had to be picked on one by one and sent on their way. Google determined they were not bedbugs.
- Several spiders in well established webs.
- A few large and noisy bugs who hung out on the window sill.
- A lizard who scuttled around in the early morning (we were very relieved to discover he was not a rat).
- A caterpillar.
The communal spaces
The eco garden had lots of shared areas for cooking etc. While quite rugged themselves some provided great opportunities to meet people.
The kitchen space had great indoor/outdoor flow… In the middle of the driveway stood a small shack. It was constructed of pallets, stainless steel tubing and several large plastic signs, such as would advertise the circus coming to town. It had a tiled floor, great for the spring but I imagine would be pretty wet in winter. In the shack was everything we needed, fridge, microwave, bench, stove, sink, table and chairs. It was bizzare but we were fed!
Little galmour can be put on the bathrooms. They were smelly, damp, mouldy and dirty. Flip flops were required at all times! We got clean and used the loo but there was nothing pleasant about it and Daniel’s ringworm cleared up quickly with the antifungal cream that was usefully carried half way around the world.
The pool was a true highlight of staying at the ecogarden and it was a shame the water was not warm enough to swim. It was lovely to lounge by the pool with your feet in the water and a wine in your hand after a long day of walking.
The people we met
The people we met at the ecogarden made the whole weird ecogarden experience worth it. We met some truly interesting characters who we hope we will see again.
- Artsiom from Belarus who, at 25, was on his first ever holiday. We ended up spending the day exploring Venice together.
- Lukas Adrian, a German man, living in Poland who had quit his day job to cycle around the world. You can check out his blog here.
- A couple from Germany, taking their 11 month old old son on a long back-packing trip.
- Two lovely Polish girls who crammed us into their tiny car and offered advice for Poland, when we get there.
- And a pilot from Belgium who commutes to Italy weekly.
All in all our time at the ecogarden was awesome. It was weird as anything and we’re a bit surprised we did not come away with bedbugs or scabies. We survived, it was cheap accommodation, we met some really cool people, expanded our life view a bit and were really really grateful for the next spotless Airbnb. We’ll do another post on Venice but thought that the ecogarden adventure deserved it’s own post!
Chloe and Daniel xx