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Posted by on 17 May 2011

Turning onto finals at Venice

Thursday 12 May – A day trip to Venice meant that we had to get through customs both sides. Losinj airport normally shuts at 4pm. The staff were happy to work later but a NOTAM on the aerodrome opening hours had to be issued; and wasn’t. This left us with a rather rapid visit.

Normally we would cautiously fly round the edge of the sea rather than take the 1 hour flight directly across. But given that the others would fly direct and emboldened by the flight round Montenegro we would go direct.

This would be a VFR flight and the IFR planes consulted with Kim for advice on unfamiliar procedures. Though, in truth, this was pretty straightforward with all of us being passed from Losinj to Pula to Padua to Venice controls.

The weather got a bit murkier towards Italy; the lagoon only visible from about 15 miles and the grass strip on the Lido was a little hard to spot though it was obvious as to where it should be.

The approach crossing the Lido above the Hotel des Bains (‘Death in Venice’ fame) and turning sharply round an island of ancient warehouses and a monastery, before the decent to the grass.

View across Venice

Like Shoreham, this is a deco airport from the golden age of travel. The terminal is full of photos from the 20s and 30s and some futurist-type murals.

We hit Italian bureaucracy. Firstly a pair from the police sporting all the peaked caps, gold braid, guns and sunglasses that the stereotype of Italian officialdom offers. They spent 30 mins taking down our passports; the older officer calling out details syllable by syllable to the younger one writing it all down. They were followed by a pair from the Guardia di Finanza (different shade of uniforms) who performed a similar process plus a cursory inspection of the planes.

This left us with about 2 ½ hours in Venice. This was spent on a fast taxi boat, speeding first to Burano and then Torcello. The weather brightened as we walked round the coloured houses of Burano and caught a quick lunch. Then a peek at the mosaics in the church at Torcello.

Back at the airport the police turned up again to run through the paper work and let us out. This time out of uniform; black t-shirts with their guns stuck down the waist band of their jeans.

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