Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Venice for Halloween

In order to get to our last stop, Croatia, we had to cut through Italy.  When we originally started planning our stops, we were not aware of how difficult it would be to get from Venice to Split in the off season.  If you look at a map you can see that the two countries are very close to one another.  We found a cheap flight months ago with Ryan Air from Barcelona to Venice.  However, we did not finish our traveling plans to get from Venice to Split, Croatia until a couple of days before arriving in Croatia.  We were both surprised by our lackadaisical attitude in finalizing this portion of our journey.  In the end, it did turn into being more of an adventure than we had original anticipated, but it all worked out.  This just reinforced not stressing about it beforehand.

The plane ride was nice as this was the first time that we have flown with post 2-years-old Liam (aka:  he got his own seat).  However, we will (probably) never fly Ryan Air again.  If you are ever considering whether to use them, please contact me and I will give you a thousand reasons as to why it will not save you money in the end.  I will spare those of you who are not interested in the details.  

We arrived in Venice around noon.  We took the Vaporetti, the public transportation down the Grand Canal, to the apartment.  The location of the apartment was perfect as it was in between the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square.  It was very spacious, decorated with Murano Glass fixtures, and made us feel like sophisticated Venetians.  We had considered staying at a bed and breakfast, but decided that we would all be much more comfortable having our own space.  I can be overly concerned about others that I often hurt the feelings of my children trying to get them to be quiet and what not.  To spare us all from the stress, we opted for the apartment.  For families considering traveling, I highly suggest searching websites like VRBO (vacation rentals by owner), Airbnb.com, and more to find good prices on entire spaces.
Amelie and Liam's first trip on the Grand Canal.
After meeting our host and dropping off our luggage, we set out to grab lunch and explore.   Amelie and Liam loved exploring the narrow streets with lots of bridges and boats. We found boats that accomplished specific tasks.  For instance, police boat, gondola, mail service, taxi, construction, etc.  We also searched for lion figures (symbol of the city) and old water collecting wells as we walked around the city.  One of the best parts was that we had gelato after every meal except breakfast.  

Since we would not be dressing up for Halloween this year, we picked out masks to wear around the town instead.  It was fun going into the different shops, some really fancy/expensive and others cheap, to look at the masks.  Although we only had 1 full day in Venice, we had a lot of fun!  My one regret is that now after two trips to Venice, I still have never seen the inside of St. Mark's Basilica!  We went after nap time and arrived 30 minutes after they closed...bummer!

Liam learned "gondola" really quickly.  He would call to the gondolier from on top of the bridges as they would pass.  Most would speak to him while waving and smiling.

They enjoyed window shopping and looking at all of the creations made from Murano Glass.
Liam trying to schmooze a gondola ride.

We did take a Gondola ride across the canal.  This is a great, cheap alternative to the pricey private rides.

Eating a picnic pizza lunch.
Can't beat the view of our lunch spot!
Feeding pigeons our pizza crust followed by chasing them around the square.

"Who loves gelato?!"

Liam found a pigeon that would stand still long enough for him to have a conversation with.
Seriously, he was telling the pigeon that he was fine and it was a nice day.  He has already mastered small talk! :)

St. Mark's Tower in the evening. 
Before dinner we happened upon this church, San Zaccaria, and decided to take a peak.  
The interior is packed with paintings, including Bellini.  
Most churches in Venice do not have crypts, but this one does and is usually flooded.  
Yes, Liam stuck his foot in the water and soaked his shoe...too tempting not to, right?!
We had a nice delicious pasta dinner.  Amelie started to not feel well (partly from being tired I am sure), but she is a trooper.
Venice is beautiful.  It was hard not to take pictures constantly.  Was Venice fun with children?  Absolutely!  We had so much fun meandering through the streets on the island.   Although the Walkers love dressing up for Halloween, we chose a perfect place to spend this holiday away from home.

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