Italy: Day 6 Venice

On our last full day in Italy and mom and I got up early to meet a friend. I have a Facebook friend, Anahid, who lives about an hour away by train from Venice. She was sending her kids off to school before coming in with her youngest.

Meeting international book buddies

She had claimed her English wasn’t good, but she spoke it amazingly well. Much better than my Italian! It was fun walking the streets, having my own personal translator, browsing the shops, and talking about everything from kids to books. A stroller in Venice is an experience, as almost all of the bridges have stairs. I got quite the arm workout!

When it was time for her to go home, I went with her to the train station. We ate lunch and sat, discussing books, until her train arrived. I’m so glad we were able to meet in person!

When I went back to the hotel, we hit the alleys again for more souvenir shopping. Tony found a t-shirt, I finally found a scarf I loved, and we found a mask shop. The shop was amazing, we were able to see them painting masks while we were browsing and they were all so beautiful. Mom, Tony, Chiara, and I all picked out a mask and had them bubble wrapped to survive the trip home. Tony and I went off on our own to wander. We sat by the canal for a while and were a little disappointed by the garbage in the canal. The sight that had us laughing was a condom floating in the water. Of course we got lost on our way back to the hotel, but we found a Lego gondola that we knew Arthur had to have!

Once back to the hotel, we packed up aand checked out. Our flight was leaving at 6am, you’re supposed to be at the airport 2 hours before international flights, and with the water buses schedule, we needed to be there the night before.

Riding the water bus

It was an hour and a half boat ride to the airport, and we played on our electronics after spending the first little while enjoying Venice at night.

Venice at night

We arrived at the Venice airport, possibly the smallest airport I’ve ever been to, and made ourselves as comfortable as possible till morning.

Italy: Day 5 Venice

Today we let ourselves sleep in a bit. We have been squeezing a lot of vacation into this week! Once we checked out of the hotel, we made our way to the train station and boarded our train to Venice. Another two hour ride and Chiara loved this one. She made friends with the Japanese teenager sitting across from her. They played with his go-pro, making short videos and immediately watching them.

Chiara and her new friend

Once we arrived in Venice, we made our way to the hotel. Well, we tried. Google maps struggles to find you in this city. The narrow alleys, the canals, and frustration briefly took over. Especially with the heat, everyone was getting hungry, so it was a bad hour and a half! We found a restaurant to have some lunch, and that helped immensely. Especially as there was a guy playing accordion. After lunch it took another hour to get to our hotel, but we were all in a much better mood!

We let ourselves take a short break, with some of us napping in the air conditioning. Then it was off to wander the city. It was really nice not to have any specific plans. We wandered the shops, picking out some souvenirs. Chiara found a shirt, very bohemian, that she wanted for the first day of school. Arthur got himself a gondola in a bottle. Mom was very excited about some of the beads she found for her Pandora bracelet.

Daily dose of gelato

Arthur had a bad moment in one of the shops that upset him a lot. He accidentally dropped a plastic rubik’s cube with scenes of Venice on the sides. Two of the pieces popped off and the shop keeper absolutely flipped out. It was only $25, so we bought the thing, at her insistence. Tony was able to pop the pieces back on as soon as they left the shop. Now we just say that Arthur accidentally picked out a souvenir.

Spidermen at the Rialto bridge

Since we had only seen the trailers of the new Spiderman: Far From Home, the kids were really excited about seeing the Rialto bridge. So of course, Josh and Arthur wore their Spiderman shirts, they brought them just for this photo op!

Gorgeous views

We ate a late dinner at a restaurant just down the alley from our hotel. We were all still adjusting to the slow pace of Italian meals, but the food, as always, was delicious.

We went back to the hotel for the night, I needed to be up at a decent hour the next day. It was no hardship to spend a relaxing evening there, as our room was essentially a small apartment. Aside from the frustration of finding the hotel, it was an excellentfirst day in Venice!

Italy: Getting there

June 10th finally arrived! This year it wasn’t just about my anniversary, Tony and I have been married 13 years now, but we were leaving for Italy! I had been planning, plotting, and in general losing my mind about this for months. I was finally going on my first international vacation!

A friend from one of my Facebook groups was supposed to be taking us, but I kept getting all these weird messages from her, making me think she had to bail on us. Neighbor John to the rescue! While we were loading our van, the online friend showed up, yelling about how I ruined her evening, but I was flying high already, so we didn’t even look at her, and she left.

On the way to the airport, we got an alert that the flight had been delayed an hour, but no worries, as they had already bumped us to the next connecting flight to Rome. At the airport, printed our tickets, through security, then to the terminal to wait.

We needed an anniversary shot of Tony and I for posterity

We boarded the plane, both kids squirming in excitement because this would be the first flight Arthur would remember, and Chiara’s first flight ever. Then out on the tarmac, the captain made an announcement that we would be on the tarmac for about an hour. The weather in NY was too foggy. Everyone on the plane handled it well, my mother especially, talking to everyone within a three row radius.

Look how excited he is!

We finally made it to NY, but were left rushing towards our next flight with no hope of making it. At least nine people missed that flight by a window of twenty minutes. Ugh! The next flight to Rome wasn’t until 4:25 the next afternoon, meaning we were losing an entire day in Rome, a night at the hotel, and would now be rushing to our first tour. Double ugh!

We were able to find a hotel close to the airport, they sent a shuttle to retrieve us, so we at least had a place to sleep that night. Once we got to the room, Josh, my brother, and I walked down to the 7-11 to hopefully find some food at 11pm. They actually had a great selection of fresh food available, including a pizza they cooked fresh for us!

We woke up around 9am the next morning to make our way back to the airport. We then spent the next six hours wandering the JFK airport and hanging out in the USO.

My first time seeing the One World Trade Center

Another bummer to being bumped on an airline is that you will most likely not be sitting with your party. We only had two seats together, so Chiara and I took those. My mom was able to get someone to switch, and had Arthur next to her. Tony and Josh were sitting solo. Sleeping on the plane was impossible for all except Josh. Marine training, and time in a war zone, allows him to sleep anywhere.

So there we were, arriving in Rome, our tour starting in just two hours, running on no sleep. Let the fun commence!