We boarded a 7:40am flight in Helsinki to make our way to the first and only new location of this years European Vacation, Venice Italy. We stayed at the airport hotel again which made it easy to get to the flight without having to be up at 3am.
You might recall from our last trip that this airport left an impression on us that is still vivid to this day, and even a year later I wanted to go through security a second time … they were just so friendly and polite. That World Happiness Report is spot on, with Finland number one in 2019.
This part of the trip was a little more stressful because in early December Venice experience a flood that damages numerous shops and made it very difficult to get around. We were watching from Mumbai, and even discussed changing our plans. I reached out to the owner of the apartment we were going to rent and she assured us that this wasn’t a reason to change our plans, so we decided to roll the dice.
Honestly, it really didn’t make any difference to her if we came because we were past the cancelation refund date, so we believed her. We also compared it to the flooding that takes place every year in Mumbai. It’s not pretty, and it always causes problems, but it common enough that people know how to work with it when it does happen. Venice, although the flooding this bad doesn’t happen that often, is the same.
Day 1: Friday December 27th, 2019
We arrived in Venice before noon and collected our bags before making our way to the water taxi docks. The owner of the apartment asked us to call her when we got the docks so she could help give directly to the driver, which was a very nice gesture. We just hopped in the boat and enjoyed the ride. This was an amazing experience and we got some great photos and videos of you three enjoying the fresh air.
The weather was still cold, at least for us, so the boat ride was interesting. The view however was amazing. The clear sky’s and vivid colors were exactly what we expected from all the research we did on the city.
Before leaving the dock the owner also sent us photos and step by step directions on how to get from the dock to the door, and met us at the apartment to walk us through the rules. The apartment was great, and this year I was prepared with enough cords and tech to get the computer on the TV which turned out to be an excellent addition.
After such an early morning and long day we decided to lay low for the rest of the day and went out to dinner at a restaurant a few hundred feet down the street from the apartment. Funny enough the people working in the restaurant were from India, so we had plenty to talk about.
As you’d expect in Italy we had plenty of options and tonight you three chose the lasagna, devouring three large pieces before finally asking for dessert.
Day 2: Saturday December 28th, 2019
Today we planned to visit the Rialto Bridge to checkout the markets and then make our way to a grocery store to buy some food to get us through the week.
The Rialto Bridge is iconic and a must see location on the island. The island had limited accessibility for cars so everyone had to walk to get around, unless you wanted to hire a water taxi which would get expensive. We walked which was a lot of fun watching you three explore.
We made it to the Rialto Bridge around lunch time and quickly found a restaurant on the water to have lunch. Pizza again for you three and pasta for your Mother and I.
After lunch we wondered around the Rialto Market, which didn’t take all that long since the stores were more like a mall with a few kiosks here and there selling tourist type souvenirs, which we weren’t looking for.
After awhile we decided to head back towards the apartment via a grocery store. Google Maps was incredibly helpful here, and we found a good store about a 3 minute walk from the apartment. We picked up bread, Nutella, coffee, some fruit, and of course … wine. The photo to the right is actually from our second trip, but was very representative of all our grocery trips.
At this point in India we’re used to paying $25 for a bottle of decent wine, so when we found bottles in the store for $4 we couldn’t believe it. We wondered about the quality so we bought bottles across the price ranges, and we were very impressed with all of them.
Before bed we fired up the computer, gathered all the required adapters ,and streamed Iowa State playing in the Camping World Bowl on the TV. It wasn’t the outcome we had hoped for, but siting in Venice eating pizza and drinking wine really made it all better.
Day 3: Sunday December 29th, 2019
On Sunday we found an amazing pastry shop across from the apartment that made the most amazing croissants, and from this day on it was part of our morning routine. You three ate cereal and Nutella toast, and your mother and I got fresh coffee and ate croissants. I even used the opportunity to try out my Italian, which the ladies behind the counter found very funny.
After breakfast we ventured down the coast to St. Mark’s Square, Piazza San Marco. There was so much to see, and with the long lines we decided not to wait to see the inside of the Church. Even at this point we knew we’d be back, and maybe when you’re older and have a little more patience we’d take the tours.
The square was busy, but not completely crowded. I mean we’re now used to Mumbai streets. We were able to get some good photos, and of course there were pigeons everywhere since people feed them. We thought about feeding them too, but decided against it when we saw police stopping people who were. We did find a place tucked away later in the week to check that off the list though. So we just watched them and pretended to have food…they didn’t bite.
After the square we explored the many streets that weave through Venice. We found high priced luxury stores, candy stores, and a few general stores. Each of you ended up with a 2 lb bag of candy which lasted you the rest of the trip.
Day 4: Monday December 30th, 2019
Our original itinerary included us venturing out of Venice to another city within a couple of hours by train. But, after all the travel so far on this trip we decided to stay put and get some R&R before heading back to our life in Mumbai.
Venice is not all that accommodating for kids, so the remaining days were split between simple explorations around the island and laying low in the apartment, enjoying the time to be a family and relaxing.
One great thing about the apartment was that it was very close to everything we needed…including a laundromat right across the street. I took a load of laundry over to them, which they turned around in a day for around $20. We figured we needed to get this done before New Years in case everything closed down.
Day 5: Tuesday December 31st, 2019
The earlier mentioned flooding didn’t seem to have any affect on the tourism while we were there, and although we had hoped to see a choir or orchestra while in town it was all just to much. Our host told us about an opportunity to see a choir on New Year’s Eve in St. Mark’s Square, but when we asked her about having you three along she confirmed it would be packed with people so we opted out.
Day 6: Wednesday January 1st, 2020
As we welcomed in the new year we took the opportunity to get back to all of our favorite places on the island. Today’s goal was to get some souvenirs that included local art work and Venetian masks.
Throughout the week we tried to pay attention to the smaller business shops around Venice. We really like supporting the small business owners and love that many times the items we buy in those shops were made by the owner, which happened to be the case in Venice.
We stopped by a small shop on the way to the Rialto Market that was owned and operated by an older gentlemen who was working on a painting when we walked in. Since you three weren’t ready for a store like this your mother would go in and short list a few things and then I’d go in and pick a couple out. We ended up purchasing a couple of small painting and a letter opener made with Venetian glass.
Our next stop was a mask shop that was a little more mainstream but still small enough to fit the bill. We picked out three masks, one for decoration and one for your mother and I in case we attend a mask party. Your mother’s is of course elegant and beautiful, and mine … well I picked the mask that looked like it’s meant for a Jester.
Day 7: Thursday January 2nd, 2020
To help with our early flight out of Venice the following morning we decided to relocate from Venice Island to a hotel near the airport. Our host arranged transportation and met us in the morning to check us out of the apartment.
After arriving back at the airport dock with a walk that was a little more than we expected, but we made it to the hotel just fine. Our rooms were available so we regrouped for the following day before heading down to the restaurant for dinner.
Day 8: Friday January 3rd, 2020
Another very early flight had us up at 4:30am to catch a shuttle to the airport. The trip home was uneventful and our luggage made it all the way. That took a slight detour when we got to immigration in Mumbai though.
It’s standard practice that your mother has to get her finger print scanned every time we enter India, without fail. This time it appeared we got a new agent and she was very thorough at checking all the documents … at least three times. Then when it was your mom’s turn the scanner wasn’t working so she had her try every finger at least twice. At this point, after a long day of travel and sleep deprivation we were done. Long story short we had to get a manager and probably got a little too excited. Looking back we were probably lucky we didn’t get pulled into an interrogation room.
But after it all we exited the airport with Ajay waiting for us, and we quickly made it back to the apartment by 3am to get a few hours of sleep before settling back in.
Overall this trip was so amazing and we feel so blessed to get the opportunity to see so much and make so many memories with you three.
Mom & Dad