Saturday, February 23, 2013

One night in Venice

So, these pesky visa rules have caused a fair amount of expense, time, and worry about how to stay over 3 months in the European Union. LONG story short, we had to get up to Prague to apply for more time on our visa for the Czech Republic, which would then make us legal to be anywhere else in the Schengen Zone of European Countries. We had barely settled in our place in Italy and had to make the trip back up to the cold north, which we weren't entirely thrilled about. 

Until we started planning the trip and decided to spend a few more days and a few more dollars and stay in Venice and then Vienna on the way up. Jeff and I had been to Venice (before kids) about 10 years before and its one of those places that really stands out, it is just so unique. Its a place that shows up in a few of the kids story books, a place we were all pretty excited about visiting. 

Product DetailsWe absolutely love the Magic Treehouse stories, which take readers around the world on fun and educational adventures. (I have also recently discovered the joy of one-click ordering on Amazon!) This is the first time we'd really had a book that pertained so exactly to one of our destinations. It is so much fun to savor each chapter and gain so much insight and anticipation for an upcoming trip this way.  This will continue to be a big part of their education, using as much good literature as we can to reinforce the hands on travel experience. 

I really couldn't believe that it wasn't crazy expensive during carnival and that we were able to stop.  We got so lucky with the weather! We had been there in April previously and it was overcast and chilly. This time in early February, clear blue skies really gave the place a bright and colorful ambiance that I hadn't really remembered. 

We parked the car and hopped on the ferry boat to get to the hotel. 7 euros each for a 15 minute ride wasn't cheap, but at least the view is awesome along the way. It appeased the kids who were begging for a gondola ride...

The Grand Canal
Gondolas on the canal

The girls never took their eyes on the canals and didn't want to get off the boat. 
And, if Venice itself wasn't enough, every now and then we'd pass someone in an amazingly ornate and colorful costume. I've never seen so many beautiful costumes. The kids were pretty excited. 

"Please, I want a mask!" 
Mask shops were everywhere, we stopped at many.
We promised as soon as we dropped the bags at the hotel
and got some food, we'd buy a mask. 

The girls finally got their masks!

The backdoor to the hotel...

We were so glad we stopped, we walked, we at pizza, drank wine, ate gelato, the girls went to the top of the tower, I chased Collin around St Marks Square. 

I think I felt giddy the entire time we were there. The time went by so fast, and before we knew it we were on our way again, a log drive ahead to get to Vienna.  

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