Most of this day was spent traveling from Paris to Venice, Italy. We spent the morning packing and cleaning the condo and had everything ready by the gate at 10:00, when a van from the same service that dropped us off was supposed to pick us up. We had a little scare as the van to take us to the Orly airport was about 15 minutes late showing up. Steve was taking a bus from his apartment, so we didn’t have him to help us if our van didn’t show. We were just beginning to think of alternative arrangements when he showed up. Other than a little anxiety, we made it to the airport fine.
We ate lunch in the airport and Ethan and Toren played together for a while. Our carrier was Easyjet, which is a budget carrier. As a budget carrier, seats are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so as soon as our plane landed, there was a swarm of people to the gate. Luckily, because we have kids, we were allowed to board before everyone else. That policy isn’t very popular based on the glares we got when boarding. Those who are unhappy with the policy are welcome to try to entertain Toren on a flight! ;)
Regardless, between the nine of us we got three rows and Toren even got his own seat (he wasn’t supposed to, but no one wanted to sit next to us, so he did):
The flight was generally uneventful until we started our descent into Venice. In front of Debi, Toren, and I was a French family. The mother was by the window, the father was in the aisle seat, and a child around 5 or 6 was in the middle seat. They also had a lap child, probably a little younger than Toren. They were quiet during the flight, quiet enough that I hadn’t noticed them. But as the plane started to descend, the son vomited – EVERYWHERE! It literally was projectile vomit onto the seats in front of them (the people in those seats had to have gotten covered with vomit). The father yelled, “Merde!” and hit the sit in front of him (that was now covered with vomit) then hit the kid, who was so stunned he just sat there. Neither Debi nor Toren got any on them, but one drop of the vomit backsplashed onto my nose. Ick! Anyone, we just felt sorry for them and started handing them napkins and wipes to clean up. The smell also started wafting back towards us. It wasn’t pleasant. But, having a kid of our own, one who has thrown up before (but never on flights, thank goodness; though he did have diarrhea on one), we just felt bad for them. The mother responded much more appropriately than the father and jumped into action, cleaning everyone up. She even had a spare shirt for the kid, whose shirt was covered. I think the reason the dad was so upset is because the son was holding a barf bag right in front of him but missed it almost completely. Still, the response was inappropriate. Anyway… Here’s a shot of Venice from the air as we came in for our landing:
Once we picked up our luggage, Rosemary had, once again, arranged our transport. Just before we left for our trip I was speaking with a colleague of mine who recommended that we take a water taxi into Venice rather than the standard bus, as the bus drops you off in an industrial area that is not at all attractive while the water taxi takes you right up the Grand Canal, which is really how everyone should enter Venice. I mentioned this to Rosemary while in Paris and she said it sounded great, but that she had already arranged transport and wasn’t sure what it was. Turns out, it was a water taxi up the Grand Canal. And, it was very nice. Brent filmed some of the ride and we took a bunch of pictures, but I’m just going to post one which shows some of the canal and our boat:
The weather was great and the ride was marvelous. This is definitely the way to arrive in Venice.
The water taxi dropped us off at Traghetto San Samuele (which is a stop on the water taxi route) where we were to be met by the manager of the condo who would walk us to the condo and get us settled. However, we got there about an hour early. So, we had an hour to burn before we could get settled in our condo. It was a little on the hot side and we didn’t have any water with us for Toren or Ethan, so we went exploring the streets and alleys of Venice. It would be super easy to get lost there, but eventually we found a supermarket with water that was right next to a gelataria (ice cream shop). We bought some water and gelato and headed back to San Samuele where the parents were waiting with the luggage. The condo manager showed up just after we did and walked us to our condo, which was actually not far at all from San Samuele (here’s our condo marked on a map). This condo was even nicer than the last, though it did have electricity problems. Basically, if you ran all of the air conditioning units at the same time (there were three of them) and anything else, it would trip the breaker. Otherwise, it was great. And it was very close to the market and gelateria we found earlier and a nice square (called campos in Venetian; Campo Francesco Morosini was the name of it) with a number of restaurants.
Oh, and the gelato. Wow! The gelato in Venice is amazing. They have unique flavors, which are nice, but some of the simplest ones were just remarkable good. My favorites were pistachio and coconut, but lemon was also very, very good. We probably spent almost as much on gelato in Venice as we did on actual food!
Once we got settled we went out for dinner in the Campo, eating right in the square. This was really nice because the kids could play in the campo while we ate. Without a high chair, and given all the distractions, Toren’s attention span while eating was about 1 minute. So, we ate in shifts, one of us eating while the other watched Toren. Here’s some footage of Toren chasing birds in Campo Francesco Morosini while everyone was eating:
Also, I hate to admit it, but I was not at all impressed with the food in Venice, excepting the gelato, of course. The pasta I had the first night (a seafood pasta) wasn’t very good. I had pizza a couple of times, and it wasn’t particularly amazing either. Oh, and you HAVE to buy bottled water in Italy at ridiculous prices. While Italy is a lot cheaper than Paris, the fact that you couldn’t just get tap water was very annoying. We pretty quickly started sneaking bottles of water into restaurants to top off our glasses and would buy just one bottle of water (usually at 3 or 4 euros) for the whole table. We ate until about 8:15, which was 15 minutes after the market closed (though this market had a very annoying tendency of closing 10 to 15 minutes early every night we wanted to buy something). Ethan usually wants milk at night, so Debi, Steve, and I went on a late night hunt for milk for Ethan, but to no avail (Toren went to bed early, so we left him at the condo with Rosemary to watch him). FYI, there is no milk to be found in Venice after 8:00 pm. Our hunt ended around 9:30, after which we all went to bed.