Well, step one of our Epic Italian Adventure went off without a hitch and we arrived safely in Venice yesterday. The kids were real troopers on the 16 hour journey from Vancouver to Venice. Even when we hit the only bump in the trip, a 45 minute delay waiting for a thunderstorm to clear off from the Venice airport before we could land, the kids handled it just fine.
Every time I go to Venice I’m reminded of how much I love this place. There really is just no place that can compare. Even arriving in the rain in the busiest part of the day in the most crowded period of the year, it takes my breath away. I don’t think the kids really appreciated it much on day one; they did great but were pretty much done when we arrived, but watching them heading out to explore this morning was so cool. There really is no feeling like seeing a place you love being experience for the first time by the people you love most. Their innocent wonder makes it all worthwhile.
It’s not all pixie dust and roses, though. It seems like every time I travel the battle with jet lag gets worse and this trip was no exception. I didn’t sleep on the plane since I was being used as a human pillow (and I rarely sleep on planes anyway) so I was desperate for a good sleep when my head hit the pillow at 9 pm last night. Well, wouldn’t you know it, but when my eyes popped open I checked my watch and it was all of 10:30 pm! I lay there for three hours, trying to will myself to sleep and not disturb the rest of the family, but when the kids started calling out that they couldn’t sleep at 1:30 I gave up. We ended up snuggling on the sofa bed in the other room and watching movies together while Mr “Jet lag? What jet lag?” snored away next door.
The upside of this ridiculously early start to the day was that we were raring to go at 6 am when only the residents of Venice are up and about. The nearby street that had been wall to wall people when I went out the get food the night before was empty except for the street sweepers and delivery carts. We walked into St Mark’s Square as the sun peeked over the church and had the empty square to ourselves for a bit. The kids ran and played in the open spaces and we were able to take great pictures of the square without the crowds.
We were in the first group to ascend to the top of the bell tower this morning and to get into St Mark’s Basilica shortly after. We enjoyed coffee and pastries on a quiet square and made it back to the hotel by noon, just as the crowds started to build. And now I’m sitting in the semi-dark of the room with the blinds closed, listening to the sounds of two sleeping children inside and the sounds of the canal just below our bedroom window outside. And I’m very tired but very, very happy.