To say that I had an
amazing experience on my trip to Europe is an understatement.
I seriously took the trip of a lifetime and am so lucky to have gotten to do so!
The kids I nanny for journaled during their trip so I decided to blog too!
Thankful that I took the time to do so. These words will help capture the memories!!!
VENICE, ITALY... land (or should I say water) of the Gondolas!
Today, we hoped on the plane to head to Venice, Italy.
We left LA (USA!) at 4pm and arrived in Venice (ITALY!) at noon their time (9 hours time diff!)
I spent most of the flight trying to sleep, and becoming obsessed with a new game that my friend (& flight attendant Jenny) introduced to me called DOTS! Get the app... I love it!!!
When we got off the plane, we rode a short bus ride over to the customs area. We gave the man our passports and he led us to our taxi (Venice was the only place to stamp my passport...bummer!). This wasn’t any old cab ride, it was a taxi boat ride! The trip from the airport to Venice took about 25 minutes, but it was about 86 degrees and soooo humid (and California people aren’t used to humidity) so everyone was sweating (& occasionally complaining:) ) from the get go!!! I looked at my phone during this boat ride to see I had already been charged over $50 in roaming fees.
So I turned all communications off from the world (unless wireless internet was available)!
Thank God for email and Whatsapp so I could talk to my family and friends internationally!!!
After arriving at the hotel, we went to our rooms. Jet lag was occurring, but we would not let that stop us from enjoying our day! Did I mention, IT WAS HOT?! The hotel was gorgeous, absolutely beautiful, but the air conditioning was limited/not consistently working. With two kiddos ages 8 and 10 that makes for a long day! Again Hoosiers are used to humidity, but Californians, not so much!!!
The kids were miserable...but they were troopers.
(view from the hotel!!!)
(view from the rooftop balcony)
(Stella trying my gelato!)
After that, we toured around a little bit. We even looked at another beautiful hotel to stay in (with better ac), but they decided to stay put at our original hotel. Before returning to the hotel we stopped at one of the islands so Ms. S (ok and all of us on the boat) could get some Gelato!!! Ms. S had her favorite chocolate ice cream (which she mostly wore on her face!) and I had some Nutella & vanilla. It was delicious! We looked around a few shops and headed back to rest and get ready for dinner. I quickly learned how to use European electric plugs with my adapter ;)
Dinner was at a restaurant called the something Madonna. It was delicious and quick. Then, we headed to the taxi boat for a trip St. Mark’s Basilica. One of the perks of being a nanny is that I get lucky to do the things that my family is privileged enough to do. One of these events was touring St. Mark’s Basilica, privately. No waiting 6 hours in line!!! But before we could go in, Mr. E & Ms. S had to do some pigeon chasing in the square. That’s right, Brittany Murphy/Ashton Kutcher style :) Now, I am a Catholic girl and it was quite humbling to enter the Basilica. Since it was built in the 1000s, it’s pretty incredible for it to be so intact and amazing. We entered at dusk and the guide lit up the ceiling of the basilica revealing the most unbelievable gold details. I have to admit, I got teary eyed and overwhelmed at that moment. How people were able to create such masterpieces without the technology and things we have today, I will never know. We got to tour the altar, which is where the body of Mark (ya know, the author of the Gospel of Mark in the Bible) is still today. How incredible that his body rests in such a holy location! We also toured in the basement where many other tombs exist of other important people in the church. There is a riffle next to a statue of Mary on the wall of the Basilica. A man who was leaving for World War II went there and prayed to her (Catholics have a strong devotion to Mary) He said if she would help him survive the war, he’d return and place his gun there. He lived to return his gun, leaving us with an incredible story! It was so neat to see!!! And we have yet to even get to Rome. I just CAN’T wait!!!
(outside the square of the basilica)
When we left the Basilica, we were picked up by a Gondola that drove us around the small canals in the city... There are over 113 islands in Venice. They all have names, but no one knows them and most of the people that live there just walk in the city. Don’t worry, I definitely was the question master and asked our tour guide 1,000,000 questions. I have so many more too! We went home to rest, but our bodies still needed some adjusting. Mr. E & Ms. S were up for many hours in the night, exploring the hotel instead of sleeping. Due to the heat, the W family decided to cut our 3 night tour to 2 nights.
(guess which one is mine?)
WE SLEPT IN! The entire group was overwhelmed with exhaustion and jet lag! Once we woke up, we grabbed quick room service breakfast and headed out to our taxi boat. For the first part of the morning, we rode around Venice. Here we saw many sights, one that the guide thought Mr. E would like was the old ship making “grounds.” Now replaced by shops and businesses, this place is considered the oldest industrious grounds, dating back to the 1000s. There is still a working crane there from long, long ago operated by steam! We got to see street after street filled with drying clothes lines and men singing songs on Gondolas. It was so romantical. :) I also got a little sunburnt on my shoulders from this trip! Gotta love the Target tank top tan!!! I’m sorry, I think I forgot to mention IT WAS HOT! We were sweating bullets, but it was beautiful and worth it!
Our next stop was mask making. When we arrived, we were told that not long ago, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt brought their kids to this same place to make masks! Fun huh! Anyways, this was one of the highlights of the trip. Since I LOVE being crafty, I’m not sure who liked it more, me or the kiddos! We all added our intricate details and designs and got to sit in lots of air conditioning! It rocked. We wrapped up our masks and headed to some of the little shops so the kids could get some goodies. I also got myself a momento...a magnet (that cost me 2 Euros)! Which I continued to get each place as the trip continued. We also got Gelato...again! Then we went back to the hotel before dinner at Harry’s Bar. The food was delicious there, and we had an awesome view of the Grand Canal. Once the sun went down it was finally cool enough to enjoy the “seaway” (like the freeway!) as the kiddos called it. Ms. S and I relaxed in the room, FaceTimed with Mr. Keev and went to bed. Ready to enjoy our final morning in Venice.
(headed home from Harry's on our boat taxi! so fun!)
Ms. S decided that 6am would be our wake up call, even though the real wake up call was not until 8:15am. She has told me a couple times that I’m getting practice being a mom! She is right :) We hung out for 2 hours and then everyone was up and getting ready for our final Venetian activity...glass blowing! I went on a 4th grade field trip once in Indiana to see glass blowing and all of us got some paperweights as a memento. I still have that paper weight somewhere, but it wasn’t quite what I remembered seeing! It was even HOTTER inside the glass blowing room than it was outside. Those men are so talented! I don’t know how they do it! We saw the process and then got to head to the show rooms (air conditioned) to view all of their purchasable creations! I got a vase that is gorgeous and a couple of family members some presents there. Then we were off to the airport to head to Lake Como!!
(unreal views...what a place!)
(so hot in there!)
(beautiful glass-blown chandelier)
It was sad leaving Venice, but I knew so many AMAZINGGG things were to come...
(This pic is horrible bc I am super jet lagged, but this is the only pic I got with Jenny in Venice!)
Next stop LAKE COMO!!!