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13 Days, 7 Cities, 3 Kids...Our Dream to Trip to Italy (Day 1)

13 Days, 7 Cities, 3 Kids...Our Dream to Trip to Italy (Day 1)

Dec 17th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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13 Days, 7 Cities, 3 Kids...Our Dream to Trip to Italy (Day 1)

This is the first installment of my trip report for my recent trip to Italy with my DH and three kids (DD/age 11, DS1/age 12 and DS2/age 9). We were there November 21-December 4th...Had a FABULOUS time...partly due to all the fabulous advice I received on this forum - Thank You to all who responded to my queries. Still wishing i was there...Can't wait to start planning a 2nd trip!!

Day 1: Planes, Trains and Automobiles...

Well actually this post SHOULD be called automobiles, planes, buses, trains and vaporettos for that is exactly the order of the transportation we utilized getting to Venice from California over the last 24 hours. It all began (for the kids, at least) when I woke them at 4:30 a.m. so they could get dressed and ready to be picked up at 5:00 by my dad, who was driving us to LAX (thus the automobile!). We got to LAX by about 5:45 and had breakfast. I had prearranged to meet my cousin who works at LAX and by chance was working our gate that morning. It was great to see him and he was able to work us on to our extremely full flight right after Betty White!! (He also called ahead to JFK and the flight attendants there were extremely attentive, even sending us off the flight with a full bottle of wine in Milan!) The kids tackled their independent study and got a good portion of that out of the way on this leg of the trip. Even though our flight was delayed out of LAX we made it to JFK in NYC with plenty of time to grab a bite during our 90 minute layover before getting boarding our flight to Milan.

The JFK - Milan leg was a little tougher. By then we were all tired but only DH was able to sleep decently in an upright position. The kids were able to sneak in a few hours but I did not sleep a wink. Once we arrived in Milan, we took a bus from the airport to the Milano Centrale Train Station. That was a good one hour drive due to traffic. Arriving at the train station we grabbed a panini (our first Italian meal!) and then boarded a train from Milano Centrale to Venice S. Lucia....a 2 hour 10 minute high speed train ride. We all dozed off and on here and I was begininng to worry that we would sleep right through our stop. After we arrived in Venice, we had to wait around for about 1 and 1/2 hours before our "greeter" could meet us and give us the keys. We hung around the station and checked out the sights and tried to make some sense of the Vaporetto (water bus) system. Soon we were on our way for a very short water bus ride to our Vaporetto stop where we met Nurhanna our greeter. We walked about 3/4 miles over cobblestones and over 3 bridges (with steps), lugging our luggage up and down them all. (I was truly glad I had followed the advice to pack light!!)

Finally at 4:15 p.m., 24 hours after we had gone on the road with grandpa, we had finally arrived to our apartment in Dorsoduro. Nurhanna gave us the run down, DD tackled a little more homework and the boys ran around the apartment checking everything out. One minor irritation was the fact that neither the apartment's wifi, DH's vodafone chip in his iPad2 or my blackberry global phone were working. DH and I tried to figure out the WIFI situation to no avail and decided to table our technical issues until the following day. We hit the road again about 6:15 p.m., taking the Vaporetto down to the Festival de Salute. The kids were starving for a real meal so we detoured into San Trovaso for a delicious meal and some wine before heading over to the church. After dinner we went to the church to light some candles in memory of some lost loved ones. The church was beautiful and we spent some time admiring all the chapels. By the time we left, DH and I realized the wine we drank needed an outlet and yet, there were no public bathrooms (paid or otherwise available). This was creating a bit of a crisis as neither of us thought we could hold it for a 30-40 minute vaporetto ride nor did we want to risk the humiliation of getting a ticket for relieving ourselves in public! In desperation, we jumped on the next Vaporetto only to jump off at the next stop. Our only choice was to go into another bar and buy two glasses of wine in order to utlize their bathrooms. As luck would have it, the bar was located right next to a gelatria. We had promised the kids gelato every day of our trip if they were good and they had certainly earned it today. While we sipped our wine outside the kids licked their gelato (chocolate and coffee). Then we jumped on the next vaporetto and headed for home. By the end of the night we realized we had been going for 31 hours. The kids were such troopers we truly were so proud of them. A few minor scowls but definitely nothing to write home about. Off to a great start!
lisaroberts is offline  
Dec 17th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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Great beginning--looking forward to the next installment
ellenem is online now  
Dec 17th, 2011, 02:00 PM
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I'm amazed at the energy your kids have!
agent226 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2011, 03:58 PM
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Lisa,

Thanks for taking the time to do a trip report! Your report will be easier for all to read and will get more responses if you do it all in one thread. Don't do a separate posting for each day.

Can't wait to read the rest,
Grazie
Dayle is offline  
Dec 17th, 2011, 04:48 PM
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Yes, of course. I should not have put Day 1...I will definitely keep it all in one thread...
Lisa_Roberts is offline  
Dec 17th, 2011, 09:36 PM
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Did you rent your Venice apartment from VRBO or from a company?
jrecm is offline  
Dec 17th, 2011, 11:16 PM
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Phew, that first day and a bit was loooong, eh?
YvonneT is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 05:41 AM
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bmk
annhig is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 06:55 AM
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My DW thinks there needs to be an ongoing thread here entitled "Bathrooms in Venice." She also maintains that a fortune could be made opening a chain of bathrooms in Venice, charging less than the cost of a glass of wine.
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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My DW thinks there needs to be an ongoing thread here entitled "Bathrooms in Venice." She also maintains that a fortune could be made opening a chain of bathrooms in Venice, charging less than the cost of a glass of wine.>>

last time we were in Venice, you could get a vaporetto pass that included entrance to the [few] public loos in the city. [our apartment was round the back of the campo san bartolomeo where one of the very few public loos is situated, so we didn't need it] .

otherwise, you need to develop the habit of using the "facilities" every time you visit a museum or cafe. that's what we did and it worked out fine.
annhig is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 11:53 AM
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great first day, lisa.

actually making something is a terrific way to introduce your kids to the culture of Venice - and well done with the translation. i met a few spaniards in Italy whose technique for being understood was to shout at the waiter [or whoever] in spanish - very funny, especially as it is the way that english people traditionally communicate with foreigners. i suspect that spanish is more successful in italy though, than english is.

looking forward to more!
annhig is offline  
Dec 19th, 2011, 08:40 AM
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Lisa, I am so enjoying your trip report and I truly am enjoying the fact that you traveled with your children. We did also, Venice was our daughter's favorite place which I think is true for a lot of young ones. I wish I could have "one more" trip with our daughter when she was a youngster but of course that is not possible as she is a grown woman so I am so glad we always took her on our trips with us and I know you will be glad also. I so look forward to your next installment!
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 08:44 AM
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I am really enjoying your report and can't wait to read more. What a marvelous adventure!
KTtravel is online now  
Dec 21st, 2011, 12:59 PM
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In order to keep things interesting for the kids I used a suggestion I had read here, that they try to locate "the ugliest baby" depicted in the paintings. Perhaps I was not conveying a "high brow" approach to art>>

I never claimed to be high-brow, lisa!

but i'm glad that the "find the ugliest baby" competition came in handy.
annhig is offline  
Dec 21st, 2011, 03:18 PM
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to be honest it was my kids who spotted how ugly some of the babies were - i just made it into a game as a joke, which we kept up as we went round various galleries.

I find myself playing it even now, and still text them if I find a particularly gross example.

the disembodied babies' heads with wings attached used to freak them out too!
annhig is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2011, 10:52 AM
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Wonderful!
TDudette is offline  
Dec 25th, 2011, 01:00 PM
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lisa,

Awesome trip report - I am enjoying it so much! Thanks for coming back and doing this - I remember when you were planning your trip.

May I ask how much the mask-making class was? It sounds great.

Can't wait to hear more!
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Dec 28th, 2011, 07:31 PM
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I'm loving this trip report. My daughter and I will be going to Italy next year. Thank you so much!
viaggiatrice is offline  
Dec 31st, 2011, 07:17 AM
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This is fabulous.
TDudette is offline  
Dec 31st, 2011, 07:21 AM
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Very good report and it seems your three youngsters were being cooperative. You are daring to travel overseas with them. What did they especially enjoy so far? Maybe it was something insignificant? I don't see any discontent!
Ozarksbill is offline  

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