We woke up early and packed up to leave for our adventure to Venice. From the way Ronnie made it sound just getting there was going to be half the fun. First we picked up our car which was parked in a free handicapped spot right outside our hotel and our first obstacle came when we drove out of the spot down the street ( which pretty much looks like a sidewalk) and saw a huge stone planter in our way. It was pretty much a dead end but our American minivan is too big to make a u- turn so we just tried squeezing through the planter and the street signs into on coming traffic hoping not to get stuck or scratch the car. Somehow we made it. We drove an hour to the parking lot outside of Venice and had an interesting time trying to figure out which lot we should park in. There were lines of cars so it took us a while to get in and when we got there we were directed to the 8th floor of the parking lot. We parked and each took our bag out of the car ( 7 in total) and squeezed really tightly into the tiny elevator to get to the street because if we took 2 elevators it would have taken forever. We had to pile each suitcase one on top of another and put Olivia on top of them to fit. Thank goodness for the light weight bags ( except Teta's of course!- jut kidding- it really was a lot better than usual!) we walked across a bunch of streets making sure to walk right into on coming traffic at the crosswalks which is apparently the way it works in Europe. We made it through the crowds of people also walking towards the main boat station that the girls got a kick out of that it was like a bus station but for boats. Ronnie took a really long time figuring out what tickets we needed to buy for the next two days in order to get around and to understand the public bus- I mean boat schedule. Finally we rolled our suitcases to the boat station we thought would get us to our hotel which was on the Grand Canal. As Ronnie studied the schedule he realized the ticket guy gave him the wrong information and we were getting in the wrong boat. We schlepped off of that one and on to the correct one. We quickly realized that this was the way the locals travel as we got yelled at in Italian many times- first by the old ladies that we were sitting in seats reserved for the elderly, then by the crowds of people who were getting on and off the boats that we were in their way. After many crowds of people pushing in and out of our boat we made it to our hotel stop. It was so cool to step off the boat and be right at the front door if the hotel. Ronnie got his own personal entrance with a lift from the side that the hotel clerk taught us how to use. We are staying at hotel NH palazzo barocci which was just opened about one month ago. It is very Versace / modern Italian looking. We squeezed into another tiny elevator and brought our luggage up to the room. The view out our balcony of the grand canal is spectacular. We each grabbed a mini Lindt chocolate for lunch (that did not melt yet since Switzerland )(yes that was all we had for lunch) and ran to grab a boat headed for murano to see glass blowing. We had to change boats at one point to follow another boat line but the stop was over a bridge with lots of steps of course. This was our first experience carrying Ronnie over the bridges of Venice but it went pretty smoothly. We got on the next boat and made it to Murano. We kept asking the boat drivers if we had the proper directions and they were all very helpful. They were also helpful in getting Ronnie in and out of the step step onto the boats. At Murano we watched the glass blowers do their thing and walked through many little glass shops picking out cool souvenirs. At the first store Aida found a glass spider but was disappointed when we wouldn't spend 40-80€ on it but later on we found the same thing for 10€! Emma and Olivia picked tiny glass animals and Hannah a glass Teddy bear on a necklace. We admired some glass sculptures in the neighborhood and went on to catch the next vaporetto (city boat) to Burano- the island of lace. It was a long ride ( about 45 minutes) and we were starving by now- our only lunch being the tiny chocolate and stopped for gelato de arte. Next we went right to the first lace shop we saw that had the most precious baby clothes for baby Aida. Teta immediately started shopping for tablecloths and Emma and Olivia for lace parasols and lace fans. The town was so colorful and adorable. Each house a different bright color. We found a coloring book all about the secrets of Borrano and Olivia and I found out why the houses are so colorful, the history of the town and the lacemaking. There was a fisherman who came home from a long day of fishing and couldn't find his house as they were all grey and looked the same. He decided to paint his bright red and the next day the rest of the town thought it was a great idea and followed by each picking another beautiful bright color. The town began in 6th century when mainland Italians escaped from the Huns. The story of the lace goes that a fisherman who was betrothed didn't fall into the trance of the mermaids and as a reward the mermaid sprayed a froth of water that looked like beautiful lace. He brought it to his betrothed and she thought it so beautiful that she copied it for her veil and all the other woman decided to follow.
We headed back to the vaporetto when it was about to pour and just as another boat arrived Teta thought she forgot one of her table clothes in a store. We decided to go back and look for it and catch the next one in 20 minutes- we are still not sure what happened but it after checking the American Express activity it seems she never ended up buying it at all! At this point we missed our reservation at the kosher restaurant which we were desperately looking forward to due to the lack of lunch. Ronnie studied the vaporetto routes some more and designed a way for us to get to the kosher restaurant without walking bridges but it was a local route that took extra long. He also pleaded with the kosher restaurant over the phone to give us a table since we missed our reservation and they said it would be packed. The maître de said they would try when we got there. Eventually we made it without getting too wet and they finagled a tight table for us in the corner. We were starving but so far on this entire trip every outside activity was in the beautiful sunshine and the rainy parts were indoors with the exception of the opera after two hours....
So after a big delicious much needed meat meal we headed back to the hotel taking 2 vaporettos to the hotel. We were planning on getting sweatshirts and pants and going for a night time gondola ride but apparently they weren't running because of the rain. It didn't seem to be raining at the moment but I guess they shut down earlier. We got dressed to go and all got downstairs when we realized so we all went back up and got in pjs. Finally! Time for bed! We were forced to take three rooms because in Europe you pay by person not room so we had a bunch of extra beds. Aida basically had her own suite and Emma Olivia and Hannah all wanted to sleep with Teta in her room! This must be a real vacation for her!