Friday, October 1, 2004
We got up early to catch the train, well as early as we could manage that is. I’d heard from other people that what worked for them was to go out, sightsee, have lunch in a restaurant, return home around 2:00 so the kids could nap, and then go out in the evening. Our pattern was more like get out of the house by 10:00, get to a place by 11:30 or so, see one thing, eat lunch, sightsee and exhaust the kids, leave the place by 4:00 or 5:00, letting the kids nap a bit in the car, then going home and getting them to bed by 8:00. Anyway, today we managed to get out of the house by 9:00 which was a major feat. We walked along the race course and decided that considering that the bike race was really screwing up our plans we should at least see some of it. We hung out for a short while and saw the women competing that day. It was cool and I’m glad we waited, even though it meant we cut it extremely close to catch our train. When we got to the train station there was a Eurostar to Venice departing in six minutes and the line was huge. I tried the electronic kiosk while Mark stood in line and my frantic pushing of buttons worked–I got us two first class tickets (maybe second class would have been better, but I was too rushed to be picky) on the train departing in two minutes. Run run run to the binario and get on the train in the nick of time. The business people in first class weren’t thrilled with our family, but what can we do? Once in Venice we promptly got really and seriously lost and Mark ducked into an interesting-looking alley and neglected to duck back out again. Usually he knows where he’s going but this time he didn’t. It would have been fine, we got to see the local side of Venice (and Genevieve found a balloon), except it was close to lunchtime and what we really needed to find was a restaurant. We finally got back on the main drag and found a restaurant where Charlotte got lots of attention because she made a super big mess eating her spaghetti. The waiter, as you might expect, was not as enthralled…. After lunch we stopped at a great glass store where I got a couple of clocks and a vase. It’s interesting shopping with kids (especially in a glass store): basically you rush in, point frantically at stuff, and hope when you get home it’s really what you wanted. After that we continued on to St. Mark’s so the kids could feed the pigeons. It was very crowded with tons of American tourists (most of the places we’d been hadn’t had many) and they were filming a movie. Kind of funny, ’cause the last time we were there eight years ago they were also filming a movie. The kids enjoyed feeding the pigeons although they are so aggressive in St. Mark’s they kind of freaked me out. A couple of times one landed on my head, and one boy was laying on the ground and letting them completely cover him. Eeeewwww. We were still on a quest to find a Traghetto, which is a large gondola-type boat that crosses the canal and allows kids a taste of the gondola ride at a much lower price than the $80.00 or so you pay for a 45-minute gondola ride. No luck, and it was getting late and the kids were getting tired (and the parents were also getting tired of bumping the strollers up and down the steps on all of those bridges), so we talked Genevieve into taking the Vaporetto (water bus) instead. Unfortunately, she was a bit disappointed because she really wanted to ride a gondola and I felt guilty for not letting her but then I reminded myself that a 3.5 year old does not need a $80.00 boat ride. Limits! We went back to the train station and bought our return tickets, and then with our remaining time bought some glass jewelry (bracelets for the girls, Genevieve won’t wear hers but Charlotte LOVES hers, she’s going to be such a girly-girl) and gelato, and watched a street performer. Our trip home was uneventful (second class this time as we had more time to make our choices). We got to the train station so late that we just got the kids happy meals at the McDonalds there and Charlotte fell asleep in the stroller on the way home with a chicken nugget still in her hand. A great day!