They checked ID (passports) at checkin, but then nothing when we arrived in Italy. We got to walk through the Schengen arrival doors, so no customs since we were flying from within the Schengen area. Cool! I think this was a bingo item for Venice.
Side note: Chris was signed a seat in a different row than us. But, just before take-off, he asked to change to an open seat and was able to join us. Just weird. The entire row in front of the kids was empty and the seat next to me was empty. And yet, Chris was signed a seat a few rows up next to a mom with an unhappy baby. He got to sit with his family, and the mom had more room to move with her baby. Win-win!
|Ready! Set! Arrived!|
We checked into the hotel and left our bags (too early to get into the room), and went out to find lunch. This restaurant was just something to tide us over, so nothing special. We did find out something interesting about the bathrooms here. It is typical to have a door to the bathrooms open into a small sink area. Then, there are two doors, one for women and one for men. Doesn't sound odd. But the sink area is small and it is sometimes awkward to be sharing space with the opposite sex when you are used to having a lot of space alone. The first one had frilly mirrors and girls primping, so if you're a dude, you have to walk by them and into your bathroom stall, just inches away. Not horrible, just different. After a few uses, I got used to the idea and, really, I didn't bump into anyone in all that time... it was mostly just the anticipation that kept me on my toes.
|Clock tower (left). Government building (middle-left). |
The kids playing in a giant water puddle (middle-right). The left-front of the Basilica (right).
We had no real plans for today. Just to walk about and take it all in. We headed to the water's edge at the port. The kids stuck their feet into the water there. The beauty of the place definitely takes a little weight out of the heat.
|View from our balcony at the "Starhotel Splendid Venice" hotel (left and middle)|
Venice, pretending to think the bidet was a water fountain (right)
Side note: The electrical plugs are NOT the same as in Germany. What? But don't panic, Chris brought one universal-converter and we were able to share that one to recharge all our devices. Phew! We didn't bring laptops, but boy, we needed our phones (for navigation and communication) and the kids NEEDED their iPods to be charged! We scraped by with the shared converter. It just meant that the kids had to leave their iPods to charge in the room during the day, so they couldn't take them out to take photos of their own. Lesson learned. May need more universal-converters for other travels in the future.
As much as we wanted to rest and not do much (we were all tired from an early start), we decided we must walk to the other side of the island to meet Alessandro, one of HotelTonight's hotel-side correspondents. He grew up in Murano and has now lived in Venice for many, many years. He works with the Hotel Antiche Figure on the Ferrovia side of Venice and LOVES his city. He loves to share his knowledge of its history and ideas of where to visit.
|Kids and map (left), Chris and Alessandro (middle), Kids walking (right)|
Alessandro had sent other clients to the same restaurant (clients who were staying at his hotel) and they sat right next to us. They were ending their 2 week trip (a New Jersey family with three grown daughters). As we talked about their trip, our trip, and other niceties, Venice and Xander (but Venice in particular) were super tired and ready to go back to the hotel for some good rest.
Side note: I am now remembering how long the Italians like to eat (or enjoy each other's company at the table). You get service and food very fast, but it takes about a year to get the bill. EVERY TIME we have to say, "Il conto per favore". And even that takes a while.
As a result, no kid brushed their teeth tonight. It was straight to bed with those sleepyheads.