Last week I posted Part 1 of our family trip to Venice, a trip that I never dreamed we would be able to successfully pull off with a 4 and 5 year old! As it happened, and despite a lot of travelling about (we were in Venice for 2 days before heading over to our Eurocamp site in Ca Savio) and the heat, we had a brilliant time. Venice is easily up there as one of my favourite cities in the world, and whilst I usually like to see somewhere and then ‘move on’ to try somewhere new over the following years, I don’t think I could ever get bored of Venice and all it has to offer.
I left the last post writing about our first day and evening in Venice, where we were staying at the Palazzo Guardi Hotel, near Accademia Bridge. The following day we still had a fair bit we wanted to cover before catching the water ferry to our campsite, albiet at a fairly leisurely pace with young children (one of the joys of Venice is that everything seems to be done at a leisurely pace!). We also wanted to do a little site-seeing and a couple of ‘grown up’ things, but mindful of the children, the heat and their enjoyment too.
After a decent buffet breakfast and checking out of the hotel (thankfully we could leave our luggage there until the afternoon), we headed out by 9.30am to beat the heat and find a gondola ride, which Freddie and Sasha were ridiculously excited about! Gondolas in Venice seem to be at set prices, although it’s a little cheaper to ride one during the day as opposed to night time (what we did on our honeymoon). We paid 80 Euros for all for us that morning, where as it was 100 Euros for a nighttime ride last year for just Adam and myself.
Hopping in the boat was a little wobbly, although the children didn’t seem particularly fazed by this (unlike their mother!), and sat either side of the boat the keep it weighted properly, where as Adam and I sat at the back. I’m glad we went early doors as even by 9.30am we could already feel the heat building, and didn’t want the children to burn. During the day the majority of Venice isn’t blazing hot, as the little shady streets and pathways help keep things cool.
And we’re off! I know there’s some gondola spam here, but I wanted to show just what amazing sites you can see on a gondola ride, and even at age 4 and 5 the children were glued to the front of the boat and where we were going next.
Such beautiful sites- I could never get bored of Venetian architecture and the colours of the buildings- it’s opened up a whole new interest for me!
A gondola ‘factory’- well they’ve got to make them somewhere haven’t they?!
A pretty decent (and rare!) photo of us both taken by Sasha on the old Olympus Pen- once her hands get bigger I think she’ll be quite the photographer, although she was making me nervous wanting to ‘borrow’ it all the time whilst on the boat…
Our gondolier is the 3rd generation of his family to work in the profession and he’d been doing it for 40 years himself. The boat we were on belonged to his Grandad, so pretty old! He was great, spoke brilliant English, and pointed out lots of interesting sites along the way.
80 Euros might seem a lot but I think if you make the effort to go to Venice you have to budget for a trip on a gondola. It was a highlight of Venice for F and S, but i’ll be realistic and say that in true 5 year old fashion, near the end of our half hour trip Freddie asked if it would be finished soon because he would like a snack *eye roll emoji*
I think the key to a fun trip somewhere like this with kids is to do what you would like to do, encourage them to look at the sites “how many stripey pole things can we spot?!”, don’t expect too much from them and have lots of ice cream stops- then everyone is happy!
Which is funnily enough what we did post-gondola trip, when we took a long stroll from Accademia to Rialto via an ice cream parlour. I can never get enough of a pistachio cone, although funnily enough it’s only abroad that I seem to have a craving for them!
Sans children I could just wander around all day snapping away with my camera, as there are so many lovely photo ops, and again, THOSE BUILDINGS *sigh* I didn’t take any photos of Rialto Bridge this year, as they are STILL doing work to it over a year on (told you things move slowly here) and to be honest it’s a very busy part of Venice anyway so not ideal to dither with young children on the bridge for a photo.
Instead we stopped off at a favourite cafe-come-restaurant right near the bridge for coffee, water and fresh apple juices. Here was where Adam and I spent several hours of our honeymoon eating pizza, drinking red wine, reading the papers and generally watching the world go by. Okay, so it was a little different with the children this time, but a beautiful view all the same!
I love this photo of me and my little lady, and also these fab outdoor lanterns- would LOVE these for the garden at home, although not sure we could recreate Venice in SE London…
The children needed the sit down, before we headed back to our hotel to pick up our bags for the next leg of our journey. We were catching the water bus from Accademia to S. Zaccaria, and then from Pier A there to Punta Sabbioni, which is approx 5km from Ca Savio and our Eurocamp site (I think I will do a short, stand alone post on the logistics of getting around Venice and then to Ca Savio and beyond, as when we were researching there was nothing which simply explained the journey).
We mainly wanted to use public transport to save some money, as water taxis are very expensive, and also because we wanted to get an authentic travelling experience. Freddie and Sasha were troopers, as we were trekking to catch our water ferry at the hottest part of the day, and we made sure we stocked up with a few big bottles of water for all of us.
The water ferry is a pleasingly pocket-friendly 7 euros from S.Zaccaria to Punta Sabbioni, and takes 34 minutes. Whilst I love the Italians and most are very friendly, don’t expect much common courtesy when travelling with small children- people will fight you for seats on the water bus even if you’re clearly juggling bags/little ones, and on our water ferry the children ended up sitting on our suitcases whilst fit young men hogged the ‘priority seats’ clearly marked for elderly/pregnant/little children. Makes the tube in rush hour look civilised! A real life and blurry snap above shows where Ipads came into play for our hot and bothered little ones after they’d checked out the gorgeous views…
Once we’d docked in Punta Sabbioni, we found the correct bus right near the pier (there is a glaringly obvious little bus station), and several buses were clearly marked that travelled to our final destination, Ca Savio. We hopped off after literally 5 minutes in the centre of Ca Savio town, and then walked the final 10 minutes to the well signposted ‘Ca Savio Campsite’.
Now for the next part of our Italian adventure- our Eurocamp break in Ca Savio!
I hadn’t quite realised how much they charged for a gondola, but I’m with you that it’s a total must-do if you’re visiting Venice, surely. And yes, you are incredibly brave letting Sasha borrow your camera on a BOAT – I’d be having heart palpations I think.
It was a bit hairy, haha!