Venezia! I’ve been there a few times before and each time not only love the uniqueness of it, but something new seems to happen every time I go. This time, it was the flooding of the streets! While we were able to avoid most of the flooding into the streets, it was still rather wet all around and they even had the planks around on standby just in case. The second night I spent there we were all woken up at 3:45 by the flood warning siren, joy!! I adore San Marco’s Square, as well as the church in the square with the most unique multicolored marbled columns and warped mosaic floor! I adore how a city built hundreds of years ago on water is still standing today! I adore its romantic history rich with courtesans, beautiful gowns and Carnival!
Carnival in Venice!
Venice Street Life
This trip was unique for me however as it really wasn’t as much for me as it was for my family… Specifically my mom and dad:) You see, each hit a major birthday milestone this year (70 & 75) so my two brothers, sister and I all chipped in to do something a little extra special for them. My mom was the one who actually found the trip: a 7 night cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean “Splendour of the Seas” leaving from Venice, Italy with port calls to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Ephesus, Turkey; Santorini, Greece and Katakolon, Greece. My mom obviously knew all of this information, however my dad was only told that the family had chipped in for a birthday cruise for only him and I to go on. He had no idea that my sister and mom would be joining too…
Love the Canals
On the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal
For almost 3 months prior to leaving for the cruise my mom, sister and I exchanged probably about a hundred emails going over details and how we were going to spring the surprise on my dad. There was a ton of confusion at first because the website for Royal Caribbean is absolutely bonkers!! You would think that they would get it together and create a site that actually works!! But no… It seemed that just about every day for almost a straight month something was wrong with our reservation because of that idiotic site. But thanks to some nice customer service operators, things smoothed out well.
Zoom on Gondolas
The Rialto Bridge
Symbol of Venice (Winged Lion)
So the plan was for my dad and I to go to Treviso (where he has a cousin) and stay with them for a couple nights. Then he and I would go to Venice where we would stay overnight the night before having to board the cruise. My mom and sister were to arrive in Venice mid-afternoon) from the States the day before the cruise as well. Then they were going to meet us “randomly” at a restaurant (one we would pick in advance so I could be sure that my dad and I would be there) and the surprise would be revealed:)
That’s how it was supposed to go… Now how it REALLY went is as follows: My dad and I did go to Treviso to see family and were dropped off in Venice mid-afternoon. Now, the WiFi in the family’s place wasn’t quite all there all the time… At some point in the morning before leaving for Venice I just happened to refresh my email and suddenly several emails showed up saying “flight was delayed”; “stuck in Heathrow”; “missed flight due to idiotic security people at Heathrow”; “trying to leave from Gatwick”; “hope to take the 4pm flight out”…
Flooding in the Streets
Planks for Street Flooding
Grand Canal on Sunny Day
San Marco Square Church
At this point I’m a bit panicked… I’m the only one who knows they are coming, so I can’t say anything to my dad about them being off track… They are supposed to be a surprise… But now I’m a bit worried because I can’t contact them… I checked the airport site but had no luck with any information there…
We got to Venice where my first move was to get my tablet hooked to the WiFi so I could search for any updates… Nothing, nil, zilch… I still have to play it cool however so I spend the rest of the afternoon acting as if all is well (when really I’m a bit worried on what to do in case they didn’t show, lol!) strolling around beautiful Venice with my dad. We walked quite a bit and opted to take a canal taxi back to the hotel.
So many different colors of Marble!
Floor inside Church
Warped Mosaic Floor
Once there, we started to get ready to go out for dinner. I shot off a quick email to my sister and mom, hoping they would get it, about where we were planning to go. At this point I still hadn’t heard whether they had even made it on the 4pm flight to Venice! Before heading out for dinner, I even filled in the hotel receptionist on what was going on in case my sister and mom stopped by there!
So off to dinner we went… It was about 8pm at this point, and though Italian meals tend to take a bit of time, I was purposefully trying to drag this dinner out as long as possible. 9pm rolled around… “sure I’ll have another beer”… 9:30 came about… “Dessert? Why not?”… almost 10pm was upon us…
San Marco Square_3
San Marco Square_4
San Marco Square_5
At this point I was already out of reasons to stay any longer AND I was starting to wonder if they had made that 4pm flight after all?? For, if they had, then certainly they would have been in Venice and would have been able to make it to the restaurant by now! I thought that I better not drag dinner out any more, but rather I’d better get to my email to see what’s going on…
Just as I went to walk out the door with my dad behind me, my sister came walking in the door!! We saw each other, our eyes widened and we immediately did an about-face, her out the door, and me toward my dad so I could try to shield him from seeing her, lol!! Unfortunately he just happened to see her face as she was coming in and the gig was up!! She came back in (on her own as my mom was hiding around the corner as a second surprise) to greet my dad and all the details started to come out as to why she was there. Then my sister said “you wouldn’t believe the day WE’VE had getting here”… We??? my dad asked… Who’s we??? Lol!! Ooopppss!! So out the door we went and my mom came out of hiding, lol!!
On the way to Jail
So while it wasn’t exactly how we had planned the surprise, it was still a great surprise for my dad nonetheless:) My dad said after the surprise that he had been feeling tired from dinner, but was now very wide awake, lol! I’m just glad my sister and mom made it!!
In any event, the next day we all boarded the ship and waved goodbye to Venice as we headed out to sea.
View from Water Taxi
View from Water Taxi_2
By the way, I do have to make a mention about Hotel Canal in Venice… It’s located just across the street from the train station and both times I stayed there it was a very pleasant experience! The staff were beyond accommodating, the location was unbeatable in my book, the rooms were very spacious (both times we ended up with a room that faced directly on the Canal) and while it could probably use a tiny facelift, I really enjoyed its old style Venetian charms:)
View from Hotel Canal
On to Dubrovnik
Back to Europe