Day 8 was a travel day. We slept in and got some much needed rest and then packed up for our flight to Milan. Flying around Europe is both easy and cheap. With discount airlines like Ryan Air and Easy Jet, the bigger airlines have been forced to compete in a very crowded European market. Our Lufthansa flight from Prague was only $38 and they also didn’t charge us for our checked bags and gave us lunch. Makes you really wonder about US airlines. We landed in Milan and rented our car, a supposed 5 passenger with luggage space for 4. Because our oldest daughter and her husband flew to Paris we only had 4 of us and figured a smaller car would work just fine. It did, but it was a tight fit. On our way to Venice we stopped off in Verona where the story of Romeo and Juliet was set, but the tomb of Juliet was closed, so we had to settle for a few pictures through the gate.
We were also hungry and so our first meal in Italy was Mexican. We found a great little Mexican restaurant on the corner and it sounded good to everyone, so viva la Italiano. We arrived at our hotel, the Hotel Piave in Mestre late and had the wonderful surprise of an upgrade to a Jr. Suite at no additional charge. The Hotel Piave is located near the centre of Mestre and was very close to a bus stop that could take us into Venice. We prefer to stay in Mestre because the prices are much better than in Venice. This was a quaint older hotel but very clean and well maintained. 1.20 Euro gets you into Venice by bus and from there you can explore until your hearts content.
Day 9 was spent both in Venice and Murano. Venice is such a romantic city. Michelle and I will really have to come back just the two of us. We were told that Venice is really struggling for money, which surprised me because it was packed with tourists. But I guess they are still coming but not spending as much while there so it seemed like the whole city was on sale. In fact, we write in our book, Have Kids – Will Travel that it is best to wait to buy Murano glass items until you go the island of Murano. But this time around Venice had as good if not better prices on many of the items we wanted. I think we took a little too much advantage of the low prices while walking around today.
Getting around is easy. You can wind your way through the narrow passageways, which is my favorite way or you can take the waterbuses. We did a little of both, but I think we did more walking than riding, or at least that is what my feet were telling me when we were done. We stayed all day and had a wonderful dinner nearby the Rialto Bridge. A good note to remember, if you buy you food to go in Italy, it is one price. If you sit and eat at the same place it will cost more, but keep in mind that does include the tip. After a long day of walking in new sandals, it was well worth the small extra price to sit.
Tonight we enjoy the comfort of our room and tomorrow we head to Florence. We are staying just outside of Florence in Capazzana. This is where we stayed on our frist trip to Italy. It will be good to renew old friendships and just relax among the vineyards and olive groves.