To celebrate my wife’s birthday we took a 4 day trip to Venice. The slight complication is that we have a 16 month old daughter, Jasmine, and Venice is not renowned for being very conducive to young children.
We live in St Albans and it has a direct train link to Gatwick Airport. This can be very handy. The trip took place pretty much at the height of the security alerts so any liquids etc. were not allowed on the plane. Fortunately the flight was only 2 hours so there was no need for anything specific for Jasmine.
Jasmine didn’t have her own seat booked so she was due to sit on our laps for the flight out. Fortunately the flight wasn’t full so were able to use the free seat next to us.
On arrival in Venice we took the water bus to San Marco. Fortunately Jasmine was reasonably well behaved and didn’t cause too much disruption on the hour long crossing.
Now to Venice itself, and all the bridges. We came prepared with two ways to transport Jasmine around. We had a reasonably lightweight collapsible stroller and we also borrowed a rucksack style baby carrier from some friends. We used both during the holiday.
We did a walking tour on the second day. This lasted about two and a half hours and gave us a good chance to try out the rucksack approach. Jasmine enjoyed her time in the rucksack however she normally sleeps at the time of day when the tour took place and she found it difficult to get comfortable. The rucksack we borrowed didn’t have a cushion, like a lot of other models, so she found it difficult to get her head comfortable.
The actual rucksack itself worked well and we split the carrying between my wife and myself. At the St Marks Basilica we elected to leave it with the other rucksacks rather than risk being turned back at the door and carried Jasmine.
The rest of the trip we used the stroller and if there are two people then that works fine. You get to know the best routes between places not by distance but by the number of bridges and how easy the steps are to navigate.
At the end of day you end up with arms like Popeye but you do get into a routine of lifting the stroller whenever you come to a bridge. Do watch out for people who have no idea that carrying a stroller is heavy and just stop where you want to go.
The hotel we stayed at, the Casa Verardo, was fantastic and I would thoroughly recommend it. It is less than 5 minutes walk from St Marks Square – and only 2 bridges! The staff were helpful to the extreme. Jasmine loved the room and for some reason got very excited every time we were in it.
It does have a couple of electrical sockets at baby height so you will need to keep an eye on your little one but by careful movement of furniture these can be made much more inaccessible.
There was no kettle in the room so we had to call reception each time to get hot water but they were more than willing to bring up a teapot of hot water to make the milk.
We did a boat trip on the Grand Canal and again this was fine for toddlers. It was run by the same company that did the walking tour and was a chartered water taxi. This meant there was a covered area and an outside area which meant we could take Jasmine inside when she became restless. There was never any risk of her going for a swim in the canal.
We did give the gondola ride a miss. You could probably do it but you would end up spending a lot of time keeping an eye/hold on your little one.
So after a lot of walking and carrying strollers it was all over and it was back to the UK.
Did the trip work? Yes it did. I learnt that Venice and toddlers can mix and also if you need a good work out you don’t necessarily need to go to a gym (although it would probably be cheaper).