A Surprise Birthday Weekend in Venice

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that we spent a long weekend in Venice at the start of this month.  I can’t tell you how hard it was to keep my mouth shut about our adventure as it had been planned for months but was a secret!  The last few weeks before our trip I found myself double checking everything I posted and constantly worrying that I was going to let the cat out of the bag!

Mum celebrated a special birthday this month and having decided she didn’t want to have a party, Dad went all out on planning a long weekend of surprises culminating in a bucket list trip on the Orient Express to Venice.  The biggest surprise of them all though was that when Mum and Dad got off the train in Venice – Dave, Nic and I were on the platform waiting for them!

You might have seen that we had fake celebrated Amy’s birthday a week early?  The main reason for this was that her birthday is actually the day after Mum’s so our little jaunt to Venice meant we would actually be away for most of her birthday.  Obviously under normal circumstances I would never choose to be away on my child’s birthday but as I said, it was a special birthday and I wasn’t in charge of the plans.  Celebrating Amy’s birthday early not only alleviated the #mumguilt but also meant that we were able to celebrate Mum’s birthday with her too.  (Mum knew that she would be away on her birthday and it would have been strange if we hadn’t made any other plans to celebrate with her and with Amy knowing full well that her birthday is the day after Mum’s she wouldn’t have understood why Granny hadn’t had her birthday yet?!)

So, back to Venice . . .

After a stupidly early start and a breakfast flight from Gatwick, we landed in Venice just before lunch time and took a “bus” over to the main part of the city.  It was the middle of the afternoon by the time we’d made it to our super central apartment, picked up a few groceries (basically wine, milk and cereal – priorities . . .) and got ourselves settled.

Mum & Dad weren’t due to arrive in Venice until early evening so Nic, Dave and I set out to explore – which basically meant we walked in the direction of the train station via some very pretty streets and some pizza!  As the time to meet Mum and Dad got closer, Nic and I started to get more nervous, what if we missed them when they got off the train? what if Mum wasn’t actually pleased to see us?  . . .

Luckily our fears were unfounded, we managed to stand in pretty much just the right place on the platform, Dad saw us as soon as he got off the train but Mum didn’t, so we were able to sneak right up on her – I had to say her name otherwise she’d have walked right on past.  Of course there was lots of laughter, hugs and tears as she got over the shock of us being there and some lovely smiles from other passengers who Dad had clearly filled in on the surprise during the trip!

The weekend was filled with wine, pizza, pasta shopping and a whole lot of fun.  I only took a handful of photos (by which I mean about 100 instead of 700) – which took some restraint I can tell you.  I’d have snapped away all weekend given half the chance.  Venice is such a beautiful city, and so different to anywhere else I’ve ever been.

We walked the equivalent of a marathon over the three days we were there and even paddled in St Mark’s Square . . .

We had expected the weekend to be really expensive but I don’t think any of us thought that the prices of food, drink or general shopping was bad at all, we rarely seemed to pay more than we would have expected to at home.  (Unless you wanted a gin & tonic and then the price was astronomical – for some reason it was classed as a “cocktail” and charged at around 10 – 15 euros . . . unsurprisingly I drank other things instead!)

Mum and Dad have been to Venice several times now and Mum would tell you it’s one of their favourite cities in the world.  I can totally see why.  So often when you’re visiting a big city it just feels the same as everywhere else – but with it’s narrow little streets, immense canal network and more bridges than I cared to count – Venice is in a league of it’s own.

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