For our second trip outside of the UK – and our first time ever on a plane, my lil’ Squidge and I took off for a girl’s adventure to the beautiful Venice!
Getting around Venice
It was surprisingly easy to get me, Squidge, the stroller, my backpack – and a (large) suitcase from Marco Polo airport to the island of Venice on the bus.
To get to our hotel (Bellini Venezia), we (I) had to climb the 106 steps of the Constitution Bridge (one of the three bridges which cross the Grand Canal)! Luckily enough, there were plenty of lovely people willing to lend a hand or two.
My Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) means that I can’t carry things that are too heavy. Wearing a baby carrier/backpack is a no-no for me.
The stairs and bridges…I was told, no – warned about the steps on the (over 400) bridges in Venice! The first few bridges that we crossed were pretty tricky. The first one was right outside our hotel (and is the second biggest bridge in Venice!
I would carry Squidge in one arm, while folding the stroller (I have the amazing BabyZen Yoyo), with the other hand and slinging a backpack on my back – for baby changing stuff, baby food and to carry souveniers etc. Then I scaled the stairs whilst carrying both Squidge and the stroller – and the backpack!
Soon enough, I realised that there was a better way!
On smaller bridges with 30 or less steps, I dragged the stroller up with Squidge in it, one step at a time.
On larger bridges, I asked someone to help (they always did). Luckily, the smaller bridges are fairly easy to master after the first few, so it wasn’t actually that bad after a while.
Travelling on the Grand Canal was a breeze! Before we left the UK, I was searching everywhere to see what they inside of the boats looked like (trying to figure out stroller space etc.). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything, so I was pretty happy when we got on the first boat and there was plenty of space for the stroller.
The time we were there (three days) we only needed to go on two trips on the Grand Canal.
There are 2 main water bus’s to use when travelling around Venice – the Vaporetto numbers 1 and 2.
We only used the number 2 (the main one). We walked everywhere else – Venice really IS as compact as everyone says!
Where to Stay: Locations and Hotels
If you are travelling on your own with a baby/toddler, I cannot exaggerate how much you should consider staying near the train or bus station (Piazzale Roma) at an easily accessible hotel or apartment!
It is much easier to travel across Venice with just baby, stroller or baby carrier and a backpack than to haul all of that with a suitcase across the whole island to a more fancy spot.
I initially looked at staying near San Marco Piazza (pretty much at the center of everything in Venice) but I’m EXTREMELY glad that I changed my mind and stayed on the edge of the island instead!! It was still quiet at night, so Squidge and I could sleep well, but much more easily-accessible than anywhere else.
Our hotel (Bellini Venezia – pic above) had a mini-bar fridge to keep sandwiches and fresh food in, and a kettle to boil for Squidge’s bottle (and mummy’s MUCH needed coffee after a hectic day!). They also provided the travel cot and bedding.
If you are staying at a hotel, it might be a good idea to pay the little bit extra for a larger room so your tot can run around and let off some steam while you get ready in the mornings etc.
* As I am giving an honest review of our Venetian holiday, I should mention this bit.
Although the hotel staff were amazing and the room was clean, comfortable and provided everything we needed, I was actually given the wrong room!!
I didn’t realise until I got home (because I was so excited to be in Venice at the time). Although I had paid almost £200 extra for a ‘Deluxe’ room (directly with the hotel), I was actually given a ‘Standard’ room!!
I did think that the room looked a little different to the one advertised. It did seem a bit smaller. I just I didn’t think to look until I got back to the UK.
I guess I learned my lesson the hard way :'(
EVERYONE was amazing in the restaurants and cafes that we visited!
One restaurant even said they would make “whatever I wanted” for Squidge at only a starter-meal price.
The restaurant that I settled on – and ate at on both nights, was called “Povoledo”. It was literally just 1 minute away from our hotel!
The staff were amazing and were super patient with Squidge.
Especially when she just wanted to throw everything on the floor a thousand times! They cleaned the lid of her bottle about 5 times in one night!
On our final night, they even gave me my dessert “on the house”!!
The only drawback about eating in Venice that I could possibly suggest would be accessibility with a pram.
Although the larger establishments had plenty of room, many of the local cafes in the back-streets are so small that we had to sit outside.
This was OK because the weather was nice, but would be miserable in the rain!.
Also, I needed to use the toilet at one cafe but the toilet was all the way upstairs.
…I must have really needed to go because I left our (pretty expensive) pram downstairs and took Squidge upstairs with me.
Luckily, the locals proved they could be trusted!
Overall though, everywhere was very happy to accommodate us both (and the stroller), and most places had high-chairs.
There are also some really lovely green parks where a little one can run around. The adults can chill and have a picnic in these parks too!
I even came across a playground at a place called Giardino Papadopoli park. It had a dedicated Children’s bookshop just around the corner. I can’t remember the name but I will update this if I remember it!
Lastly, I know you are probably thinking…”What about the Gondola’s?” Well, I decided that we would just wait until Squidge is a little bit older for that one. It costs around £90 for a ride. Also, I think I would have found it VERY hard for 30 minutes in a moving tiny boat with a wriggly toddler, .
Buuuuuut…I did catch a very cute (and really funny) performance of a Gondola singer on VIDEO!
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