Alix and I had an advantage being the family's designated "take a different flight" pair...we had a non-stop flight to Venice and arrived a few hours ahead of the rest of our loony bunch.
Now, when you fly into Venice (oh, doesn't THAT sound jaded.....) you can't just hop into a regular wheeled taxi to head to your hotel....you have to take a WATER taxi!
We were in a procession of water taxis heading into Venice.
And the trip into the floating city is MAGICAL.
We threaded through canals, under the Rialto Bridge and onto the Grand Canal before taking a series of one-way canals to Crystal's pre-cruise hotel, the Bauer.
We stayed there before our 2007 Summer Family Cruise and it was just as welcoming as before. It's a perfect location- the outdoor restaurant and patio bar area face the Grand Canal just as it intersects with the Canale della Guidecca. It's only a two minute walk to St. Mark's Square and about a 10 minute walk to the Rialto Bridge.
We stored our luggage as the rooms weren't ready and took off on a mission to get lost.
Well, first we had a nibble and our first glass of vacation wine! (Hey, it was 10:30--and.....well.... remember that Alix is LEGAL in Europe!!)
We ruled out Cafe Florian, even though their Dixieland Jazz was enticing.
We went around the corner across from the Doge's Palace to Gran Caffe Chioggia.
Then a little sight seeing....the Bridge of Sighs.
It was beginning to get crowded, even for Sunday morning, so we began to wander. The beauty of Venice is that you really can't get lost. At almost every street corner, there is a sign pointing to either the Piazza San Marco or the Rialto. So wandering and window shopping is quite fun. And look what we wandered into!
Now, even this dyed-in-the-wool Formula 1 Red Bull fan couldn't resist the lure of the Ferrari store.
We had our photos taken next to Michael Schumacher's 2002 F1 car.
She was all smiles.... I was pleased as punch.
What a exquisite work of art. (No one but a possessesed F1 fan will understand that comment.....but then....what can I do????)
Traffic jam. Venice-style.
Then back to the Bauer to sit on their sun-drenched patio and wait for the rest of the family to arrive!