Easier said than done, of course, since the French trains were on strike (what's new) and even though they could get out of London on the Eurostar, they couldn't leave Paris. The Lyon airport was still open at this time and we suggested catching a flight from Lyon to Rome. While all of this was going on, the boys were informed that the London airport would open the next morning and that there was no need for any provisional plans. Perfect - vacation was still on! Back on that is until Saturday morning.
While Cornel and I were out on the town we received a phone call from the boys in London. We thought it was to tell us that they were on their way to Rome - but alas we were wrong. The airport was still shut down and they needed a way out of London. They had purchased their Eurostar tickets to Paris and needed help finding a way out of Paris. We rushed home and began the frantic search on the Internet and on the phones. We searched every which way cars, trains (which were still on strike) and bus and there was no way out! We searched until close to midnight and finally they boys had decided to cancel their trip to Italy. I was devastated. I really wanted Nathan to meet his uncles, I really wanted to see Nate and Brent, who are practically family, and I really wanted to go back to Italy. I went to bed heartbroken.
Sunday morning after breakfast Cornel suggested going up to Paris to meet up with the boys. If anything we would get to spend an afternoon with them in Paris. I decided to do one more internet search - SUCCESS! I had found them a way out of Paris to Geneva, and then Geneva to Venice. Perfect! I called the boys and let them know - we booked the trains and the vacation was officially back on!!
It was rather nostalgic since Cornel and I had taken the very same journey 3 years ago when we had just began dating. It was emotional to be there with Nathan. We stopped at "our" gas station, right before the Frejus Tunnel (the tunnel that separates Italy and France) for a quick breakfast. The views of the Alps from here are amazing.
Then it was time to meet up with the boys! I was very excited for Nathan to meet his uncles, however, in the excitement of it all, I took no pictures. We started catching up and it was like nothing had changed.
After a few drinks, it was time to head out and grab a bite to eat. We decided to head out to San Marco to try and find a nice terrace to enjoy the nice weather.
After a delicious dinner, we decided to call it a night since we had all had long trips into Venice. The next day, while the boys were sleeping, Cornel, Nathan and I decided to take advantage of our morning. The one thing I have always wanted to do, was take a Gondola ride. I know that it is very expensive and kind of a tourist trap, but seriously, who knows when I would have had a chance again. So, that is exactly what we did, we grabbed on to Nathan and took him on our very first Gondola ride.
Not only was this exciting because it was Nathan's first gondola ride, but also because it was his first ride on a boat (if you don't count the water taxi that is). He had a great time smiling and making conversations with the gondolas that passed us by.
I think he was the hit of the canal. I have to admit that even though it is a little pricy (about 75 euros per person) it is the best way to see Venice. You truly get to see the city in a different light, and you get to see all of the things there are to see in a short time. I definitely recommend if it is your first trip to Venice.
After the excitement of the gondola ride, we decided to stop in and have a coffee (a cappuccino for me) at the Piazza San Marco. We sat down at the Cafe Florian, the oldest cafe in Venice. It has a very nice orchestra that plays music all day and night.
Afterwards we met up with the boys, and decided to take a tour of the basilica. It is a very beautiful byzantine style church. Afterwards, the boys went up the stairs to enjoy the view of the bronze horses that adorn the top of the cathedral. Since we had the baby, we decided to skip the tour and decided to wait on the ground. We did have fun taking pictures of each other.
We then took a walking tour of Venice. We made our way down to Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal. On the way we took a pit stop in order for Nathan to meet Pinocchio. Venice is where Carlo Goldoni wrote the story of Pinocchio and I really wanted to have a little souvenir of the occasion.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying some great food (entirely too much pizza and pasta), some great wine and got to spend time with great friends and of course each other.