This month we took a week’s holiday in Italy. We traveled with the T family, Alan and Megan and their 6 month-old son Jackson. We had a wonderful trip. We are already talking about when we can go back to Italy and where we will travel with the Ts next.
We flew out on a Sunday from London Gatwick to Venice. The Venice airport is on the mainland just a few miles across the lagoon from Venice, and we took an hour-long ‘water bus’ ride. The vaporetto sits very low in the water – so that you look out the windows essentially at the waterline. The water is relatively rough – so overall the experience would be no fun for anyone prone to motion sickness (take note Margie and Robbie;-)) Our ride ended at a small dock very near our hotel. The boys were ready and looking for action!
Venice is a manmade ‘island’ in a lagoon off the east coast of Italy. But, you can maybe more accurately think of it as a collection of dozens of small islands that were constructed higgledy-piggledy, that eventually formed what we now think of as Venice. This means there are hundreds of little bridges crossing the canals to connect the city together. This presents a unique landscape, and a challenge for people with luggage and/or babies.
Wheels are great when you have something heavy or want to sit something down. We have a heavy little guy (21lbs by the time we got him home), so the stroller was very useful, especially for my pregnant self. It was probably even more useful as a pseudo high-chair and cot for naps – so if we were going out to eat the stroller was the preferred conveyance. It was a bit fiddley at the stairs, but if you were only 3-4 bridges away it was totally worth it.
Wheels though are a liability when you want to move quickly over uneven terrain. Backpacks or carriers are a fabulous way to tour around Venice with a little one, making it so much more fun to head off down quiet alleys and explore where they might lead. Jackson weighs about 5 or so pounds less than Simon – so much more manageable for long periods. They chose to use it more than we did with Simon, but we both found them very useful.
So – in the age-old debate of ‘backpack or stroller in Venice?’ we say take both. You will have times when one or the other is better (meals, exploring, flooding, fussy, sleepy) and we all thought we were best off with the extra bulk of having both available.