It was a long and exhausting drive from the Austrian Alps to Venice, mostly, because it was dark the entire 4 hour drive, but we made it to the Vaporetto station at 9 that evening and managed to get into our lovely little Airbnb and get Louis to bed before midnight! Waking up in Venice was absolutely stunning. The light was INCREDIBLE. The sky was clear blue but the light was soft and the city was illuminated with a rosy glow.
We stayed in a lovely Airbnb apartment with 2 bedrooms, a quirky Italian bathroom complete with a washing machine I couldn’t make sense of, a full kitchen and a huge terrace. Enjoying a cup of coffee and soaking in the early morning light and sounds on that terrace are what my dreams are made of. You could sit back and enjoy the rosy glow on the buildings or gaze over the edge and see the city awaken.
Louis has a book about Venice so he knew about some of the famous locations and definitely about the pigeon situation. So upon arriving in San Marco’s square, he enjoyed several vigorous sessions of chase with the pigeons and a lovely hot chocolate while we had coffees.
Sitting in the early morning San Marco sunlight, steam drifting out of our cups is a memory I won’t soon forget.
We spent our day soaking in the architecture and the limited tourists (December is definitely a great time to go). Having a small child in tow, we knew that Venice would be lots of walking and wandering and just being in the city, which is what we did. We didn't have plans for lunch or sights to see, but the city is so walkable that it was easy to just stroll and find a lovely spot to eat or beautiful architecture or art to enjoy.
We enjoyed an amazing lunch in a little piazza where Louis was able to chase the pigeons and try to lure the stray cats. We enjoyed some absolutely AMAZING food in this town, all of which we found just by coming across restaurants and checking their google reviews. There are definitely tourist traps, but just the appearance of a restaurant and their clientele, combined with verified reviews, allowed us to easily chose delicious morning pastries and espresso, cuttlefish pasta and carafes of house red wine, and of course a little gelato.
The following morning we woke to rain and mist and a beautiful Italian mass celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception at Santa Maria Glorisia dei Frari church. We enjoyed one final pizza and lugged our suitcases through the misty city to the vaporetto for one final ride down the canal.
Our next stop was the lovely little Austrian town of Villach, which was a drive of only a few hours. We were back in the cold and snow and mountains and we spent the evening drinking gluhwein, strolling through another market and feasting on Knödel. Tommy was able to catch up with his cousin, while I headed back to our hotel for a relax evening of Austrian beer and reading. On our final day, we woke up to another Austrian winter wonderland (which never gets old for me) to enjoy before driving back to Vienna, where we were greeted by brisk cold winds and a very whiny four year old. Unfortunately, due to our late arrival times and the very early sunset all I have from Villach and Vienna are iphone snaps, but the cities were covered in Christmas lights, the air was brisk, and the people were friendly. We arrived at our hotel on the last evening all exhausted (Louis fell asleep in the car while we were searching for a place to eat), but with suitcases to be repacked with beer and milka and souvenirs. Fortunately, the flight home was just as easy as the flight there, but after one very long day we were all happy to sleep in our very own beds.
This trip was such a learning experience for me. It rekindled my joy of travel and proved that traveling with Louis was a easy and truly memorable experience. As a photographer, it showed me how to better document our trips and the every day details really do count. We've been talking a lot about returning in the Spring and this time I won't be nearly as nervous!