I had a number of reservations about taking a teenager to Venice and how on earth I would manage to keep her enthusiasm alive, but I needn’t had worried. Thankfully, she loved every minute or most of it at least. I don’t think either of us were quite prepared for the number of hours we would actually spend wandering around totally lost in and amongst the narrow Venetian streets or the number of times we had to turn back after walking down yet another dead end.
Venice is so full of tiny lanes that lead you up a blind alley and to the canal but minus a bridge at the end, which is another matter all together. We lost count how many times we ended up walking over the famous and picturesque Rialto bridge, but always saw the funny side despite the blisters and aching limbs. I think Venice can best be described as a giant living maze, entrapped within are hundreds of tourists all holding maps which are so small you need a magnifying glass and all of whom are constantly moving backwards and forwards trying to find their way around. Inevitably, you either end up back at the station or St Mark’s Square.
Despite these inconveniences, it was wonderful to hear to my daughter gasp out aloud when we emerged from the train station. It is a surreal sight when you catch sight for the very first time a gondola on the Grand Canal. It is an image we have all seen countless times either in books, paintings or in the movies, but to be there physically, is altogether quite different.
My daughter couldn’t stop smiling and I have to say, it was probably some of the best days I can ever remember. I hope she will one day look back to this trip with fond memories as I will surely do. I felt immensely proud wandering the streets aimlessly with her, perhaps knowing, that it won’t be long before she is of an age where going away with her ‘extravagant’ father is simply not acceptable any longer.
I have taken my daughter away ever since she was two or three years of age – without her mother – and I know these days are fast coming to an end. She will want to go away with her friends and God forbid a boyfriend – I can’t wait! I think my world will end that day. However, as that is still at least another three or four years way, I still have some time to provide her with some further memorable trips.
Our next grand vacation is the annual summer holiday, which is always something of a battle of wills, not least because my daughter, despite what I have just said, is very much a stay at home sort of child. getting her out of the house is like pulling teeth sometimes. We are now in the process of planning and organizing a driving holiday through France to Italy. This has suddenly become more complicated as the mother is arguing over the dates I had earmarked and is now adamant that she wishes to take her away too. This is a first, its been years since she last took her away and even then, she dumped her into a playschool scheme, which suited my daughter just fine – she loved it, but I felt it a bit of a sham. You go away to spend quality time together and then don’t see each other all day, what kind of holiday is that?