Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Travel Travails from Paris to Venice with Jace

What a series of annoyances we faced, simply to travel from Paris to Venice.

We picked up our stored luggage at the hotel and  got as far as Orly via the Mètro and a funny little streetcar thingy that accepted the remainder of our strip of 10 Mètro rides as payment.

Once at Orly, we wandered helplessly for upwards of 40 minutes, finding no signs directing us to the hotel navettes, nor any use to the information provided by the Hilton Garden Inn’s desk clerk, nor any employees who could provide directions.

It turned out the information provided by the Orly Airport Hilton Garden Inn was dead wrong, and we eventually found the free shuttle to the hotel on our own about an hour after we’d arrived.

The HGI clerk was gracious enough to apologize when we confronted her, and we suggested she visit the airport herself.

After all that, we enjoyed a decent and reasonably priced dinner in the restaurant, before discovering that our easyJet flight had been delayed by three hours, thus dumping us in Venice well after 6 pm, and not at all synchronized with our prepaid private speedboat transfer. 

easyJet (it would be mean to call them SleazyJet) did come through in Kathy’s online chat with them, and had us arriving at the same time, as long as we flew out of CDG (Charles de Gaulle).

After all that, we experienced a reasonably good night of sleep and an adequate breakfast in a crowded facility manned by sullen young employees.

We summoned a rideshare on our Bolt app (10 € cheaper than Uber), and Christian and his spiffy Hyundai Tucson SUV got us there in decent time in an only mildly hair-raising ride for a mere €50 plus tip.

We still retained our paid-for priority boarding, but were now dumped into Row 26, the very last one on this A319. It’s good to get a new perspective from time to time.

It was a bumpy but mercifully short 90-minute flight until we landed at a remote gate at VCE and crowded onto a bus for the ride to the terminal.

Finally, things were looking up.

Once we’d traversed the rather long walk, eased by moving sidewalks, to the water taxi area, a Consorzio Motoscofi Venezia rep intercepted us and ushered us into our very own speedboat. A blissful ride ensued, and Jace appeared to enjoy it almost as much as Brian did.

Almost too soon, we landed at a Hilton Molino Stucky dock, and we and our luggage were escorted ceremonially in to the elite check-in line.

One final challenge faced us.

The check-in clerk politely but firmly demanded we prove that we were authorized to travel with Jace. Fair enough. We’ve carried letters of authorization, originally notarized, for every one of our eight grandchildren for ten years. Neither European nor American border authorities have ever demanded to see it. Not a single hotel had asked.

We produced the letter signed by Jace’s parents.

Not good enough.

Photo ID of a parent was mandatory. At this point it was easy to solve this, certainly compared other challenges of the preceding 24 hours.

We called Jace’s parents, waking at least one up at 6:30 AM there, and a flurry of passports and drivers’ licenses soon flooded our inboxes. The hotel was happy and we were relieved.. We were finally admitted to our upgraded Executive room with a view.

Happy Hour in the Executive Lounge had never been happier.

From there it was a stroll along the water to a restaurant we’d previously enjoyed, Ai Cacciatori.

It’s still excellent and we all enjoyed Jace’s first dinner in Italy.



We again slept well and the following morning enjoyed the Hilton’s outstanding breakfast buffet.

The agenda for our day in Venice was simply to wander around and immerse ourselves in the unique atmosphere. There was also time for some souvenir shopping.

First it was breakfast time.

And then we were in a vaporetto with a 24-hour pass and on our way to “downtown Venice.”

Lunch eventually beckoned, and we looked for La Colonna, the restaurant we’d enjoyed on three earlier occasions. Sadly, it was closed, but we did find another little restaurant a few feet away, Trattoria Cea, that proved to be equally terrific.

After complimentary strawberries for Jace and limoncellos for us, we said Mille Grazie and found out to a vaporetto going to Murano, where we happened upon a terrific glass blowing demonstration.

First a vase and then an amazing horse sculpture finished in a few minutes before our eyes.

A long vaporetto ride took us back to the Hilton, some Happy Hour, and some packing for the 4-hour train ride to Rome around noon tomorrow.

Jace can now say he’s experienced Venice.


Anonymous said...

I had such a chuckle reading this post, Kathy. Hilarious comment about your breakfast servers. We had a similar experience in Paris at Hotel Champs du Mars… For Jace, it is like his own private Guides by Locals traveling with U2. Thank you again for the entertaining travel writing.

Kathy and Brian said...

Getting here was definitely not half the fun, but we’ve enjoyed showing Jace around Venice.