Gracia Smeenk was runner-up in Take the Family’s Travel Writing Competition in the Kids category with this piece. Gracia was nine months old when she first boarded a plane, to Orlando,and among her dearest travel ambitions is to revisit Mexico. You can follow her and her family’s travels at athomeintheworld.com.
Venice is special because they use no cars or bikes, because they don’t have any roads. They have streets of water called canals. Mummy and Daddy wanted to know what it feels like to ride in a gondola, and so Mum and Dad decided that we would go on a gondola. It was one of Mummy’s dreams come true.
A gondola ride is when you go on this really nice black boat and then you have to pay the gondolier to row the boat. It cost €100. I think it’s expensive!
Before we went on the boat, we found a little store close to the water that sold souvenirs, and there were lots of masks. There were masks that were all different kinds of colours and designs. Mummy and Daddy got a mask for Maleah, Joshua, Michael and me. Mine was purple with a big feather in the middle. Maleah’s was pink and had a feather on top too. Joshua’s was red, gold and black. Michael’s was black, blue, white and gold.
After, we started walking around Venice with our masks on. I think lots of people liked it because some people asked to take pictures with us, and whenever we would walk past people they would smile at us.
When we were crossing a bridge, we saw a person dressed up in a black-and-white striped shirt and black trousers, and a straw hat with black ribbon around it. Nicolo was his name and he came up to Daddy and asked if we wanted to go on a gondola ride. Daddy asked how much was it. Nicolo said it was €120 and Daddy asked if he could lower the price and Nicolo changed it to €100. Daddy said 'Okay'.
We went to Nicolo’s gondola, and it was a long black boat and it had golden small horses on it that were like statues that could fit on the sides. It had nice seats, and on the top there was a nice axe, but it wasn’t really sharp, only for decoration.
Nicolo steered us with a long wooden paddle that touched the ground of the water, and so we started moving. When we were starting to move, we were so close to the water and it was like we were sinking. Nicolo took us to the Grand Canal Water Street and we went under the famous Rialto Bridge.
When we went on the ride, I liked it. It was a neat experience because I got to go on a boat that was special, and it was the only city that used boats and had streets of water.
Read more about visiting Venice with kids, including things to see and do and the best family-friendly places to stay.