The kids really loved their first flight. We saw the Alps, which blew both children away.
Then we had a nice easy landing at Venice. We took a water taxi from the airport, which the kids also enjoyed thoroughly (and thanks to Michelle Styles for giving me that tip beforehand - it was definitely worth paying for a private motorboat).
It was a bright and sunny morning and the lagoon was calm, so our first sight of La Serenissima was magical, with the water sparkling.
And then we turned away from the main waterways, through little narrow canals and under bridges - and Venezia had us under her spell immediately.
Our hotel was lovely - very swish!
This is our room, with a lovely wide bed (a shade under 6 feet).
And our bathroom (well, a bit of it), all in sand-coloured granite. Best of all: big, soft, fluffy towels. (That's the mark of a decent hotel. Ones that give you tiny towels... no, ta.) They even had an umbrella for guests' use in the wardrobe.
The hotel is a real mix of the old and new; the reception area (see later) is very modern and we had a view of its glass roof from our corridor, but the hotel itself is an ancient palazzo that originally belonged to the Dandolo family (as in the Doge) and hosted the first 'Ridotto Pubblico' there in 1638 (i.e. it was where nobles and commoners went for 'pleasure and intrigue'. One man in particular thought this was the ideal place for his conquests - a certain Giacomo Casanova.
This is the Ridotto ballroom.
The ceiling was just incredible.
And, once we'd unpacked, we went exploring - of which, more tomorrow.