A few days ago we went to Venice (Venezia in Italian).

This is me making my mask.

My favorite thing was when we made masks. Lots of stores sell masks in Venezia, but Mom found a place where we could make them ourselves. This is how we made them: first we chose a shape of the mask. Then we painted its main color. Then we put a clear paint on and dried them with a hair dryer. Then with a thin brush, with gold, silver or bronze paint we painted little designs on the mask. This was one of my most fun things from the trip.

Here are some other things that we did: We went to an Island called Burano. The buildings are all bright colors. They make a special cookie there that is in the shape on an S and is made with corn and lemon. They were really good. (But there was something else I liked even better in Venezia, which were doughnuts that were salty instead of sweet. They were amazing).

This is me and Eli standing on a street in Burano.

On the first night we had a cocktail. We took boats called vaporetto (those are the water buses that go though the big canals in Venezia). We took a tour of the Doge’s Palace, which is where Casanova went to jail. But we mostly walked around the city.

This is me and Eli on the vaporetto.

It barely rained but even when it rained the canals looked very pretty. It is such a beautiful place. I have never seen a city like it because there are no cars, only boats.

And our hotel was awesome! They made crepes for us at breakfast. It had only 12 rooms and the people who worked there were nice and kept remembering all of our names.

All of the restaurants that we went to were amazing.

A lot of people say that it is hard to find good places to eat in Venezia because there are so many tourists and the restaurants don’t expect people to come back. But Dad helped me and Eli do research on the restaurants and we came up with a good list. Then we chose our favorites and dad got reservations at all of our first choices. It was good to go to Venezia in December because it wasn’t that crowded.

This is me lying on the Rialto bridge.

On the first night we went to Alle Testiere (Calle del Mondo Novo). The restaurant had only 10 tables and was very small. We did something special that we have never done before but is the best way to eat in Venezia. When the waiter came over we told him that we didn’t want any menus and that we liked fish and pasta and they should bring us what was fresh that day. And the waiter asked if dad wanted to see the wine list, but Eli yelled out “just chose a good prosecco for us” and the waiter did. They kept bringing out these amazing dishes. The first one was one of my favorites. It had these long things in shells that were cooked with ginger (zenzero, in Italian). Eli and I loved them! It turns out they were razor clams. Then there was another plate with six different kinds of fish on it. And another one with big scallops in their own shell and oranges. And another one. And then spaghetti with clams that we all thought was the best we ever had. Then ravioli with red chichory. I didn’t really want that one but mom and dad said it was great and they had never seen chicory red before, only green. It is special in Venezia. It was really fun to not know which foods were going to come out and to try new things. Everything was delicious.

This is me, Dad, and Mom at the Doge's palace.

On the second night we ate at Anice Stellato (Fondamenta de la Sensa). It was all foods local to Venezia. I had something unusual, which was a pesto but it was made with ricotta and sun dried tomatoes instead of basil. It was great. Mom had soft shell crabs, which she loves. . .but they brought her so much that she couldn’t finish it. And Eli had a skate wing with roasted potatoes. And dad had pasta with black squid ink and told us about how when Eli was in Venezia as a baby he ate that and made his face and hands all black. Before our food came they brought us little fried balls of treats that are called cichetti and are little snacks in Venezia. They were so good.

View from the Rialto bridge at night.

On the last night we ate at Antiche Carampane (Rio Tera delle Carampane). We were nervous because everyone said it was really hard to find this restaurant. But we found it fine. They have a funny sign on the door that says “No Pizza, No Lasagne, No Tourist Menu.” A weird thing about this restaurant is the menu is only in French and English and they say that they only explain the story of why in Italian. I had pasta and shrimp and Mom had a huge plate of raw fish sliced very thin. Eli had his favorite- sea bass. And Dad had pasta with a spicy seafood sauce. It was really good and the waiters were very nice. Actually, the waiters were really nice to us at all of the places.

This is me having an AMAZING dessert. Chocolate mousse with pear.

One fun lunch we had was a little bar called La Cantina (Strada Nuova). They had only three tables and they gave Mom and dad a glass of prosecco and me and Eli glasses of Fanta while we waited for a table. They didn’t have a menu and we had bowls of chick pea and pasta soup and then this huge platter of all different kinds of fried fish for lunch. We spent so much time eating the lunch that we missed our tour at the Jewish museum, so we have to do that next time. They also brought over markers for me and Eli to draw with, which I thought was really nice.

I love Venezia. It was an awesome experience.

— Nell

PS The name of our hotel was Locanda Orseolo.