Venice by Boat
The city of Venice is built on 118 islands, and today we’re going to visit three of the most famous. Amedeo has scouted out a tour of the islands for about the same price as just the vaporetto tickets, so we walk to the train station to get the tickets. Turns out the tour leaves from the other side of town near Piazza San Marco, so we hop a vaporetto (water bus) for a tour of the Grand Canal. It’s hard to describe the variety of the buildings (most facades now plain, but handsomely decorated in their time), the watercraft, and the people in this busy place. I’m just going to leave it to the pictures to tell that story.
After a quick coffee break (girls had to pee and a coffee in the shop with a clean bathroom was the same price as the public loo), we boarded our waterbus for the tour. It takes about 45 minutes to get from Piazza San Marco to Murano, home of the Venetian glass makers. We are herded off the boat and into the glassblowing studio. After a quick demonstration, we are led through the gift shop. Since Susie and I bought our Murano glass in Rome (and it’s much more expensive here) we are just looking. The tour guide takes us upstairs for a look at some $10,000 glass figurines and chandeliers. No worries about breakage, they’re insured and can be shipped directly to our home! They’re beautiful, but , um, no. Murano is about a mile long and we walk along the street, window shopping in the many glass stores that line the canal. There’s a church at the end, but wait, there’s no time – have to catch the bus!
The next stop is Burano, home of the lacemakers. We are led into a store where a lonely woman in an apron is hand-making lace among the piles of doilies, table runners, and scarves. It’s too crowded in there for me, so I wait for the group to finish. We walk down the colorful streets and do more window shopping. It’s a beautiful place and I wish I could stay after the crowds leave. Next to our waterbus is another waterbus that has music coming out of it. I ask our crew to sing for us, since our boat has no music player. They decline and laugh.
Last is Torcello, the oldest continuously populated region in Venice, but there aren’t very many people living there now. One low-key hotel, an ancient church and sculptures, vineyards. It’s quiet, quiet, quiet after the hustle-bustle of Venice. It would be nice to stay here and take a nap along the canal under the trees. But the waterbus calls, and after a little more flirting with the crew, we board for our ride home.
Amedeo has the idea that he would like to make pasta con vongole (clams), so upon our return, we search for clams. However, because it is Monday, there are no fresh clams to be found. No fresh seafood of any kind, in fact. The fishermen are off on Sunday, so the fish market is closed on Monday. We search anyway, but to no avail. Susie’s a little tired, so I offer to take Amedeo out for our last Venice dinner to the restaurant from yesterday, which we liked. Walking back to the apartment through the narrow streets, it’s hard not to love the city, even in the dark.