Friday, October 24, 2008

venice day 2

Today started out early, but was the best day! Mom set her alarm for 6:30 so that we could get to the island of Murano early. I don’t do early mornings well and my mom knows me and went down stairs and brought up coffee!!

The desk clerk told us that if we wanted, he would get us a free ride to Murano. Fortunately, I had read the Rick Steve’s book on Italy and knew this meant they would then give us a tour of the glass factory and try very hard to get us to buy something…..but it was a free ride so we did it!! We’re strong…we can withstand the toughest sales pitch….maybe!

A young man met us in the lobby and escorted us through back alleys to a small dock. As we waited for our “private” boat, we quickly realized that this was also the “trash” dock and one by one these guys came with carts laden with trash and dumped them into a waiting boat….niiiice! Our boat quickly came and we enjoyed a private ride through the center of Venice and out to Murano island. It took us about 30 minutes to get there. At the dock, we were met by a representative of one of the glass factories, Lucio, who then gave us the best tour ever!! I can’t even explain how amazing it was to watch a master artist work with a clump of hot glass and turn it into a beautiful vase. It was worth whatever sales pitch was coming! Lucio, explained every step. It was fascinating. He then took us into the factory’s glass museum and gallery and explained every piece and style. They were beautiful. We also got to go into a private museum and see pieces that dated back to the early 1900s. It was so interesting to see the differences in technique.

When we were done, Lucio offered to get us a boat to the island of Burano. I think he didn’t want us visiting any of the other glass factories….who knows. Anyway, Burano is where they make lace. He said he would have a friend meet us (again a sales pitch I was sure) and show us the best place for lunch. Mom had never been to Burano, so why not?! Free is always best! We got on our private boat again and headed off. Burano is an interesting island. The people there paint their houses bright colors and the woman that met us told us they are allowed to choose any color but it can not be the same as either neighbor!

We learned all about how lace was made and that it might take 7 women to make one lace item. Each woman learns and masters only one stitch. It was very interesting. This lady was a bit more forceful in her sales pitch but my and I held strong and left the shop with only a book mark!!! They showed us to a small cafĂ© for lunch just down the canal. We were told by Lucio to order whatever fish was the special because it would be fresh. So we asked our waiter what the special was and he came to our table with a whole sea bass and whole shrimp. He proceeded to poke the eyes of the fish and lift the gills to show us how fresh it was!!! Yuck, not my idea of getting me to buy the fish! Mom and I decided to order the shrimp, split it and a salad with grilled veggies! The shrimp came grilled whole sliced down the middle (still with the eyes and claws!) but I think these were the best shrimp I have ever eaten!! Mom even sucked the brains out of the heads…..jk! But she did suck the shells to get all the meat!!

After lunch we wandered around Burano and looked at all the shops. The boat ride back was a public water bus….paid for by the factory, but no longer private and took 3 times as long to get back….they were done with us!! But we got our money’s worth!!

Once we finally got back to Venice, we headed to the hotel to drop off our goods and change for the evening. Mom treated me to a Belini at Harry’s bar. She had her first belini there in 1954!! The place hasn’t changed much! I had met a guy at breakfast that told us about a great rest. down the lagoon a bit, so we headed there for dinner. Oh my gosh, this was the topper for a great day! We were seated next to a wonderful couple from Turkey and thoroughly enjoyed talking to them during dinner. Again, we asked about the special and our waiter came over with a whole flounder to show us how fresh it was. Mom and I split the flounder and a caprese salad…..delicious!!! The waiters were awesome and very fun…..I think we might go back there tomorrow…..also because it was probably our cheapest meal yet. Venice is expensive!!! I had no idea! I hope all of Italy is not like that because I won’t have any money left…..just kidding Steve….a little!

Tomorrow we plan to see St. Marks, Doge Palace, Rialto bridge and the market! We are having so much fun! Today set a high standard for the rest of the days!!!!



Smilingsal said...

I toured the glass factory too, but I did not buy anything. They Do come on strong with the sales pitch. However, we left and walked and shopped. We found much less expensive Murano glassware in the smaller shops surrounding the factory, and yes, we bought there!

Rachel @ Unexpected Blessings said...

Good for you standing strong against that sales pitch! I think I probably would have caved for the lace. But then I would have wanted to use it on something I could keep forever. So I could not have used it on clothes.

my blog said...

Sounds like you're having a great time and lots of interesting experiences! I love that first picture!

Christine said...

I just googled the time in Venice and found that you're 6 hours ahead of me - which means you're probably already eating dinner and deciding if today was a great as yesterday. I hope it was!

Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

I must be naive. What is Belini?

Self control! Absolutely. Only a bookmark? I had no idea about the one stitch per lady. No wonder the stuff is so pricey.