Lived on public transporto de Venizia and left my heart in Burano...oops
13.03.2013 - 13.03.2013
Despite the rain that started this day, we took the train back into the city in order to visit the islands of Murano and Burano via vaporetto which is Venice's water bus. There are no buses, cars, or bicycles on these islands so the natives travel by boat which is pretty cool. Nonetheless after buying a 12-hour pass for unlimited travel via the vaporetto system for the day, we headed for the island of Murano where they have many glass blowing factories. But since we missed the stop for Murano, we went to the very neighboring island of Navagero. We walked down a small street at the end of which was a glass blowing factory. There were 3 men hanging out/chatting in this empty warehouse as they worked together to create an item. I was mesmerized trying to figure out what they were making as they each took turns adding pieces of molten glass to the original piece on a large steel rod and popping it in and out of the firey oven! After watching for a half hour, and a gentlemen who worked in the gallery explained what they were making, the end result was a beautiful vase with an abstract top that flared up on one side. Then we shopped in the store associated with the factory and saw so much more of their work, bellisimo. We met a woman who worked in the shop that told us about her brother-in-law's restaurant in Burano that we should visit for lunch so we took down the information to try and find it there.
We were told by multiple people that this time of year and especially this day of the week, it was not worth going to the center of town, we decided to head to Burano which I was more excited for. After a 30 minute boat ride to Burano, we made it to the charming little island filled with brightly colored houses, of which two consecutive ones were not painted the same colors. Although it was cloudy, these houses brightened the day. We took a million pictures at first because it was all so unreal; trying to pick my favorite color was impossible and I just could not believe every single building on that island had its own unique color. Burano is known for its hand-made lace, as this is historically what the women gathered on the porches to do while their men went out to fish all day. After stopping through many of the shops to check out the lace items from tablecloths to handkerchiefs and scarves to little lace bookmarks, I knew I had to leave with an Italian scarf (or two). Along the walk, we stumbled upon the restaurant recommended by the woman from Navagero! The owner was there and he convinced us to have lunch there even though we had packed ours earlier this morning. He specially prepared for us a platter of various fish that he receives fresh everyday - wow, was it amazing. Aside from the raw sliced salmon, there was lots of cooked and cured fish, half of which I didn't know but it was delicioso! I wish I took a picture of the beaut before we dug in. It was also interesting to see a mounted TV in the room we were dining that showed a live camera view of the kitchen so you can watch the chef prepare your meal!
After lunch, we continued on to visit the center of town which was a large empty square filled with lots of shops selling more lace and Murano glass items. I learned that all glass items are not from Murano. And all lace items are not from Burano (well, even if they are they are made by a machine now and not necessarily by hand). But the ways to tell are by asking the shop keeper, comparing prices (the cheaper one is not authentic), and looking at labels - some items such as wine toppers will have "Murano Glass Italy" engraved in it. These shops have been very easy to browse through because we are here during the off-season (Italy picks up after Easter) so it's been very quiet around many parts of Venice.
We took the vaporetto back to the mainland in order to take a waterway tour of Venice, the most scenic way to view the city! Because we spent most of the day exploring and shopping the islands, this tour became an evening one for us. This was beautiful because the houses, museums, and hotels line the water on both sides with many of them lit up to create gorgeous shadows of the statues on the larger buildings. It created such a romantic scene, especially with some restaurants lining tables outside with lights strung above them. If I wasn't so cold I would've sat at the front of the boat to take videos of the ride. We had to stop to find an ATM before going to San Marco's square, and when we did so we heard lots of bells being rung and we weren't sure what was going on until we realized that a new pope has been elected!! It was so amazing to realize we were in the middle of something quite historic. And then realized how bananas Rome will be when we arrive there tomorrow.... But anyways, hooray!
We continued a few more stops to S Marco only in order to find the infamous Harry's Bar where the Bellini (a peach liqueur with champagne) was invented and Ernest Hemingway always hung out. But because we walked around much of the San Marco area yesterday and didn't find it, we weren't sure we would be able to tonight. Until I walked right off the dock of the boat and BAM! Harry's Bar was right in front of my face. Hooray! We stepped inside this swanky little restaurant where many chic couples wined and dined and here are us 4 clowns coming off a boat looking like hot messes. No big deal, the owner even came to greet us. The prices on this menu were out-of-this-world-ridiculous! 16,50 euro for a glass of bellini??! It may have been invented there, but no thank you. I'll take a "cheap" glass of prosecco for 10 euro please. Alongside complimentary olives, that was our dinner. Cheers!
Up early for a train ride to Rome tomorrow and to meet the rest of the group to begin the tour. Can't wait to try the heavenly tap water there! Also, I'm so annoyed I can't upload pictures because they're too big. Sorry
Jk, they took FOREVER to upload, but here are some teasers
Burano and it's charming decor
Venice in the evening