Italy: Venice ~ Day 10 (Part 1)

 ♪”I’m on a gondola and, we’re going slow and, my guy is hot and…”♪ ~ Amanda D. 

Monday, May 2nd 2011: Venice

Early wake-up call this morning, but thank goodness there was no packing up or dragging bags anywhere. We were in Venice and today were heading out to the main island =)

The train took us out over the water, which was pretty, and then we took a ferry down to the other side of the island. The buildings here look like the ones in the Cinque Terre, only these were right on the water instead of on cliffs. They were packed tightly together, and colourfully old and classic looking with the flower-lined balconies and shutters that I liked so much.

We passed the Doges’ Palace as we entered the Piazza San Marco,  and spent some time admiring and taking pictures of the Campanile and the Basilica San Marco as we waited for our walking tour guide to arrive. Kind of slow like the Florence tour, she walked us through the extremely narrow Venetian streets, down alleyway after alleyway and around tight corner after corner. It was a little intimidating at first and felt almost impossible to be able to navigate on my own, but ended up not being as bad as it seemed.

Following that, we had our Murano glass-blowing demo, which was amazing to watch. I was on the right end, a little closer to the furnace so my face was getting just a tad bit toasty, but my eyes were glued to Daniel who made a flower vase and a glass horse in under 10 minutes total. Farther inside, there were shelves and cases of beautiful glass pieces for sale, from grand hanging chandeliers to little figurines of sea turtles that were smaller than my palm. We got a quick 101 on the need-to-knows of Murano glass – the minerals mixed for the various colours, the sound of the each glass item, how to spot a fake and the durability of the material. Quite impressive. (P.S. Never mind my amateur camera work in the video, the angles are all screwed up but you get the general idea of what was going on!)

The lace demo was after that. The lady showed us pieces of lace work that had some intricately detailed patterns and explained that it takes about 7 or 8 women stitching the one article of lace for up to 8 months before it is completed. There were doilies, handkerchiefs, place mats, table cloths, gloves and more. All the information made me that much more appreciative of the old artwork. After the opportunity to look around and make any purchases, (and then Marlen’s announcement that Bin Laden had been found and killed [r-a-n-d-o-m news flash of the day]) we had our free time to roam on our own.

Venezia, here we come… =)

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