May 31: Venezia (day 3)
Kurt still felt lousy and wanted to stay home and rest. My back was still tweaked, but it felt good enough to go walking. So, Matt, Rita and I decided to go visit the islands of Murano and Burano.
It turned out that the hotel had a nice water taxi that sped us, free of charge, to Murano. This is really the only way to fly! Taxis are fast, direct, and you don't have to wait.
At first we thought the taxi was free because it was a nice service that the hotel provided. But I now think it's paid for by the glass factory that the taxi takes you to.
We arrived at a glass factory where we got to watch some artisans blowing glass. A guide gave us a brief explanation and answered some of our questions. After a short while we were ushered upstairs into their showroom, where saw some very beautiful and expensive pieces. Too rich for our blood.
When it was apparent we weren't going to buy anything, our guide ushered us downstairs to their "bargain" showroom. Here they had souvenir type blown glass, jewelry, and less expensive merchandise. I succumbed and bought a couple of things, and we left the factory to see the rest of Murano.
We walked along a canal, looking at different glass showrooms. I saw a nice set of drinking glasses and bought a set. Hopefully they'll have arrived by the time we get home.
We soon tired of Murano and decided to head over to Burano, where they make lace and have beautiful pastel colored houses. Hopping on a ferry, we rode over to Burano.
Burano is very touristy, just as Murano was. We walked past shop after shop that sold hand-made and machine-made lace. The buildings were very pretty, with each house painted a different color of pastel. We visited the lace museum, using combo tickets that we had received from a couple of people on the tour (who had gotten them when they visited the Doge's Palace). It was a very interesting display.
We got back on the ferry and rode back home. We were all pretty tired from all the traveling from one island to another.
Matt and Rita were to change hotels that night, and they had left their luggage in our room in anticipation. We went back to the hotel to retrieve the luggage and their bike boxes. We also decided that we would take our bike boxes to the train station at the same time, to leave them in the baggage storage place until we were ready to leave.
So, we had the hotel order a taxi for us, and dragged our boxes over to the little canal near the hotel. We waited, and waited, and waited... finally, Rita and I decided to walk over to the taxi stand on the main canal and see if we could either find our taxi or order a new one. No sooner than we'd found a new taxi and boarded it on the way to pick up the luggage, than Kurt came running up to tell us that our taxi was there. The taxi driver turned the boat around and dropped us off, a bit annoyed at the whole thing.
We rushed back to where our luggage and Matt were and loaded it onto the boat. Our taxi driver, who was also annoyed because we went to get a different taxi, then took us first to Matt's hotel and then to the train station. 170,000 lire in total for the four of us. Ouch! (You get charged extra for the big luggage.)
The taxi ride was great, though. We got an outstanding view of Venezia from the Grand Canal, something that is difficult to do in a crowded ferry.
Kurt and I deposited our bagagli, and headed back to Matt and Rita's hotel, where we were going to meet up for dinner. They were staying at Pensione Accademia, just around the corner from the Accademia museum. It's a gorgeous small hotel, with a nice peaceful garden, and views looking onto the canal. Rita found the place because it was used in a Kathryn Hepburn movie. If and when we ever come back to Venezia, we'll try to stay there.
Matt and Rita had talked with Ken & Liz about meeting up for dinner that night. The four of us were to meet them in Piazza San Marco at 8 PM by the second of the two columns. We hustled over to the square, and waited, but we were waiting at the wrong set of columns, so we completely missed them! Rita had made reservations at a restaurant near the piazza, so the four of us headed over to the restaurant by ourselves.
Because Venezia is on the water, many of the restaurants feature fish. Kurt and I had lobster, which was quite good, and Matt and Rita had a mixture of fish. After our two-hour meal, we each headed back to our respective hotels, ready to call it a night!