Dream For Three

Lost in Venice

Since we visited the Rialto markets yesterday afternoon, we decided to relax this morning and head out a little later – we were doing the three island tour at 11am.

We walked down to the waterfront and had breakfast at a place not far from San Marco Piazza (Saint Marc’s Square). DW and DD both chose the buffet breakfast, while I had the Euro breakfast (bread, croissants, butter, jam, coffee, and orange juice). Since the buffet finished at 10am, DW and DD were advised to get everything they wanted as soon as possible.

After breakfast we headed up to the ticket office and exchanged our voucher for tour tickets. We were offered the 10:30am tour, but opted to stay on the 11am since the earlier one was already boarding. We then wandered the streets around San Marco, where DD came across a t-shirt she liked in one of the stores – it was 19.95€. We suggested that she should wait until after the tour, so we don’t have to carry it with us (and also so she can have time to think it over). As we headed back to the boarding platform we also came across a nice watch for DW, but at 11,650€ it’s going to have to wait for another time.

Once on the boat, we headed out to the island of Murano, where they make a lot of the blown glass items for sale all over Venice. We were given a demonstration of the process (but not before having to stand outside in the heat for about 10 minutes), and then we were taken through to their shop. There were many lovely items for sale, but most were really expensive. I took a few pictures before we were told that pictures were not allowed (although there were no signs to that effect).

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Outside again we had a few more minutes to look in the other shops. I took the opportunity to buy more water as DW and DD used the local facilities. We then bought a glass clock from one of the other stores (most of which had cheaper prices than the factory) – hopefully the clock makes it back to NZ in one piece!

The second stop on the tour was Burano, where they made a lot of hand-made lace. The process was demonstrated and we were told that some of the smaller ones can take a month, with seven women working on them, each using a different type of stitch. Again, the prices were quite high and DW pointed out later that washing the clothes would have to be done by hand. Around Burano we noticed the buildings were all different colours, which is apparently so the fisherman would know which was their house when they returned from being at sea – I don’t know how much I believe that, but it seems plausible and it makes for a good story. We also noticed a bell tower with a definite lean on it – coincidentally, there was nothing built in front of this tower in the directon of the lean.

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We had a longer stop here, so we took the opportunity to have lunch (a roll for DW, a margherita pizza for DD, and a sandwich for me, plus some cold drinks). We then headed back to the boat for our last stop.

The final island was Torcello, home to the oldest church in Italy, I think. It was quite hard to hear the guide, over the boat engines and because she was repeating everything in about five languages, but I thought she said it was built in the 600′s. Checking on Wikipedia, it seems that it was first built in 639 – so I must have heard correctly. The church was about a 10 minute walk from the boat but, once we got there, we decided not to pay the extra 9.50€ each for the guided tour and more stairs to the top of a church tower.

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Before returning to the boat we had a slushy each (the two flavours were strawberry and mint with lemon) in the shade of a tree. It wasn’t long to wait before we could get on the boat again and make the 45 minute trip back to Venice. Both DD and I managed to sleep during most of the trip, as did many other passengers.

Back at San Marco we headed to the apartment to cool down and rest a bit before continuing our day. I took this opportunity to research the weather in Venice, because it felt very humid today and it was overcast. It turns out that July has the most sunshine hours, particularly the beginniing, while August is the hottest. The humidity ranges between about 70%-80% and the average rainfall for July is 60mm – DW and I shared a joke about that being 2mm per day.

DD was getting agitated about her t-shirt and was keen to go and get it (she had had time to think it over and confirm she wanted to spend her own money on it). In fact, she even suggested she could go by herself and find her own way back, although I didn’t have enough cash to give her anyway.

It was around 5pm when we headed down to the waterfront and back to San Marco – we let DD lead the way so she could prove that she would be able to get back. She managed to navigate her way to the shop and she found the t-shirt, tried it on, and we purchased it. As we left the stop a few drops of rain started to fall (yes, I do mean drops – it was nothing). DD informed us that she was looking for another trinket – since she was being engaged in this part of the trip, we decided to let her lead the way. During this time it continued to spit and people were putting umbrellas up all over the place, as we wandered along uncovered, soaking up the minimal amount of cool water coming down!

DD looked in almost every trinket shop she could find – and about two out of every three shops sells trinkets in Venice. Eventually we suggested that she wasn’t finding what she was looking for, it would be cheaper elsewhere (eg. Florence or Rome) and we should probably start heading back for dinner. Leaving her to lead again, she took us around in circles before we took pity on her and suggested she look for San Marco (which is generally well sign posted).

After a lot of meandering and many wrong turns we eventually got to San Marco – it had stopped spitting by now and we figured it had been about 1-2mm of “rain”, if you could call it that. Since she now “knew where she was”, DD bolted ahead as we dawdled along behind. We rounded the corner to the waterfront at San Marco just in time to see her going up the first bridge (there were three bridges we had to cross before turning left down a side street). As we got to the top of the first bridge, she was just disappearing over the second.

I decided I couldn’t trust her not to get herself lost (at which point we would have no way of finding her), so I ran ahead to catch up with her. As I got to the bottom at the end of the third bridge, she was halfway up the fourth bridge. At that point she turned around, saw me, and gestured to ask which way she should go – I gestured back that she should return to me. I then went back to the top of the third bridge to wait for DD and DW to arrive.

We pointed out (again) how easy it is to get lost and suggested she stay with us, since we need to have dinner anyway. She said that she had leftover pizza (from lunch) back at the apartment and that’s where she was heading – no consideration given to what we would have!

DD then charged on again, this time taking the side street, as she was supposed to. We continued to dawdle behind and caught up with her again at the first intersection, where she couldn’t remember which way to go. Once we headed in the right direction she charged on again. DW and I stopped at a pizza place not far from where we had dinner last night, which was only about 100m from the apartment. DD started to head back towards us, but then carried on when she saw us go into the pizza place. We got back to the apartment with our pizzas and drinks in hand, which reminded DD that she wanted a drink as well – teenagers, eh?!

During our “travels” we came across yet another tower that was leaning, this time in Venice. I have come to the conclusion that at some stage the Italians forgot how to build stable towers.

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So now we can tick off another goal – getting lost in Venice (although, to be fair, DW and I had managed to do a good job of that on our own the afternoon before).

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