After a brief goodbye with my parents and aunt and uncle, I reunited with my parents again (since my aunt and uncle left for the US), in Venice. I was to meet them for dinner after my Monday class, spend the night, and join them for a tour of the the islands around Venice, which are Murano, Burano, e Torcello.
Just when I thought I left the bad weather in Florence, it turns out that another hail/rain storm was heading for Venice just as I arrived at the train station. Fortunately, I made it to cover before it got any worse. I felt bad, though, for my parents, because they were finishing up their “romantic gondola ride” as the storm came. Not surprising to me at all, I saw tons of people walking around Venice in the rain, selling ponchos and umbrellas to desperate tourists.
That night we had dinner at a small restaurant, and then I went back to my hotel to do some homework.
The next morning we started for Saint Mark’s Square to begin our boat ride to Murano. We were somewhat disappointed that the cabin of the boat we were taking was inside the hull, undercover, only with windows to look out. But it wasn’t that bad. We were warned by my aunt and uncle, and by the boat operators, that we basically had 45 minutes on the first island, Murano, to see everything there was to see, those being a glass-blowing demonstration and the glass shops. The demonstration was really cool, although I didn’t realize you weren’t allowed to take pictures or video — I did both! After being herded to the gift shop as if in a Disney ride, we spent only 10 minutes walking through Murano before we had to get back. That definitely wasn’t enough time to buy glass and have it shipped home, so we left.
The ship operators said they would leave not a second after the indicated time, and they stuck to their word. Just as they pulled away, a mother and son came running toward the dock, realizing that the captain called their bluff. In reality, they captain brought the boat back, but they clearly made an example out of the late passengers.
Next, we went to Burano, the island famous for lace-making. We saw a shorter demonstration of lace-making by an older Italian woman, making the lace delicately and carefully. As always, we were lead upstairs to where they were selling their wares. We made our way through the rest of the town, enjoying it just as much as Murano. We even purchased a bag of traditional cookies from Burano, called Bussolà.
Finally, the boat took us to the last island, Torcello. This island was nice, but it was much more rustic than the others. Apparently, only 11 people live on the island. There was also a bar (not Harry’s Bar) that was one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorites (did you know he liked
to drink?). Honestly, there wasn’t as much to do on this island, so we ate a quick lunch and enjoyed the atmosphere.
Upon returning to Venice, we decided to walk around a bit, until learning that my dad didn’t feel well. He went back to the hotel, and my mom and I decided to go back to Saint Mark’s square. We wanted to have an aperitivo, and we heard music emanating from the bars, so we took a table near the small band playing italian music. It was a bit pricy,
but totally worth the experience. Who says that Venice has to be stressful?
For dinner, I found an osteria near the Rialto that was highly recommended on TripAdvisor. Al Pesador was an excellent idea, because we ate right by the canal, and enjoyed the beautiful evening and view before I had to head back to Padova (it was a school night). Dad and I were courageous, and ordered the nero di seppia, which is a traditional venetian dish of cuddle fish served in a black, squid-ink
sauce, over a cake of polenta. It was actually one of the most delicious things I have every eaten, regardless of how gross it looked. Topped off with a negroni sbagliato, it was a great evening.
Finally, I took a water taxi back to the train station, and from there took a fast train back to Padova.