Thursday, May 29, 2008

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Thurday, May 29, Venice Italy. One of the first things I did this morning was to extend my stay in Venice by one day. So, I'll be leaving on Saturday rather than Friday. It will give me the time I need to do a couple of things -- including getting some laundry done!!

At around 9 a.m. or so, I bought a 24-hour ticket for the water-busses. The water-bus system in Venice is, as you can imagine, very extensive. I wanted to get two things done, the first of which was to go to Murano. My goal was to find a factory where the glass is actually made into art. The water-bus ride was around an hour, and in itself very enjoyable. The bus made many stops along the way, and I was able to see new and interesting parts of Venice.

After arriving in Murano, I walked for a bit and then asked directions. I was told to walk toward the light house, and sure enough there were two or three factories there, one of which was producing class.. One of the fornace work space was open and I was able to see the craftsmen work at their trade. One of the showrooms looked inviting, so I entered and looked around for quite some time. I found a piece I really liked and discussed a purchase with the sales person. I told him I was interested in buying something that was made there and not elsewhere. He took me through a door and into the fornace room where I was able to watch the craftsmen work on the very piece I was buying. So much for an authentic piece of Murano glass!! Since I had committed to buy someting, he treated me like a V.I.P and gave me a tour of the upstairs, which had been closed off to the public. The glass there was amazing. The colors, textures, shapes and sizes were truely beautiful. For those of you who have seen and enjoy Murano glass, you have an idea of I'm describing.

My piece was packaged and I made my way back to the hostel for a rest. I wanted to put the package in my suitecase and spent some time re-organzing. After an hour, or so, I wanted to complete the second activity on my list. I went back to the water-bus and this time took it to the Piazza San Marcos. It is located on the other side the island. As was the case for the last day or two, the weather is still very warm and humid. I made sure to carry, and drink, lots of water. I decided to walk back to the hostel, from there, and visit the Ponte Rialto on the way. This is a bridge much like the Ponte Vecchio. It isn't very long, but raises high over the canal and is fairly wide. Along each side are shops selling all manner of souvenirs, Murano glass and more. The bridge was very crowded and everyone seemed to be enjoying his or her warm day in Venice.

After shooting some pictures and doing some window shopping, I continued walking back to the hostel. This took me across much of Venice I hadn't seen and along the Grand Canal -- a fairly long walk. At first I thought I may have lost my way, but by keeping the canal on my left, I felt sure I'd get where I wanted to go. Sure enough, I started to recognize some landmarks. I stopped in a cute little coffee shop, very small and empty except or 2 or 3 local residents. I figued that having local residents for customers was a good sign, and I was right. The coffee was the best I've had in Europe so far. All in all, it took me around an hour to get back to my part of town, give Jennifer a call and drop into my favoriate "internet point". As I sit here writing this, there is an accordian player outside the door playing for the guests of a restoranti. How delightful is that??

The last picture, the one directly above, is a picture of the hostel I'm staying. It is "on" the Grand Canal. If you look at the white building in the center with the peaked roof, and then to the right just a bit, you'll see a narrow white building with 4 windows. My window is on the top floor and on the left. There is a wonderful view of the Grand Canal and part of Venice from there.

So, tomorrow is another day. And until then, stay tuned. Ciao.....