The Master & Wildfire – Murano

3rd June 2006

We had decided today that we were not going to walk everywhere as our feet were still hurting from the previous day. We decided to take the water bus (Al Vaporato) everywhere today, we bought a twenty-four-hour ticket for about seven Euros and climbed aboard at Ferrovia station. The Al Vaporato just seemed to crash into the stations and skid along the canals, it was a hot day, and I was sitting outside watching all the magnificent scenery go by, fantastic old churches, more restaurants with red and white table cloths, colourful apartment buildings and of course gondolas, all with the clear blue sky above and the clear blue water below.

We got off at Per Rialto and decided to do some shopping in the nearby markets. Shopping in Venice is wonderful, we went into countless mask shops, and I even managed to find a weapons dealer who was selling antique guns and crossbows, I really wanted a crossbow, but didn’t like my chances of getting it back to Australia. There were people selling food and all kinds of produce, you could even buy half a coconut from a small fountain with water flowing over them, funnily enough beer could also be bought like this, I had never seen anyone selling beer in the street before and thought it was great.

There were also many glass shops selling the famous Murano glass, an island off the coast of Venice. Mum and I decided that we would attempt to get to it that day and have a look around. The glass shops sold beautiful glass objects countless plates, glasses and vases, but what fascinated me were the glass animals.

I had already begun to build up a collection of souvenir animals from all the places I had visited and was determined to get one from Venice and Murano glass seemed like the best option. I decided to keep my eyes open for a glass horse as they seemed to be traditional or a dog, as walking your dog around the canals seemed to be the in thing to do in Venice.

We then walked down to the canal and Mum harassed a gondolier trying to get a half decent price for a Gondola ride. We managed to get one for sixty Euros, which is not bad considering that most people pay one hundred. We got into our gondola which had aqua and white striped seats with black tassels and even had matching foot stools in it. The gondola had a big shinny four spoked blade on the front and was a lovely black colour. As we drifted around the canals and under the bridges, we waved to others in their gondolas and spotted one American woman in her gondola yelling at their gondolier in her Yankee drawl “Sing! You’re supposed to sing like they do in the movies!” I thought not for the last time, stupid tourist. Just then as if to say thank you to us for not being belligerent, our gondolier started to sing to us as we were going along, and I felt myself smugly smiling from ear to ear. We went through the back canals of Venice and when the gondolier took us under one exceptionally low bridge, he looked at me and said “Good for Kissing”, cheeky devil. The gondola ride went for about forty minutes and when we got out, the gondolier helped us both and we thanked him for the lovely ride. At that moment, I suddenly realised I was wearing identical clothes to the gondolier, a black and white striped top and black pants, what a coincidence that I had thought to put on that outfit this morning.

St Marks Square with Umbrella
In Piazza San Marco with my umbrella

We followed the streets of Venice until finally, we once again reached San Marco. We went back to the square which today was pretty crowded, and I decided I wanted to feed the pigeons, I bought some corn from a street vendor and they started to land all over me! They were a little more persistent than the pigeons in Trafalgar Square and I ended up with little scratches all over me. I went looking at some of the vendors’ wares also and decided to buy myself a Venetian lace umbrella, the one I chose was black with silver detailing and Mum took my picture standing in front of St. Marks Basilica with it.

We walked around the shops that surrounded the square and I found a shop entirely dedicated to my favourite artist Salvador Dali, they even had working melting clocks, but the price of them was sky high and I couldn’t justify spending that much money on one of them. We then went to San Marco station and got on the Al Vaporato which would take us to Murano. We got to travel right along the Adriatic coastline and see the old fortification walls from when the city was first built. It was a rather long journey, but as usual with Venice the scenery was worth it.

There did not seem to be a lot of people making the trip to Murano and on the way, we got to see more local people and their way of life. It was educational to see that not everyone in Venice has a gondola and that many of them travel by small water boats or water taxis.

There were actually two stations on Murano and we had to guess which one was the correct one to disembark at. We got off the Al Vaporato and had a drink in a small café, me still with my new umbrella over myself as by that time it had gotten quite hot. It was late in the afternoon, and we wandered around, in and out of shops again and into a major shop where they did demonstrations. Unfortunately, there were none on at that time, but I did manage to score myself a beautiful glass horse with red and orange streaks through his glass mane, I immediately named him Wildfire.

The streets of Murano were pretty deserted except for a few locals and their dogs, I even saw one lady walking a little Pomeranian who looked like my little Dali at home and wished I could have somehow had him here with me. I went into another shop and bought myself some pretty yellow glass fish and a small dog, because I missed Dali so much, although the dog I purchased looked more like my parent’s old dog Otto. Murano was interesting because even the smallest streets were canals, and all had narrow ornate bridges crossing them. We walked back to the Al Vaporato station and took the long ride back into Venice, through most of which I actually fell asleep.

Mum and I got off at San Marco again and walked along past the Bridge of Sighs and into another mask shop where Mum fell in love with a beautiful oriental looking jester mask. It was thirty-five Euros and it had gold leaf on the face, I ended up buying it for her to pay her back for paying cash for the hotel the day before. She was rapt about the mask which had bells on it which jingled every time she touched it. We walked through the twisty, turning streets once more and had lunch at a self-serve pizza place where we ate massive slices of margarita pizza for only two Euros and it was the best pizza I have ever eaten.

We also walked into another glass blowing factory and asked if there were any demonstrations on, the lady said we could request one from the master which we did, and he happily obliged giving a show just for us. He made a horse which I thought was wonderful having just bought one and a vase which he inlaid glass beads into by rolling the hot glass over them. Mum and I left him a tip and made our way back to Ferrovia station on the Al Vaporato. We went back to Allogi la Gondola to freshen up and then I said I would shout Mum to dinner in a fancy Venetian restaurant. We walked about halfway to Per Rialto before we found a nice one. It had dining alfresco which we decided against as it had gotten quite cold, so we went inside and they seated us just inside the door, which was quite annoying as it was still cold. The food was amazing we had lasagne for our entrée and veal scaloppini for our main. Mum drank quite a lot of wine, and the bill was actually surprisingly cheap, even with all the Copperto.

We then went for my last look at San Marco at night, a sight from which I did not want to leave, again the orchestra was playing, Italian music this time and although it had started to rain, it was still magical. Mum and I ended up on the last Al Vaporato back to Ferrovia and went back to the hotel, where I had finally figured out how to close the window shutters and we had a decent night’s sleep.

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