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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Vacate to Venice 2019 - Burano & Murano

We awoke to the sounds of birds, mainly seagulls, making noise outside our apartment. It was not overly different to the sounds we hear out of our actual flat in Bristol.

Following a quick shower, we were off to find the boat stop to buy our tickets and head off to Burano and Murano. Our walk took us over the Rialto Bridge, an ironic bridge in the heart of Venice. It is much quieter in the morning than when we arrived the night before. It is also nice to be able to see what is around us. Betting on finding food as we walked, we were on the lookout for a bakery. As luck would have it, we found one and snagged a couple croissants to take on our journey to the vaporetto.

We had to wait a little while before the vaporetto to Burano appeared. We climbed on, snagging a window seat for the 45 minute cruise to the island. As we were leaving Venice, we passed the Cimitero and several other small islands, making stops of Murano and Mazzorbo before reaching Burano.

Burano is a small fishing village island known for its colorful houses and fine lace. Fishermen, in an attempt to easily locate their homes when coming back from the sea, painted their houses in bright colors. Today, the tradition continues more to help continue bringing tourists than anything else. The village was beautiful and very colorful, a nice change from drab, stone, and brick. In addition to the colorful homes, the island is known for fine lace production. As we wandered around taking in the sights, we stopped in a few lace shops and galleries to see if Kari found any she was interested in. Unfortunately, her favorite places were around €800, which was a little more than we wanted to spend at this moment. They were super beautiful and soft, so I could not blame her for liking them.

As we set off on our day of adventure, we decided to treat it as a "State Fair" food day. For us, that means trying things whenever we find something that looks good and sharing it. Since we were in Italy, we found a nice pizza place and shared a salami pizza. Quite tasty.

After spending a couple hours on Burano, taking in the sights and eating some pizza, we headed off to the boat stop to catch the vaporetto back to Murano. As luck would have it, we arrived at the boat stop five minutes prior to departure and were able to jump on the boat. Similar to our cruise to Burano, we made a quick stop at Mazzorbo before heading to Murano.

Murano, while still beautiful, does not have the same level of charm as Burano with its colorful homes. Instead, Murano is known for its history as one of the premiere glass blowing places in the world. There are 47 families still operating today that have been blowing glass for generations. To learn more about this history, we went to the Murano Glass Museum, Museo del Vetro. It was fascinating to see how the master glass makers changed styles over the centuries, with some styles lost and rediscovered over time.

After our time in the museum, we set off to see if we could find a glass blower in action. Unfortunately, we were not so lucky. Instead, we found some authentic shops and learned more about specific glass makers while perusing for some glass to bring home. There are some truly incredible pieces available on the island.

With the sun going down, we thought it would be good to head back to Venice. On the walk back to the vaporetto, we stopped for our first gelato. I had strawberry and lemon, and Kari had raspberry and lemon. They were quite delicious. One of the other benefits of the sun going down was the lights strung across the smaller canals were lit. It added some romance and ambience to the already beautiful scene.

Back in Venice, we wandered back to our apartment with a stop at Captain Candy (danger!) and the Co-Op, a local grocery. We tried to warm up a bit before heading back out to catch a vaporetto the ride along the Grand Canal at night. Of course, we snagged another gelato for our walk to the vaporetto, because why not?

The Grand Canal at night is absolutely stunning. The restaurants, bridges, and homes are lit as people head out for an evening of fun memories. We tried to soak it all in as we meandered along the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. Similar to the Grand Canal's beauty at night, the Piazza San Marco was stunning. Kari was in awe of the size and grandeur of the place, particularly when compared against the other squares we had seen prior. The piazza shone from thousands of lights strung throughout. We took a stroll around the lights, while also looking for a place to have an authentic Italian meal. The place we ultimately chose was not far off the square. I had some good spaghetti and meatballs, while Kari had spaghetti and scampi. Unfortunately, hers was not as good as mine. We will have to find a better spot for her tomorrow.

After dinner, we walked back to our apartment. The city was starting to buzz and come to life. All of the small roads were packed with people as we could hear some bars starting to overflow into the streets. We crossed the Rialto Bridge one final time to get back to the side of the Grand Canal we were staying.

Before getting back, we stopped for one more gelato, our third of the day. Since it was our third, we opted to share a strawberry, raspberry, and lemon gelato. This was probably our favorite place we have tried thus far. Dangerous it is only a couple blocks from the apartment we are staying in.

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