I have a couple of hours downtime before my train leaves for Lake Como, so I thought I’d tell you a bit about what went on Sunday and Monday in Venice.
Sunday, I decided to go to Murano. Mom wanted some glass beads for her art and I like buying direct from the manufacturer, so it worked out perfectly. I also wanted to go to the glass museum that is on the island. Murano is basically a mini-Venice with way fewer people and it is only accessible by boat (the number 5 from San Marco is the most direct). It was really cute but I didn’t have much time to explore. Here are some general pictures of the island.
Next, I went to the glass museum. It was very interesting. I, obviously, enjoy learning about history and the history of glass sort of tells the history of Murano, in many ways. They had glass from Roman times until the present. It is amazing what they can make out of glass! Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures inside but I did take some of the courtyard/garden, which was lovely.
After, I had a lovely lunch at a small place right on a canal. I had pasta with clams in a very light white wine sauce. It was delicious! I also got to see some interesting boating, in particular an amazing instance of parallel parking, U-turn, and then parallel parking again. A guy was dropping off a tour group and then had to turn the boat around in order to face the right way. It was some kind of skill! I am a pretty good parallel parker in a car, but it must take YEARS to get that good in a boat!
Finally I wandered around the island and bought some glass jewelry and beads. I went into a couple of the furnace showrooms and looked at the amazing creations. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to see anything being made but the end products blew me away. The chandeliers are completely ridiculous. I think I said something about them in relation to the Doge’s palace and I felt the same way in the showroom. Here is a picture of one (that I got off the internet). This is a traditional chandelier that I saw in the palaces I visited. The only difference is that in several cases, the glass flowers are all different colors. Completely amazing!
I didn’t have a lot of time because I wanted to go to the 6:45 mass at San Marco and I needed to change (Italian churches are very concerned with shoulders and knees). If I’m at a large, touristy church, I much prefer going to mass because I get to see things in action, so to speak. The 6:45 mass, I read, was particularly excellent. So I got to my room, changed, and had about 25 minutes to get to the church. I decided to go a different way, that was shorter… can we guess where this went? I got lost and ended up running through the streets of Venice, stopping every so often to ask for directions. I made it just before mass was starting and took my seat. Now keep in mind that it is hot, humid, I’m wearing a half sleeved cotton dress and leggings, and I just ran for 10 minutes. I was DRIPPING with sweat, yuck! Either way, I made it and the mass was amazing.
Again, I like respecting houses of worship so I didn’t take any pictures, but I want to describe what it is like inside San Marco (you can google pictures if you want). First, there are many domes, it is of Byzantine design so it is completely different from the Gothic cathedrals that I’m used to from France and England. Every inch of the ceiling (starting from about half way up the walls) is covered in a massive mosaic filled with the trinity, saints, angels, stories, all sorts of things (for my medieval friends, when there are words they are in classic abbreviations that can be found in Cappelli, which was convenient). The most amazing part of the mosaic, however, and where the basilica got it’s nickname of Chiesa d’Oro, is the the entire background is gold. I mean real sparkly, could feed a nation, gold. The reason I went to this particular mass is 1. to avoid the crowds and not stand in line, and 2. because this is the only time the ceiling is lit up. When tourists go into the church, the ceiling is shadowed and it is difficult to see everything, during this particular mass, lights are shining directly on the mosaics and it is phenomenal! I didn’t realize the difference until they turned them off after mass, but it is significant. They also had a choir, which was amazing. It was like a movie.
After mass, I went back to my room to change and then off to the Fish for dinner, which I ended up missing. Luckily, Jacob, had made tiramisu so I ended up having that for dinner. It was delish! Then I left early and took the night cruise up the Grand Canal and saw all the palaces lit up. It was lovely. (Sorry the pictures aren’t that great; it was, well, dark.)
I got back to my room around 11 and I couldn’t get in the house. For whatever reason, my key wouldn’t turn, and no one was there, so I had to walk back to the Fish (about a mile) get Hans to call Jacob and then walk back and of course, when I went back my key was fine. I was exhausted, my feet were killing me (I had decided to wear cute shoes that night, not realizing that I was going to add 2 miles to my trip), and I went to bed.
Monday was going to be another museum day but it turns out, all of the museums I wanted to see are closed on Mondays, SOOO… I wandered around, did some shopping, and got a little lost (which was part of the plan). I had my first Italian capuccino, which was excellent, and had my first Italian pizza, which was so-so. In my wandering, I found an amazing string trio, just playing in the square of the Chiesa Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. It was excellent and really made my day, I gave them 5 euros and convinced the people sitting next to me to give them 5 euros also. Here are some pictures of my wandering and the trio.
That evening, I went to the Fish for dinner and met Ash, a soon to be lawyer from Australia, and Andrea, a traveler from Germany. Everyone went out to a bar, again, and the three of us got a table and just chatted for a couple hours. It was nice. I hope they’ll keep in touch.
And that’s it. That’s Sunday and Monday in Venice. Oh, and it was basically impossible to keep track of how much I walked in Venice. I tried but I simply didn’t know where I’d been, it was always at least 3 miles and probably up to 5. However, my grand total in Paris was about 120 miles.