The Islands of the Venice lagoon

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April 29th 2013
Published: May 1st 2013
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Todays gelato flavours - GMB -Melon and GLB - good old chocolate

The day dawned a bit drizzly and we were hoping it was going to clear as we have activity planned for the outdoors and wearing raincoats is not in the equation.

Breakfast at the Hotel Germania was excellent with the chance to have a boiled egg.....oh how we have missed our morning egg.And we could make toast to go with it with nice soft bread.

The ferry service out of Venice terminates at a town 18km from where we are at Lido di Jesolo down the peninsula that sticks out and protects Venice from the open sea and essentially creates a lagoon in which there are several islands which you can travel to by a ferry.

It was clear,as we travelled down the road to the ferry terminal,that this area is not just about hotels in the vicinity of where we are staying.We counted 29 camping grounds in the 18km and most of them seemed to have opened for the season as there was a reasonable amount of traffic on the road including a lot of people on bicycles.The land is dead flat and their was a cycle way that basically ran the length of the peninsula making it safe to cycle.

We noticed that at each bus stop there was a cycle rack and invariably there were one or two bicycles left there while the owners took a bus to where they going probably a greater distance away than what they wanted to cycle.This is not something we have ever seen in NZ and are we being over the top thinking that if you did try this in NZ your bicycle wouldn't be there when you got back on the bus?!

We also noticed that a lot of the cars on the road had Dutch number plates.Perhaps the Dutch like to take a spring rather than a summer holiday?

There was a large parking bay at the ferry terminal and when we tried to get a discount with our AA card we found that the notice offering the discount was for some other group but the guy on the gate gave us the discount anyway and we parked all day for €5 instead of €7.

We passed the bus park which was full of empty buses and we thought that we were going to encounter a large number of people wanting to catch the ferry that leaves every 30 minutes.As it turned out the ferry was actually larger than we thought it might have been and the hundred odd people waiting all found seats for the one hour cruise across the lagoon.

We had only intended on going to the island of Murano as we did not make it there 4 years ago when we first visited Venice but with the single fare at €7 each vs an all day ticket at €18 with as many trips as you wanted to take we decided on the all day pass and visit Burano and Venice as well.

The drizzle had now cleared and there was a weak sun shining and the temperature in the low 20's was pleasant for walking and sightseeing.

We passed up a stop at Burano,the island known for lace making,but in hindsight we should have hopped off there instead of going on to Murano but more about that shortly.

Murano was another 30 minutes further on and most of the people on the ferry got off there to take in the island world renowned for glass making.

You only have to go a few steps and there is a furnace demonstrating glass blowing and making although it was a bit disappointing that photos and video were banned.It was amazing to watch the guy sitting next to the furnace glowing yellow/red hot with shorts on and a piece of leather across the tops of his legs while we rolled the glowing glass from the furnace to make a large vase.

The island is saturated with shops selling every item you could think of that can be made from glass.There was very little uncoloured glass items and it was quite amazing to see the multitudes of different colours that can be moulded into a vase,drinking glasses etc etc.

Many of the stores advertised that their product was genuine Murano glass and gave a certificate to verify it.They do this because apparently stores on the island are now importing Chinese glass and selling it as Murano glass which is rather a shame devaluing the local product and its uniqueness.

I had looked at a bracelet supposedly made from Murano glass in Tauranga before we left home for Gretchen's birthday but decided not to buy it thinking that we would get to Murano on the trip and buy a present for her that was genuine.And that is what I did as soon as Gretchen found a bracelet from the thousands on display in the multitude of shops!So the birthday present was a bit belated but better late than never.

We wandered into the middle of the small island and found a small bar to have a toasted sandwich and a beer watching the locals go about their business.

We decided to take a ferry onto Venice for a short walk around and then head back home stopping off at Burano.However the ferry that was timed to go to Venice either had left before we arrived at the jetty or just didn't arrive.The next ferry was going to Burano so we thought we might as well keep on the move and got on board for the short trip.

Burano is a real cute little place although we had the feeling that lace making as their main attraction wasn't quite as popular as the glass making at Murano.The local houses were very attractive to look at and very photogenic and the locals had gone to some effort by painting their homes in different bright colours.In the centre of the island there was a large piazza with restaurants still doing good trade at 3.30pm in the afternoon.

An hour was enough to see most of the town and the shops and we were back on a ferry heading for Venice.We had no idea where the ferry was going to deposit us but we had hoped it would be near St Marks Square.Our hopes were dashed and we were no where near where we had hoped we would be.That didn't put us off walking amongst the narrow alleyways and over canals with gondolas passing by under bridges.In fact it was probably better the ferry arrived where it did as we were able to see parts of Venice that we hadn't walked through last time.There were a couple of good sized churches to look inside but as we have said before perhaps our expectations are too high on what we expect to see inside and both of the ones we entered where not up to others we have seen.

By the time we had had 6 hours of sightseeing we thought it was time to head home and so caught the ferry back to where we had left the car this morning satisfied that we had got to Murano and Burano and also saw another piece of Venice we hadn't previously been to.

Our microwave dinner tonight was shrimps with vegetables and should have had spaghetti with it according to the packet.However after the meal defrosted we discovered there was no spaghetti and it seems like we were supposed to buy that separately and add it to the shrimps etc.Nevertheless it was a tasty meal and quite filling.

Tomorrow our path will take us from the ocean to the mountains and we just hope the weather is reasonably clear as the scenery should be spectacular.

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