Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 6- Venice

We slept in today, catching up on much-needed rest. While I woke up to
sunshine and birdsong at 7am, by the time we wandered away from the
hostel at 11:30, it was sprinkling again. The forecast calls for rain
all weekend, but I can't mind since we knew that summers can be rainy
The island where we're staying- San Erasmo- is gorgeous. It's a small
agricultural island, so all around us were fields full of plants. The
houses are tidy and surrounded by flowers, and even the fences are
covered in honeysuckle or other flowering vines. It's ridiculously
peaceful here, and I can't help but think that I'd love to live in a
place like this. It's enough removed from the city to make me happy,
but with easy enough access for Chris, and the silence of the night
before was bliss- no cars, no sirens, no diesel fumes or drunken
tourists- just one of the boys who helps to run our hostel singing
softly to himself in Italian as he worked in the back yard.
The hostel itself reminds me of the houses that my stepmom's family
rents each year on the beach. All of the adults in the family pool
together to pay for it, and everyone shares in the cooking and
cleaning. Despite our guest status, that is what it feels like here.
If we ever have children and take them on a family vacation, I'd like
it to be somewhere like here- far enough away from the city not to
worry about their running loose (the hostel grounds are huge and quite
lovely), but close enough to enjoy a day in Venice pretty easily.
We missed the vaporetto and ended up getting on the wrong one, so that
added an hour to our travels, but at length we arrived in Murano
without additional mishap.
Murano is the glassmakers island, and it is a place of beauty. We
wandered for well over an hour, mesmerized by the artistry around us.
The glassmaking has partly been subsumed by cheaper Chinese imports,
so it can be hard to walk past the much cheaper goods, often of
similar quality, for the more expensive authentic Murano glass.
We struggled, but managed to only go into shops with their own
fondamenta, or factory. We also looked all over for a place to eat- we
were both starving-but everywhere seemed to be yet another tourist
trap with high prices and poor food. Finally, though, we turned a
corner and found a little ristorante where we heard more Italian than
English, and saw reasonable prices on the menu. Our host was a fussy
older man who set our table himself, removing a knife to be rewashed
when it didn't meet his standards. When I praised the beautiful
tableware, he showed me that it is made on-site- he owns a glass
factory! I have a feeling that at some point in my life I will be
ordering an extravagantly expensive set of Venetian tableware....
Lunch itself was delicious. I tried an Italian limonsoda, and we
shared a caprese salad and the chef's special: a fettucine with lagoon-
caught fish, tomatoes, and asparagus. It was absolutely fantastic, we
both loved it. Afterwards, we spent a few more hours walking around
and shopping, enjoying the beautiful little town with it's hundreds of
glass shops, each more extravagant than the last. I looked all over
for a teacup, but couldn't find one below €80 until Chris finally
found one, hidden in a little shop, for €49. So we made our last few
purchases hurriedly, catching an evening vaporetto back to the hostel
where I am lounging and being lazy, and Chris I wandering down to the
beach in search of food.
The sun is setting over the lagoon, and the breeze is getting chilly
as Im sitting on the wide, gracious front porch of our temporary home.
I will miss this place, I think, when we leave in the morning.

The only real blasphemy is the refusal of joy. -"Jeffrey"

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