Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Lagoon

We paid the big bucks and got a 12 hour pass for unlimited rides on the vaporetti. Then we spent the day cruising the Venetian lagoon, island hopping. We visited Cimitero, Murano, Burano and Torcello and spent almost the full 12 hours in the process.

Cimitero was the city cemetery. We had high expectations for a really macabre walk but it turned out to be a non-event. A lot of people have died in Venice over the past hundred years or so, let me tell you. There are rows and rows of tightly packed in-ground graves, apartment blocks similar to those in the Spanish cemetery, strange condominium, upscale apartment monuments with limited spaces and a more decorative environment. I couldn’t help but think of the “old folks” home of eternity. There were also numerous crypts, little family tombs all packed together in the posh neighbourhood of the island. Even in death, we segregate by wealth. The whole island is devoted to death. I wonder what happens when it floods?

The next island was Murano. This is the famous location of all the glass you may have heard about. We watched a few different people working with glass and went in and out of too many glass stores to count thereby boring the males in our family. Julia and I both found a little something to wear though we agreed we could have bought more. It is interesting to note that these craftspeople still had all of their fingers, unlike the sword crafter in Toledo. There was a store that sold glass mosaic tiles and it seemed like such a great thing to buy but we resisted. Basically, none of us felt we could do the job our heads envisioned. The island was quite charming with canals and bridges just like Venice. We saw a “DHL Express” boat piled with boxes for delivery. They are the “Fed Ex” of Germany. The route for deliveries must be a different canal in Venice because we didn't see any "trucks" there. It was fun to see their business as usual cruising the canals.

Our next stop was Burano. Jean and Vern had visited this island when they were in Venice so it made us feel a bit closer to walk the streets. This had to be the cutest of the islands. The town planner had really done a great job. Everyone’s house was painted a bright colour and the effect was cheerful and fun. We took lots of pictures here because even though the city of Venice was gorgeous with its canals, this little ‘burb was almost more picturesque…almost.

We hopped across the lagoon to the last island, the rarely visited, Torcello. This is where Venice was born. After the fall of Rome, a group of the Romans fled to hide here, on Torcello. They must have been fairly intelligent, well-off individuals to make a go of a city on an island. We didn’t see a water source and can’t quite figure out how they managed to make the place livable but history says they did. The irony is that of all the islands in the Venetian lagoon, this is the least developed.

To get back to Venice, we caught the wrong boat and wound up on a lovely tour of other places before the boat turned around and brought us back to Burano and finally on to Venice. It took about two hours and was a very nice sunset cruise.


m said...

Great to talk today and to see the pictures with the commentary. Glad to see Tom in at least ONE of the pictures...:) Have a good trip to Milan...Love Mom

Rhonda Staples said...

The Italian glass maker looks kinda cute ;)