We ran a bit late meeting Markus & Alex in the morning at Piazza San Marco and had not eaten breakfast. Not too surprisingly, the square was largely deserted. There were a few people setting up for the expected flood of people; this early in the morning we had the piazza to ourselves.
The plan was to purchase a 12 hour unlimited pass on ACTV, Venice’s transportation service, and to visit Murano and Burano. We backtracked to find a cappuccino for Ellen and I and an ATM. Having an abbreviated breakfast after the sumptuous ones aboard ship was a welcome change. At home we usually eat a light breakfast.
Finding an ATM was a bit of a problem, no banks were open at 7:45 and most coffee shops were also closed or just setting up. I asked at a hotel where we could find an ATM and was directed to a small square with just one. Saved! We had passed a coffee shop and retraced our steps to get cappuccino. There was a wait and I left the group to find the ATM while they ordered coffee.
Following the hotel concierges directions I found the ATM. We had left our last Euro as a tip on the Odyssey and needed some Euros badly. On two trys the ATM failed to communicate internationally. Disappointed I headed back to the group and a coffee. As I arrived Ellen, Markus, and Alex were just sitting down with coffees in take away containers. As I was settling into a chair, the gal behind the counter setup a fuss about not having paid for the table, the coffee was take away. Ok, how much more for the table? Two Euros each, $8e more to sit! Wow. Dumb founded and joking about it, we continued our search for an ATM. We rounded a corner that opened onto a larger piazza just past the failing ATM and there were four more of them. The first one I tried worked, and worked as fast or faster than one in the US. Not all ATMs are created equal.
We headed back to the canal sipping cappuccino. There are many kiosks that sell tours of Burano and Murano, which is not what we wanted. To purchase tickets on vaporetto, you use the ticket kiosks at the vaporetto stops. We asked for a 12 hour pass which is no longer sold and had to purchase the 24 hr pass at $20e each. Not a huge issue, but at least 8 of those 24 has cannot be used and the vaporetto service shuts down between midnight and six am (roughly).
The ride to Murano was fun. The boat made a few stops on the way unloading and loading passengers, but generally remaining packed. This surprised me; I thought we had beaten the crowds. It turns out we did beat the crowds to Murano. Sure, there were hundreds of tourists, but it was not abuzz with thousands of us. A barker directed us left to a glass manufacturing demonstration as we departed the boat. This led us past a few shops selling glassware to a factory. We were ushered inside. A fellow created a vase and a horse from two glowing blobs of glass. It was fun to watch and though the artisan worked very quickly, the results were impressive. We couldn’t help but dally in the glass shops, though nothing appealed to us.
By now it was approaching noon. Every now and then a boatload of people disembarked. We pushed on to Burano rather than having lunch on Murano. Walking the main street to the vaporetto stop on the other side of the small island, we found the shopping area of Murano. There are many shops selling glass baubles of all kinds, from individual glass beads to overly ornate chandeliers. Alex was drawn into one shop that also appealed to me. Ash she picked up a pendant, a shop keeper came over and explained how it was created and what made it special. I was drawn to a very unusual ornate glass sculpture like thing in blue and beige. Alex decided against the pendant. I inquired of the sculpture and put it back down when the price was mentioned. It was not exorbitant, but we don’t need another thing to carry with us.
Off to Burano we went. As you might surmise by now, Murano is known for its glass factories. In the 1200’s (if memory serves) after a fire, Venice decreed that all glass furnaces would move to Murano which is how the island became a center for Venetian glass. Burano is known for its lace and its multi colored houses.
We strolled Burano’s streets, had pizza and beer (I had beer, the others water), took many photographs. The island never became crowded, not like Venice proper. Around 4pm we walked to the vaporetto stop and headed back to Murano.
Walking down the main street in Murano to the vaporetto back to Venice, we could not help but stop in some of the shops along the way. Stopping at the last glass shop near the vaporetto stop, the girls chose similar pendant and earring sets. The sop closed just after we walked out. Murano glasswork is quite remarkable. Most of the items sold are glass trinkets, mementos of a trip to Murano while some of the glasswork are truly works of art.
Back in Venice, we agreed to meet for dinner around 19:30 and headed our separate ways.