June 21, 2010

Venice & her smaller siblings - Day 3

On our 2nd full day in Venice, we were awoken at 5:30 am by a knock on the door. A couple of our fellow travelers had a wild hair to get up early... and then they ended up going back to sleep! We took advantage of the unordered wake up call, and were well rewarded. We snuck out into the weak morning light and padded over the Rialto, through the winding streets and walked out onto Piazza San Marco around 6:30am.

It was magical. The streets and piazzas were nearly empty {most people out were street cleaners or other tourists like us}, and it allowed us a glimpse of the serenity and grandeur that is woven into the history of Venezia. If you go, you must see Venice in the early morning hours before she is thronging with tourists and peddlars. This is the Venice people write stories about.

As we wandered back to the Rialto, things were starting to pick up a bit. We grabbed another breakfast at Goppian then headed to the market again and bought {too much} food for dinner, including delicious seafoods and amazing white asparagus.

And if that wasn't enough... then we went to the Islands. Yes, we hit up Burano and Murano after already spending several hours wandering through the back alleys of history and deliciousness.

We bought transport passes from the Rialto vaporetto stop from the automatic machines, though they have people selling tickets too (24 hours for 16Euro, instead of 6.50 per trip-a good deal and kept us from having a buy tickets before each ride) and took the vaporetto from Fondamente Nuvo (line LN- you may have to walk down aways from the 'normal Fondamente Nuvo stop- there are actually 2 docks within about 200 feet of each other and different lines stop at each one) out to Burano, where I quickly developed an obsession with photographing drying laundry. Weird.

Burano is known for its brightly colored homes {and lace}, and they certainly didn't disappoint! We wandered the island, bought some small pieces of lace {and the first of many scarves}, and then headed to lunch at Trattoria Da Romano. Reservations weren't required for us at noon when we went {yay shoulder season!}, but for dinner I think they would be a must (or for lunch during high season). The food was amazing!! Very simple, but the fresh ingredients and excellent cooking techniques made the flavors dance together, and we were all enchanted. We had the goh rissotto and numerous pasta dishes, as well as a frito misto, which was really just a mix of fried things. Honestly, I would skip the frito misto next time and stick with the amazingly prepared cuttlefish pasta, or the gnochetti with lobster. *drool* The house wine was amazing, and the service was superb. One of the table runners, an adorable older gentleman, pointed to a picture of President Carter's wife at the restaurant, then to the young many behind her- 'Thats me!'. It was pretty amazing to see that he was still there, which shows a marked difference between restaurant staff in the US versus Europe- there they are paid well enough and treated well enough that working as a waiter/etc can earn one a respectable living. Not so much in America{except in the rare case}.

After lunch we rolled onto the vaporetto headed towards Murano, all excited to see a glass-blowing demonstration. But... they only do those in the morning. So be warned, if that is what you are looking for, make sure you hit Murano up first and then head to Burano. For us, without the glass-blowing demos Murano was just kinda meh- there were dozens of stores selling amazing glass, but as much as we wanted good quality souvenirs, we just weren't willing to pay 100 Euro for a vase, so for the most part we didn't even find anything to buy. We did end up walking into a back area where people actually live, and that was pretty. Murano seems to be a ritzier place to live- everyone had gated courtyards and much more space than you'll find in most of Venice.

We finally got on the vaporetto back to Venice, wandered our way 'home' and those who were so inclined started cooking up a seafood feast that the poor rental kitchen could barely support {don't ask me how they managed- I just stayed out of the way and drank my fragolino }.

Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go. - Truman Capote

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