venice is for lovers

we started the day with homemade scrambled eggs and red peppers, olives, fruit, and crunchy breadsticks that mom jacked from the restaurant the night before. it was delicious!
the plan was to tour murano (the glass-blowing island) first and then come back for st. mark’s basilica (because apparently it wasn’t open except for a few hours in the afternoon) but when we got to the square we saw people on the second-floor terrace and figured it was open. joann and i climbed the steep staircase to the top and ralized it was just the gallery and terrace for 4€ but we decided we might as well do it since we were there. we could see parts of the basilica ceilings and walls, which are completely mosaic and incredible. the coolest part was that we could hear the singing and smell the incense from the service in progress. we walked the halls lined with tapestries, huge song books, paintings, etc. before walking out on the terrace to admire the view of the square and doge’s palace. it was getting very hot and the others were waiting so we took pictures and climbed back down the steep staircase, heading to the vaporetto en route to murano.

joann and me on the balcony

view of st. mark’s square from the balcony

on the boat we passed by the beach island of lido and several other smaller islands, one of which had a giant elephant statue. from then on we noticed elephants everywhere! we’re still unsure of their significance.

view of the gondolas as we left san marco

that crazy elephant

the island was full of glass shops and i think we went in every single one – some twice! one of the shops gave us a demonstration. it is unbelievable how quickly and easily they create each item!

we walked through the shop attached to the “show room” and i received another proposal… this time though it got mom a discount! i could barely understand his name at the time so i certainly couldn’t spell it now, but we had a funny conversation. i was having a hot flash after being crammed in the room with a large group of people in front of a glass furnace and he took my discomfort to be because of him.
after a series of questions and holding my hand:
“i think i make you uncomfortable.”
“no, i’m just really hot!”
“where is your mom? we go tell her we are going to get married and you stay here with me.”
clearly my discomfort didn’t phase him…

my italian fritz – met him in front of one of the many shops
he felt like velvet!

pretty picture of murano

murano hangs their dirty laundry for all to see

by this time it was late in the afternoon so we headed back to san marco where i was “attacked” by the pigeons. their claw-hands are so warm that i kept thinking they were pooping on me. one nested itself in my hair and wouldn’t get off even when i shook my head back and forth!

all of us headed back to san marco on the vaporetto

we walked a different way home discovering new alleys and, of course, new shops. for dinner we ate at a self-service cafeteria-like place suggested by stevie, as gaylyn started to call our “tour guide.” they had a great pesto pasta, pretty good fish, and a nice house wine, but since it was a la carte style it ended up being very expensive.

random street

translation: street of wine :)

afterwards we strolled to the rialto bridge for a great night view of the grand canal. the area was crowded with sidewalk tables full of people drinking wine and beer. mom and grandma went back to the apartment while jojo, gaygay and i let ourselves get “lost.” we continued walking down dark alleys and around new corners which led us to hidden squares. as we passed in front of the canalside ristorante, we laughed at a little boy standing at the entrance, dressed as roman soldier, holding out a basket for passers-by to drop in coins. as we looked up one of the hosts/servers from the next ristorante asked if we’d like to sit and then he grabbed my face and kissed both of my cheeks. i was in such shock that i just stood there with my jaw dropped. the three of us walked on, laughing all the way to the boat. i grabbed some berry flavored gelato for the ride home. (it was my favorite of the whole trip!)

little boy in front of the restaurant with a basket out for coins

the girls in front of rialto

night view of the grand canal from the rialto bridge

back at the a.p.t. we sadly packed our bags and went to bed to rest for our morning train to florence.

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