We began our third day with a island tour; Murano, Burano & Torcello.
The meeting point was just past St Mark’s Basilica, down by all the boats on the lagoon, but it was a bit difficult to find. The directions on the ticket mentioned a yellow desk by a bridge, but we didn’t realise it was a portable desk that would be wheeled out of an alley 10 minutes before the meeting time. If you’re booking any boat tours, keep a lookout for that.
I took sealegs again for this, because I get horrendously sea sick, even in calm water. The boat was a reasonable size, bigger than I anticipated, with a toilet and a place to buy food and drink.
Our first stop was Murano, famous for its glassblowing. Absolutely everywhere we’ve been so far has Murano glass for sale. Whether it’s authentic or not, I can’t say. We got to witness a couple of things being made; a vase and a horse. Its incredible how quickly the glassblower can shape the glass with such precision and detail. I’m sure the glass has to be at least a certain temperature to mold, but it was still fascinating to watch.
Then we went into the showroom and shop, where you can see some mind-blowingly beautiful creations. I would love a chandelier; perhaps one day when I’m rich. I believe everything in there is for sale, but you have to ask the price and you’re not allowed to take photos, or I would have. You can buy statues of animals, jewellery, dinner sets, small ornaments, and many other things. I bought a small glass cat (what a surprise). They were €15 each or 3 for €30, so I split it with 2 friends.
Next was Burano, a fishing village, with brightly coloured houses, and where they make beautiful lace. We had a small introduction in a lace shop, before having time to explore. They make clothes, tablecloths, all sorts. Some things take a year to make! They are quite expensive, and I completely understand why. We looked around, bought gelato, then headed back to the boat.
Torcello was the last stop, and was quite different from the othet two islands. Its population is much smaller, and the main attractions are a couple of churches and museums. You can take paid tours, sadly we didn’t have time, otherwise I would have liked to learn about Torcello’s history.
Each time we arrived at an island, we were told to be back at the boat at a specific time, or they’d leave without us. On Torcello, the boat actually left two people behind because they were 4 minutes late! The tour people knew, it wasn’t by accident, and they didn’t care. So, be careful.
Our total tour time was about 4.5 hours, there was a bit of a wait to get off the boat back in Venice, because there were so many other boats trying to get in and dock as well.
We ate pasta for lunch at a recommended restaurant and it was delicous as always. Yum yum spicy tomato penne.
The rest of the afternoon was spent changing hotels. After a change in our plans that led to an extra night in Venice, we had to book a second hotel because the first one was unavailable. We took a waterbus from the Rialto stop to the train station, at €7,50 each, instead of having to battle people and bridges for an hour.
The second hotel turned out to be a hostel with a lot of stairs. Next time I will be packing even lighter. Suitcases are difficult.
My partner and I had booked a night gondola ride with serenade and dinner. Unfortunately, we had to walk all the way back to where our first hotel was to get to the meeting spot. Now, we thought we had booked a private gondola ride, something cheesy and maybe romantic, because its Venice. We were wrong. The next paragraph will be a lot of complaining, so skip ahead if you don’t want to read it.
So first off, we had to share the gondola with 4 other people, and because we were the last 2 in, we didn’t get to sit next to each other. The serenade part was one singer on one gondola out of a group of 4 gondolas so we could barely hear him. Our gondola driver spent the whole time eating, drinking, smoking and making random comments. The woman sitting next to me talked on her phone for a good portion of it, then loudly to her husband about the phone call. Romantic? Hell no. The ride lasted about 30 minutes and we went past other gondolas that only had 2 people in them. The restaurant for dinner was nearby and I’ll cut this short by saying it was the only bad meal I’d had the entire trip (and it was worth €50). I haven’t left a review, because I need to leave some positive ones first.
Next time, I would do a regular gondola ride during the day, like our friends did. It does cost €80 for 30 minutes, but that’s divided by the total number of people, not the cost each.