It feels like we just arrived in Murano a few minutes ago and now we are set to leave the lagoon with seriously heavy hearts. I join you from seat 15F on Volotea flight # 1260. The journey that lead us to our spacious and comfortable seats on this somewhat antique Boing 717 (never heard of them) was almost stress free considering that our day began at 04:50. I will get back to that near the conclusion of today’s blog but for now I will recap our last 48 hrs in Venice and Murano.
Upon arrival at Santa Lucia railway station we left our train on platform 3 and made our way to the exit. That exit immediately draws your attention to the Grand Canal and that all important first impression for a visitor to Venice. Given our evening arrival time the station was busy and full of life. If you believe what you read on numerous travel websites, one is supposed to closely guard ones personal items from the foreign gentlemen who are notorious for sticky fingers and general thievery. As those of you who know me and my travel companion, I think you will agree that we are not afraid to scream obscenities with tyrannical facial expressions at anyone who gets inside our hula hoop (so to speak).
So without incident of theft we stood and took in the sites,sounds and smells for several minutes before committing to the water bus ticket office and the purchase of our transport to Murano. Just mere seconds before we stepped forward to pay a very kind Roman lady tapped Dale on the shoulder and gave us her unused tickets that were good until 22:00. She explained she was just about to board her train for home and wished to pass them on.
With that good fortune and a 14 euro savings we began our voyage to Murano Colonno with even wider smiles. The journey was fabulous as always and the warm humid air took me right back to past visits. Some time for a few photos along the way and in no time really we were jumping off at Colonno station and making our way to meet Flavia at her Airbnb.
We arrived at #51 on Murano’s main canal amongst a hubbub of activity that I for one was not expecting. There is a bridge that crosses the canal adjacent to Flavia’s place that was being used as a set for what was in actual fact a full on Bollywood film production.
The eponymous hero and his beautiful love interest were walking gracefully towards each other from either side of the bridge with that loving gaze that only Bollywood can do. We watched and watched as one does when they come upon a Bollywood movie set. I later texted a friend at home that encouraged me to somehow find my way into the cast as a back up dancer. I am well known for doing a graceful screwing in of the lightbulb (no offence intended to my Indian friends but I am vacant to that particular dance’s real name).
Flavia was a lovely lady and quick to welcome us to her very modern and recently renovated apartment one floor above the canal. She showed us around and intimated that she could make up the second bed if we would like. I don’t think her gaydar was functioning properly as I’m usually not mistaken for being in a same sex relationship. Dale quickly explained that we would require both beds and soon after the penny dropped and Flavia was picking up what we were putting down.
We stowed our gear and made our way down the canal for dinner at a local pizzeria. I had the Siciliano and Dale the prosciutto. A couple of Moretti’s and the evening was well on its way. The pizza was excellent and the service was very good. Surprisingly we opted for no Dolce after dinner but there was room for another Moretti.
Once we pushed back from the table, we paid, said our goodbyes and walked off to explore the neighbourhood at night. As in my past experiences here you could have heard a pin drop as we wandered and wandered through a serpentine maze of paths along the water.
Probably just enough exercise to ward off the pizza night terrors and there we were back at Flavia’s. Asleep in seconds and early to rise as there is no time like 06:00 to head back to Venice to visit all the biggies before the cruise ships disembark and the bus tours arrive.
Believe it or not after 20 minutes of wandering the Jewish Ghetto we arrived at St. Mark’s Square just in time to share it with four or five other people. As you know it is a huge place and if you arrive anytime after 10:00 you will be surrounded by literally tens of thousands of witless drones following their disenchanted flag waving guides who appear to be giving off that please shoot me now vibe.
Well thankfully we can report no such encounters as we beat the rush. From the piazza we took in the bridge of sighs and the Realto before disappearing back into the neighbourhoods for a couple more cappuccinos and pane’ chocolato.
Upon inhaling those it was time to fulfill a dream of Dale’s to try the Culatello ham from a local butcher who seemed pleased to chat. I suppose you have to pay lip service to a customer who is willing to pay 12 euros for 50 grams of what turned out to be a perfectly cured ham that tasted like an angel peeing on your tongue.
By 12:00 we were back aboard the ferry to Murano and wandering the glass factories that it is known for. No it’s not where Nissan makes useless SUV’S. Dale had a quick haggle as he is used to do and moments later he was in possession of a gift. I on the other hand don’t have that entrepreneurial spirit and choose poorly to pay full price.
Back to Flavia’s and an afternoon siesta to ward off the effects of several hours on the hoof as they say. I was woken by the sound of my FaceTime alert and answered a call from my eldest son who was just back from driving his olive drab G-Wagon through the flood waters of Fredericton New Brunswick. He described the horrible damage to the local homes and the work that his comrades with the combat engineers were doing to stem the tides. It was really nice to chat to Mackenzie and after half an hour we parted company and Dale and I packed our bags for the last ferry to Marco Polo airport and our stay at the nearby Best Western Titian.
We grabbed a cab from the airport and were checking in 5 minutes later. Our new friend Stefanie at the desk was very helpful and checked us in very quickly. Our first room was somewhat small and some may say set up for a couple. To say it was a little tight may have been an understatement so we returned to visit Stefanie with a request to move to a more appropriate space. Stefanie was there to help and next thing we knew we were moving to room 237 which turned out to be a three bedroom apartment with room to spare. Stefanie also suggested we visit a local restaurant for locals around 300 hundred metres away. Well that couldn’t have gone much better.
Mussels in a white wine broth and Venetian Shrimp on small beds of polenta for the first course. That was followed by the local sea bream and a mixed grill of beef, lamb and pork. Both were accompanied by mixed grilled seasonal veggies.
After a leisurely meal we were asked if we would like some Dolce? Of course we would and to be sure when in the Veneto one must have the tiramisu. Now I’m not sure what heavenly ingredients they used in their local preparation of this inexplicably good potion but suffice to say it had the capability of turning us both into tiramisu junkies immediately.
So much so that after we licked the generous serving glasses clean we experienced that undeniable craving that you get when you need another hit. So there we are almost mainlining tiramisu in front of the clearly horrified staff. In fact, if I hadn’t come clean to the waiter when we paid he would have struck the second two from the bill as no one in their right mind has two. A short walk back to the Titian and I was able to catch the last ten minutes of the Liverpool vs Roma game. Roma slam two in the back of the net to break the tie and win 4-2.
So there, we are now flying 37000 feet above Naples and 45 minutes from Catania. From what we read a rainy Sicily awaits our arrival. Perhaps the convertible Fiat Spider won’t get that chance to loose it’s hat but if our luck continues, perhaps the clouds will part and we can happily motor through the hill towns with an accompaniment of the three tenors singing their operatic hearts out.
Until next time!