Postcard from Venice, Burano, and Murano

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Whatever floats your boat
To be honest, I had mixed feelings about going to Venice. Don't get more wrong, I was excited to go and see a new place - a well known place in Italy. Also, this trip was with Accent, so they handled all those nitty gritty details. At times it almost seemed free, because we weren't paying for transportation or the hotel. (But it was included in the program fee, so not really free...) I had mixed feelings, because I had heard of people who thought Venice was over rated but also of people who LOVED it. Luckily, at the end of the trip I decided that I fall into the latter group of people. 

We started the journey to Venice bright and early Friday morning. Traveling on early mornings makes me thankful that we are only about ten minutes away from the train station! With the number of people on the trip, Accent provided two buses for us. Madi and I, are on the hunt to find the perfect bus seat...... we still haven't found it!

Because there aren’t really any roads in Venice, the bus parked right outside of the city. Then as a group we took the “People Mover” to Venice. (they actually call it the people mover because they don’t have a word that is equivalent.) From the People Mover, we crossed a bridge that was right by the train station. We didn’t have to walk far from our hotel, because it was also next to the train station. At the hotel, our Accent guides checked us into our rooms. Our room was on the last floor, and we had to walk up some narrow stairs to get there. Stairs have slowly become our new BFFs. After getting settled in our rooms, we headed out to lunch with a big group of girls. I had pizza, because when does pizza not sound good and also it’s usually the cheapest on the menu. Because we arrived in Venice earlier than expected, we had time to roam around after lunch.

At 2:30, we arrived back at the Hotel to meet for a walking tour of Venice. They divided us into three small groups and then we were on our way. Within the first few minutes, I realized what people mean when they say it is like a maze! We saw a lot of things on this tour, I wish I could remember every detail but that never happens! I loved these tours, because I learn so many new things, but sometimes it’s information overload.

A school window that we passed! As future educators, Madi and I were excited!

Our tour guide described these windows as "Venetian Gothic"

The beak masks were used by Doctors. The other masks were used by the men in Venice. The shape of the mouth area even altered their voice!

The building Johnny Depp jumps from in The Tourist.

Columns of the Fish Market

These men, shuffle people from one side of the canal to the other all day! 

This picture doesn't have any significance besides the windows. You see these window designs everywhere! I love the simplicity of both. Maybe one day I'll have one of these window designs in my own home!

On the tour, we visited where Marco Polo lived

These cookies you can find in the bakeries around Venice, they are shaped to look like the Grand Canal!

When the tour ended, our Accent guides handed us cards, that ended up being a 72 hour pass to use the public transportation. This was something that came in handy for Saturday. We were free for the rest of the night.  Madi, Kylie, Cheryl, Lainey, Taylor and I headed to a restaurant our tour guide suggested. For five euros, you could take part in this appetizer buffet. We definitely got our five euros worth. After going back to get more food, I felt so American! But other people were doing the same thing too! From dinner, we headed back to our hotel. There is not a lot to do at night in Venice, so we hung out in the hotel. Our friends came to our room to watch a movie, and we just ended up talking till we went to bed! It was one of my favorite nights, because we laughed so much! I also had a major leg cramp in my calf right in the middle of our conversations. That resulted in a lot of laughs as well!

Saturday started with breakfast at the hotel then a tour of St. Mark's Square. We met our tour guides there in the square by the water. The sound of the water was so relaxing! This is the moment when I started to fall in love with Venice. Friday was a gloomy day, but seeing Venice and her glory in the sun sealed the deal. The TCU group for the tour was smaller than Friday's. Some didn't come back, because they didn't care for their tour guide! I guess we lucked out, because we loved ours! With the same guide from the day before we started the tour of the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica. You couldn't take pictures in St. Mark's but the golden walls were breathtaking as they glowed in the light!

The entrance into Venice!

People would put anonymous tips into the mouth. Someone on the other side would read the tips, and investigate into them. 

St. Marks Square in the picture!

Notice something funny about his leg??

The Bridge of Sighs

After our tour, we spent the afternoon exploring the islands Murano and Burano. Our first stop was Murano, known for their glass blowing. We walked around the shops looking at the different glass things. I ended up with some cheese knives. We also saw a glass demonstration that was really neat! He made a vase and a horse. In the process of making the vase, the two workers busted our laughing, none of us where sure the exact reason, but we had fun guessing!

Friends & Food..... what more can you want?!?

Loved the glass roses on this door frame!

From Murano, we headed to Burano, the island of lace. We took vaporettos to all of the islands. (Just think if a boat was a bus, it would be a vaporetto) They were a little slow, sometimes super crowded, but I enjoyed each ride. Something about being on the water is so peaceful! As soon as we docked in Burano, I fell in love. Burano is full of brightly colored houses that just make my heart happy. We walked around Burano taking pictures of the houses, and walking into the shops. The shops are full of  lace to buy! I ended up buying a small lace butterfly, from a shop. It was a little bit more money than I wanted to spend, but the lady was right there working on a pair of lace gloves, so I know it was authentic! Also, once you ask the price and walk away, I feel you are telling them their art/craft isn't worth that much to you. I bought the butterfly because it reminded me of my Daddy! I've seen so many butterfly displays in Florence (I guess you could blame that on spring but..), and seeing them in Burano made me smile! I wished we would of had more time to spend in Burano, but we had to make it back to Venice before the last vaporetto of the day. Truthfully, I wouldn't of minded getting stuck there! 


Look at her go!

How I felt about having to leave Burano!

Once we were back in Venice, we headed to Harry's Bar. That morning our tour guide mentioned Harry's as the place where the owner, Giuseppe Cipriani, and Ernest Hemingway invented the Bellini.  We figured it would be a fun to get a Bellini.... in the place where it was invented! Our tour guide had mentioned how pricey some of the caffe's were in St. Mark's Square were, so we imagined that she would have mentioned Harry's was expensive if it was. Well friends, it was expensive. We orginally said a table for dinner, and they took us upstairs. We opened the menu and sorta freaked! The cheapest thing at first glance was nineteen euros and it only went up from there! I didn't want to walk out since they had already taken us upstairs, so I kindly explained we just wanted a bellini and not dinner. Well, the bellini's were 16.50.... each. We decided to each order one and then get out of there as fast as we could! The bellini was pretty excellent (and smelled like my Peach Bellini B&BW's candle) but we for sure won't be going back soon. At least we have a funny story to tell!

At least we got some free olives!

Since we didn't get dinner at Harry's we were on the hunt for dinner! Taylor suggested this to-go pasta place, which is rated #1 on Yelp! We made our way there, and it was the cutest little place! You ordered your pasta, and you got it in a little cup! I decided on seafood, Taylor got meat sauce, and Madi got squid ink pasta( it was black, but so good!). Plus, the pasta was only five euros! We decided the bellini was okay because we had dinner both nights for five euros each meal. With happy stomachs, we headed to our hotel for the night. 

Sunday, we had the day free to explore Venice till we headed back to Florence. Our first mission was to do a Gondola ride! Surprisingly, we walked around a bit before we found a free Gondola! Our gondolier's name was Marco. He was very entertaining for our ride, and even agreed to sing for us! He even answered all of our questions about being a, "have you had anyone fall off?!?" My love for Venice was sealed at every turn down the canals! After our Gondola ride, we walked around Venice and did some shopping!

a vaperetto!

Flag of Venice

The baby was crying... I don't blame him!

It's easy to get lost in Venice, but there are also these signs that point you back to major land marks!

Sunday afternoon, we left Venice and headed back home! We got into around Florence around 5pm, and little earlier than most of our weekend trips. It was a relaxing weekend and I already can't wait to find my way back to Venice one day!


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