Carrying a Torch for Torcello

Trip Start Jun 23, 2011
Trip End Jul 08, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Sunday, June 26, 2011

Most of us slept late and, after family consultation, decided that the Sabbath was a perfect opportunity for a boat trip to the lagoon islands: Murano, Burano and Torcello.  Chris and I each have fond memories of a romantic lunch at Torcello; we don't technically "share" the memory since we can’t agree on when it actually happened but let’s not dwell on petty details.  (Yes, it was on our honeymoon, damn it!)  The breezy boat ride brought relief from the warmer temperatures today.

Boats, of course, are the primary form of transportation in Venice and Vince has, by necessity, displaced his passion for cars with boats here.  He is most fascinated by the sleek water taxis as much for their beautiful lines and polished wood exteriors as for the studied cool of the drivers.  They maneuver the narrow canals and bridges, dodging slower moving barges, with supreme nonchalance.  They invariably sport the most expensive sunglasses and an impossibly deep tan, set off nicely by a white polo shirt and shorts.   You can’t tell how old they are but these men do seem to enjoy the most glamorous taxi driving job on the planet.

Our boat trip (on the decidedly unglamorous vaporetto) began with a brief stop at Murano – its glass blowing works are a tourist magnet – en route to Torcello.   After all the build-up, the boys were a little surprised that there wasn’t much at all to Torcello, other than a church that is claimed to be the oldest in Venice.  They were easily placated, though, by a delicious seafood lunch.   The return trip took us via Burano, a photographer’s paradise.  The picturesque island is dotted with colorfully painted houses, punctuated by window boxes bursting with geraniums.  We walked most of the island’s neighborhoods – the natives seem very accustomed to the hordes of camera-toting tourists.  

Once we returned to Venice, we took a detour to the gelato shop that Rick Steves has anointed the best in Venice (La Boutique de Gelato).  As mindless acolytes of Steves, we can confirm that he is absolutely correct on this (and all matters European travel-related).   

We continue to bravely test out our collective 25 words of Italian.  Points are won when a request in our paltry Italian receives a response from a Venetian in Italian.  Points are lost when the proffered Italian words result in an eye-rolling response in English.  Our next hurdle is to understand the successful response in Italian and provide a coherent reply.   Very, very unlikely. 

Our ignorance of Italian provides limitless opportunities for humor.  At breakfast this morning, Chris was curious about the bright orange drink that we had seen a number of Italians sipping in the cafes at all times of day and ordered one.  He quite liked it and it was only when he offered a sip to Gabe that we realized that the “spritz” was an alcoholic drink ('apertivo’), apparently considered just as appropriate first thing Sunday morning as in the evening.   When in Venice. . .
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jpatti1776 on

We love re-living our trip through your eyes. Jocelyn, I'm amazed that you referred to Venice as "He". Venice is definitely the Lady" She." Have you yet been hassled by the two outside restaurants at Piazza Margherita? It's a ritual, I guess. Our best "gondola" trip was the one on the vaporetto at 3:00 enroute to Piazzale Roma to catch the bus for the airport - quiet and mystical. Enjoy and keep writing. Have the boys write a few lines of their reaction. Boys, have you noticed the ladies' high heels and cleavage? Love to you all, Nana and Papa

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