Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolates

Trip Start Aug 02, 2011
Trip End Aug 16, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Monday, August 15, 2011

DAY FOURTEEN (8/15) — Venice

"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go." --Truman Capote

Venice is a lot more enjoyable on water than it is on foot.

This morning we took a walking tour with Len through St. Mark's Square, through the arch on the left and right to the Vecchia Murano Glass Factory demonstration and shops.  (Len had advised against a day trip to the actual island of Murano, saying the trip was long and expensive; and you could be held “captive" by the water taxis until you bought something. He said this tour of the Venetian glass shops was similar, without the long trek.) The glass-blowing demo was typical.  The Venetian Glass is not. It is elaborate and beautiful in a 300-year-old way.

They showed us several pieces that are more contemporary.  They involve millefiori rods that are stretched, melted and twisted. The Coneys ended up buying the most beautiful one -- a vase that Len, our tour director, lusts after.

We wandered in and out of the shops at the factory but my sole purchase was a millefiori pillbox. The items here were authentic but the knockoffs in the market place (we found out later) were substantially cheaper.  It makes a difference if you’re buying a vase, but not if you’re buying a wine stopper.

Next a group of us (D’Angelos, Kepharts, Halvorsens, Meyers) decided to board the Vaparetto (waterbus) and view Venice the way it was meant to be viewed … from the water.  We boarded #1 and rode it to the end; turns out we should have boarded #2 – same route but the express version which makes far fewer stops.  We got off at the end of the line #1 and boarded #2 for the rest of the route, taking in the cruise ship port and open waters outside the canals.  Definitely worthwhile.  For 16 Euros, you can hop on and off for 12 hours. We talked about using the ticket again after dinner to see things illuminated, but the best laid plans …

We started and stopped at San Marco (the Basilica), then walked to the Rialto, a covered market bridge similar to Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, except that most of the shops here were souvenir quality where in Florence they were high end.

We had lunch at Caffe Saraceno, on the canal just off the Rialto, and then perused the shops there.  The intensely dense crowds made us all claustrophobic, so we didn’t last long.  But I did nab some glass-top wine stoppers and a purse hanger. 

Tonight was “prom night”, so everyone dressed up for the final night banquet.  Even Emma, the Schachts’ young daughter, who spent most of the week in soccer shirts, donned a pretty dress and an “up do”.  I brought along a slide show of some of my photos that provided a retrospective of all the things we saw and did the last 14 days. We had “show and tell” and most brought (or wore) something they purchased … prints, jewelry, purses, etc.

We took advantage of the opportunity to take photos of our 40 newly acquired friends.  A lovely dinner on the lovely patio of the hotel, overlooking the canal, topped off our two weeks.  And when the evening was over and we bid our last farewells, we all agreed it was like spending the summer at camp and bear hugging new friends, knowing all the while our paths may never cross again
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