Yesterday (13th) marked one month since leaving home. We are loving our adventure away but we are also ready to be home with our deaf Dalmatian and normal life (and breakfasts! – oh for a big breakfast, weetbix or smoothie!) Anyway… yesterday morning, we jumped on a boat bus (how cool is Venice!) and joined a larger group to see some of the trademarks of Venice and Italy, by visiting three small islands: Murano, Torcello, and Burano.
Murano is the land of glass. We stopped in a shop and squeezed up on some benches to watch a short glass-making demonstration. It was different to what I expected, but then again, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m not sure how they make the glass from sand, but eventually, they get it into dough-like consistency on a stick, heating in the furnace (it reminded me of damper on a stick, for the camp-loving Aussies reading this). The glassmaker took it out every now and then to check on it, and at one point I saw him throwing something on it – I’m guessing some glass or sand shards, to add colour once it hardened. When it was deemed hot enough, the glassmaker moved to a bench and sat down with his tools. It was time to start whipping it into a fish, a vase, or whatever else he wanted to make. While it was still glowing orange from the fire, he used his tools to make the tails of the fish, and pretty quickly you saw the little ends harden into clear glass. He moulded it like a potter moulds clay, and just before finishing, cut the glass in half! When he finished, it was a beautiful glass fish. We spent a bit of time in the gift shop and then headed outside and struck up a conversation with a couple from Katherine of all places! Katherine is one of the closest towns next to ours, although it’s still a six hour’s drive away!
I don’t know much about what the significance of the second island was, except that the Church we saw was one of the oldest in the Venetian area. Unlike the many Churches we’ve seen over the last month in Turkey and Italy, where there were impressive frescoes and paintings and mosaics in gold and vibrant colours, covering the walls and ceilings, this one was very plain and ordinary, with the cement walls and wooden planks covering the inside of the dome. Interestingly however, this one was the most peaceful of any of the Churches we went to, and I remember thinking when I walked in, that this would be the Church I would choose to worship in, over the Hagia Sophia or the Sistine Chapel.
Now for the third island, Burano: the place to find lace. We were herded into a room full of lace creations on display: dresses and shawls, tablecloths, and pictures of people and figures hanging on the wall. Dangling from the ceiling were the traditional (not lace) Venetian masks. Another quick demo and explanation, and then an invitation to go upstairs where there were more items for sale. Up we climbed, admiring all of the many lace amazing ‘pictures’ of Mary or Jesus, of cats, of a gondolier and his gondola, and many other intricate works of art. After some looking around and exploring their beautiful work, Mum and Dad found a gorgeous table runner for the dining room table.
But lace isn’t all Burano is famous for, although I didn’t know it until it came into sight. Burano is the only place that I saw in Venice, where all the houses are still vibrantly coloured with every colour under the sun! There was blue, green, mustard, yellow, purple, red, orange, and pink; we were so excited to see it, because when we arrived in Venice and saw how tired the paint of the houses were, we thought people hadn’t bothered with keeping the colours fresh, and so we wouldn’t see any of the colourful homes. Dad and I, who like to experiment with our cameras, ran off to get deeper into the town to find more photo opportunities. We literally had to run back because we didn’t leave much time for getting back to the bus (boat); we were having too much fun with all that colour!