Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day 8 - Venice and Burrano Island

Breakfast on the waterfront in Venice almost rivals yesterday's MAGIC!  

Watching the water taxis bringing in stock for the day, tourists arriving, cruise ships passing... Agh bliss. Then it was over to meet our tour guide for a tour of Doges Palace, quite possibly the richest, most ornate area I have ever been in.  It is all 24 carat gold leaf... simply breathtaking! It is so surreal to learn the history of Venice as the richest gateway to the trading across the ocean to asia, to hear of the rich trade and learn of the making of the island by the people out on the water as a way for them to escape the barbarians who travelled  down and invaded the mainland. To learn that the entire town is built on wooden pillars in the muddy swamps - to learn that they have not corroded because there is no air to allow bacteria to form, and the salt water to preserve them, they are now solid... however there is still concern that many areas are sinking ad measures are continually being taken to stabilise tilting towers and they are constructing a dam to protect the island. 

We toured through many rooms in the Doges palace and learnt much about the history of Venice. we heard the tales of the crimes of the time and walked across the famous bridge of sighs - so named as the bridge prisoners crossed on the way to their death with the two small windows allowing once last look out at the world before death! What an incredibly sad thought to think of all who walked to their death.

We then toured the AMAZING St Mark's Basilica, where the body of Mark the apostle is entombed. What a simply stunning church. Sooo much history is recorded in these churches and they are all unique and tell an amazing story. Next stop an amazing glass blowing demonstration! WOW what an art! Very very sad to hear that the tradition is being lost as the younger generations are not seeing the charm in spending 20+ years training to spend their life working in extreme heat!

Next up, Grant and I travelled up the tower in St Mark's square arriving at the top close to midday.. Oh no... We clearly remember Aida's warning not to be up there on any hour hour especially 12! Well just as MAGIC would have it we were second in line for the lift down when the chiming began  - oh my goodness, check the photo - no zoom included, that huge bell chimed directly over our heads 56 times before we were able to escape into the lift.... Stunning but oh so loud... I literally had my ears sealed with my hands...

Next around the water to catch our water taxi to a tour of the islands and to travel to the very beautiful Burrano! Oh my goodness this place is sweet! A six course lunch with very fun staff followed, complete with wine and topped off with sambuca! A couple of hours touring the extremely quaint island, full of exquisite lace work and craft full of very relaxed, peaceful, beautiful people. This really is another true highlight of our journey. 

A stunning boat ride back to Venice and yet more adventures awaited. Grant and had a wonderful shopping session. Then I met Sue and Cheryl and we went to Mass in Italian in St Mark's church. What an experience! We were absolutely spoilt with a touring choir from London singing throughout! And what another unusual experience we had, a lady beside me stood on a chair to take photos and was removed...  Then a lady at the back shifted a pew to walk through the main church and she was also forcibly removed. Although I was very sad to see them removed I was also very aware that it was very clear that the area was enclosed for mass and that photos were not to be taken... 
Off for yet another adventure, I forgot to leave my little kiwi travel bug in a geocache in Paris so off we set to the other end of Venice the Pont il Academie bridge to place my little travel bug. We arrived as the sun was setting and before we had searched far we spotted a young couple obviously searching for the same cache! We met up, located the cache and my little kiwi is now travelling to his next stop with a Roman boy and a Canadian girl. A little bit MAGICal - they had only began caching that day and this was only their third ever find.  I had to explain the travel bug concept to them and showed them how to log it! i cant wait to see where it next appears.... although do you know what.., it wouldn't be the worst thing if it remained forever in Venice, just as a piece of my heart has... 

Back through the alleys, over bridges, around squares and we had a gorgeous dinner. We met up with Irene and Bill and settled in for a night of beer, cocktails and great yarns.... Venice, what a MAGICAL place you truly are! 

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