LOCATION: Hotel Pensione Guerrato in Venice, Italy
WEATHER: Sunny. High 80
We bought a 2-day pass to go anywhere on the public water “bus”. So, in order to get our money’s worth, we hit the seas.
First we went to Murano, the island town famous for its glass. The story is that long ago, the Venetians were afraid that the glass blowers would accidentally set Venice on fire, so they banished the artists to the island of Murano. Like Venice, there are no cars here, and there are water taxis and other boats transporting people and goods all around.
Almost every shop sells glassware. There are many “furnaces” that you can visit to watch them make the glass.
Time for lunch and we stopped at this working man’s bar.
This is the kind of thing we LOVE to do in other countries – find where the locals go and try to escape the tourists.
We had heard of a Venetian snack, very similar to Spanish tapas that are unique to this region. Years ago, the system was created so that workers could have a quick bite mid-day so they wouldn’t miss much work. They are called cicchetti.
We ordered 5 to share – three were bruschetta-type – one with fish paste, one with tuna, and one really good one with ham and sun-dried tomato. Plus a strange unidentifiable fried thing and a fried olive paste ball.
Then, we took the water “bus” on to Burano, another car-free island. This one is famous for its hand-made lace and its colorful buildings.
Did we take a wrong turn and end up at the Leaning Tower of Pisa? No – but the island’s church steeple is really leaning, too! George is standing in front of a glass sculpture in front of the tower.
Back to Venice on another public boat, this time taking about an hour. Really getting our money’s worth out of these tickets!!!
We stopped at a darling cave-like place for more cicchetti. These places open a few hours at lunch, then a few hours before dinner. We ordered the drink that is very popular here – seems like all Venetians drink these before meals. They call them Spritz. They are made with either white wine or proseco, then your choice of Campari (if you like bitter) or Aperol (if you like sweet). Then, a squirt of soda water, and an olive. Very refreshing. And cheap! The cicchetti were 1 – 1.5 euros each; the wine and spritzes were 2 euros. (The euro is $1.12 USD right now).
DINNER: We really wanted pasta, so found a quiet, sidewalk cafe. George had spaghetti with octopus and calamari; I had penne pasta with a ragu sauce. Very nice.