Saturday, December 17, 2016


We had decided not to do the optional extra walking tour this morning and this allowed us to have a bit of a sleep in and a leisurely start to the day.  We slept in until 8.00am  BLISS......
We just hung out in our room until 9am.  Steve had a couple of work emails he had to deal with, and I caught up on some of this diary writing.

  We went down for breakfast about 9.15am.  Alan and Marilyn ( from NZ) were sitting there having their breakfast so we decided to join them.  ( They also opted to miss the walking tour) .  Breakfast was lovely and we sat out in the garden to have it.  It was just great not to be rushing.....

We decided to meet up with them again at 10.50am in the foyer of our hotel and travel over to meet the others together.  We had to meet the rest of our tour at 12.30pm.  We caught the hotel shuttle at 11am and it only took us about 15 minutes to cross the canal and take us over to the other Bauer Hotel on the other side.  This gave us just over an hour to fill in before we had to meet the others.
   We wandered around the back allies until we arrived at St Mark's Square.  Once again we saw another wedding.  People in Europe tend to get married any day of the week, and once again we noticed the absence of a bridal party.
 St Mark's Square was pretty full of tourists,  but we did get a chance to use our selfie stick and take a few shots of ourselves in front of St Mark's Basilica.  We didn't hang around here too long as there were people everywhere and it was nice to get out of the crowds.  Besides it was extremely hot and humid as well, and the perspiration was just pouring off us.

One of the things we notice about Venice is there is no where to sit and rest.  This was not good for me with my bad back.  You  had to be particularly careful around St Mark's Square, that if you ordered a drink, it was one amount, but then if you decided to sit in the cafe or restaurant to drink it, it cost you a lot more just to sit down..
 We were to meet Gary (our tour guide) out the front of the "Danieli Hotel",  This is a very plush hotel and so we wandered in side to get out of the heat and sit in the cool.  Peter and Cora ( 2 others from our tour) had already ordered drinks in there and Cora convinced me to sit with them.  It had cost Peter 20Euro for a beer, so she figured that they had well and truly paid for sitting time inside.  I wasn't about to say no, and it was so much cooler...

The hotel was stunning inside with Venetian glass chandeliers, lots of marble, very classy and very expensive.
 We met Gary at 12.15pm and it was time to go on our Gondola ride.   Each boat took 5 of us, and we were fortunate enough that we got to sit together at the back.  This allowed us to get some awesome photos of us  both together as we cruised around the canals.   We were only on them for about 40 minutes but Gary had organised a musician to serenade us  as we went along.   Initially it was very hot in the sun but once we got going and went through some of the smaller  canals, there seemed to be quite a bit of shade.  Some of the canals  really stank, almost like raw sewerage.
 After our gondola rides we walked down to where we were to catch the water taxi, and headed off to go visit a Venetian Glass Blowing Factory.  We were treated to a glass blowing demonstration.  It was pretty impressive to watch.  We then got to walk through their showrooms and check out some of the beautiful vases, cups jewellery and exquisite chandeliers.  We were constantly followed by security guys, and we were continually being tried to have stuff sold to us.  Bit annoying really, considering it was all frightfully expensive, and so much cheaper at Murano and Burano and still quite exquisite.
 It was around 1.45pm before we left here and headed off to the island of Burano for a late lunch or early dinner.... The cruise to Burano  took about 40 minutes and was just lovely, as we cruised around many of the Venetian islands.  I always love being on or near water.

Burano itself was a photographer's paradise with lots of beautifully bright coloured houses, just like a candy store.  It is also the home of beautiful artisan lace makers and a leaning bell tower, the second one we have seen in Venice.
 Burano is also a fishing island and know for it's seafood so our meal at the "Tattoria Raspo De Ua" Restaurant, was of course traditional Italian seafood.    It was a lovely meal, we stated with a seafood risotto, which was divine.  This was followed by a piece of seafood lasagne, and then we had a fish and salad, calamari and tempered prawns, and then to finish off we had a special 5 shape almond biscuit, which you dipped in your wine, and a special almond brittle.  We also had a fresh fruit platter and our choice of tea or coffee.  Once again this restaurant also was quaint and had quite a bit of character.   We finished our meal around 5.15pm, and we had another hour or more to wander the village at leisure.
   It was a great time of the day to take some photos, and we were able to get shots with lovely colourful reflections from the buildings into the canals. 

 We also visited the church of San Martino and admired some of the beautiful artwork in there.  This was the church that had the leaning bell tower.

 From here we went and did a little shopping.  I got a lovely lace table runner for our dining room table at home, and we bought some Italian wooden puppets for the children,  some venetian glass, and a face mask.  The prices on Burano were about 2/3 cheaper that the areas around St Mark's Square.  We were very happy with our purchases. 

We could see a storm building so we  met our cruise boat and headed back to Venice.  Burano is about 7 kms from Venice and it took us a good 45 minutes to get back home again.   We passed a pretty impressive party boat and a large P & O Cruise ship heading out to the Adriatic Sea on our way back to our Hotel. 

We got home around 7.30pm.  So nice to have an early night for a change and have nothing to do but just chill out.  I think for the first time we even turned on a TV....  It was nice to have a relatively early night as we had an early start again in the morning with a 6am wake up call.


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