Italy (day 5) – Venice
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Today is our second day in Venice. We had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. At first, I was shocked to see a coffee machine at the breakfast buffet. From my experience in Rome and Florence, I would expect the coffee to be made by a person (good coffee is, after all, what the Italians are known for). I made a cup of cappuccino from the machine and it was awful!
Feeling disappointed, I asked the waiter if she could make a fresh cappuccino for me. Turns out it wasn’t a problem at all. She went inside the drinks counter (photo above: on the right) and after a few minutes, I got my drink. It was definitely much better and lived up to my expectations of Italian coffee! A few other tourists saw that and they also asked for the same thing. Haha!
For 0ur plan today, Aliaa is very keen to visit the glassmakers in Murano Island. Turns out the hotel provides a free water taxi service to glassmaking island and if you buy any glass products there, the hotel will provide a free taxi service back to Venice. Awesome deal. We took the first taxi service after breakfast.
There are a lot of glass shops in Murano. The taxi service took us to a designated shop, Vetreria Ducale (website). I’m guessing this shop has a deal with my hotel.
As we arrived in Murano, we were greeted by a friendly representative from the shop. He took us for a tour of his shop which includes a demonstration by the glass masters. It was very exciting!
Most of the glass products were very expensive. Even a small piece of art is around EU$700+. We were not prepared to leave without getting anything from the famous island, so we bought a small piece of glass art that was within our budget.
After the tour at the glass factory, we explored the other areas of the island. The island feels quieter from the main Venice island.
We explored the inner part of the island and came across the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato. It was initially built in 7th century, and later rebuilt again in 9th century.
After touring the other inner parts of Murano, we headed back to the main island. We had lunch at Bar Royal, a restaurant in the Cannaregio district.
I’ve been wanting to try out a gondola, and since today is my birthday, I guess it would be nice to take my wife for a romantic ride around Venice. We headed to Piazza San Marco and then to Gondole Danieli, the gondola stand in front of Hotel Danieli. They charge EU80 for a 30-40 minutes ride. This is considered the “short ride”. The “long ride” (I think it’s around EU120) will take you from the alleyways into the Grand Canal and back to Piazza San Marco. We decided to go for the “short ride”.
We passed the Bridge of Sighs and went through the small alleyways in Venice. Our gondolier was a friendly chatty guy. He explained the buildings and the history of Venice as we go along. The entire ride was fun. I’m glad I finally experienced it. From a cost standpoint, it would cheaper if you had more people on the boat with you (I believe it’s a max of 4 people).
We spent the evening exploring other areas in Piazza San Marco. We had coffee somewhere nearby and later head back to the hotel to get some rest.