Posted by: travelrat | June 18, 2007

The Glass Island

Wednesday, 21st March 2007. Murano

If there’s such a thing as ghosts, there must be thousands of them walking the streets of Venice, led by someone saying, over and over again: ‘Trust me! It’s round here somewhere!’

Yes, it did take more than a little ‘creative navigation’ to get to the Fundamente Nuove vaporetto station to go to Murano, the island where most Venetian glass is made. We’d resisted several offers of ‘free trips’, because we’d been told that those who accepted them were subjected to high-pressure salesmanship of the worst kind.

When the vaporetto arrived, it was crowded. However, most people got off at San Michele island … that’s peopled mainly by dead Venetians, for the city’s cemetery takes up most of it. We assume that the funeral of someone with a lot of friends and relations was taking place?

On arrival at Murano, we were met by a man beseeching us to come and visit THE glass factory, as if it were the only one on the island. We were given a demonstration of glass-blowing, and a very perfunctory description.

‘And now, to the right, is the shop, where you can buy some of our beautiful glass!’.

We went back to the vaporetto station, instead, because we’d seen a toilet there. Unfortunately, it was locked, because the dame pipi, or whatever they call her in Italian, hadn’t arrived.But, she charged a euro for use of the facilities! Close at hand was a café, where use of the toilet cost us €1.20 … but we had a free coffee thrown in! Murano is like a quieter version of Venice itself … the shops sell glass, sandwiches, coffee, beer. And, those costumes like something Elton John would wear, for a grand party once a year.I was rather amused by the stallholder, selling fruit and veg from his boat on the Grand Canal; yes, Murano has one, too. We walked, and could presently go no further, coming to a headland on which the words ‘NO W.C.’ were painted in 3-foot letters on the wall. We retraced our steps, and made inquiries for the vaporetto to Burano. It goes from the Fore (lighthouse) station, we were told.

The Fore was but 100 yards away, as the crow flies. Unfortunately, the Grand Canal was in the way. We would have to walk all the way back to the nearest bridge, cross it and come back again along the other bank … a distance of about a mile.

But, you can get the vaporetto that will be along in a minute, we were told. That’s going to the main island, but the next stop is the Fore!

We boarded the boat, and asked for the Fore … and the conductor refused to take any money for so short a trip!

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